09 July 2008

It's been almost a month I know. Several people have been hinting to me that they are still checking the blog! Let's see. What's been happening over the last month. Yesterday marked 10 weeks since the last seizure! Hooray!! Aaron is still doing therapy for his right arm/hand. These last few weeks have been spent working on a contraption for his hand and doing electro stim.

At therapy yesterday Aaron discovered that there is a little bit more sensation in a couple of his fingers -- after Michael stuck him in the finger and Aaron jumped! He goes back on Friday for a final fitting on the contraption and then I think he'll have a bit of a break. We are still believing though, that even with this plateau that feeling and use will still return! I will post pictures of Aaron wearing his contraption when we bring it home. It's pretty interesting looking!

Aaron will be gone next week on the much anticipated camping trip. He's a little leary of fishing since he's only got the one hand to use now. We looked online and there are actually several companies out there who make fishing gear for one-armed fishermen! If only we had looked sooner and had the time (and money) to get it here before he leaves! Oh well, maybe next trip!

Well, I know this isn't much, but at least it's something, right? I'll be posting pictures soon! Thanks to everyone who continues to ask about and pray for Aaron. That has been such a blessing to him and us! Blessings to all!

16 June 2008

By now I'm sure I'm the only one checking in on the blog. It's shameful that it's been this long since I last posted. Let's see -- what's been happening? Aaron had another re-evaluation at therapy last week. He has hit the dreaded "plateau" on the progress chart. He has made tremendous strides in the area of "gross movement", ie lifting his arm at the shoulder, improved strength, etc. The plateau comes in where the use and strength of his hand is concerned. He has made progress in that area, just not as much since the last re-evaluation. He still has decreased sensation/feeling/movement. Michael, Aaron's therapist is in the process of constructing a contraption of sorts to assist him in opening his hand. It's quite the sight, but if it works for him, then we will start bugging the insurance companies to foot the bill for the real thing. As soon as I remember the name of the company that makes it, I will add a link. It's pretty interesting!

Aaron saw his neurologist last Thursday. Tomorrow will be 7 weeks since the last seizure!! Dr. Chung said to come back in September and if he continues to be seizure-free, then we will begin looking at reducing one of his medications with the goal of being on 2 versus 3. He said that the short-term memory issues that Aaron is experiencing may be permanent. He also said that typically 6 months post-surgery a person will have recovered 90% of what they will recover. Six months will be in September. Aaron wasn't exactly jumping for joy over that news, but I reminded him that doctors tell you only their best guess -- he could just as easily recover 100% at the 6-month mark! God created that brain so we're trusting Him to have the final say!!

All in all, things are going very well. Aaron has waffled back and forth on whether or not he should start looking for work or continue to pursue school in August. The biggest question mark of course is whether the memory problem will be an issue in school. Obviously if you're forgetting what someone says to you, being in a classroom could be a bit challenging. He's still got some time to make that decision.

Well I guess that about does it. Aaron will finish out this week and possibly next week in therapy and then take a break. The idea is that if/when movement returns, then he would resume therapy. That's what we're counting on!

Thanks to everybody who continues to ask about Aaron! Blessings!

23 May 2008

Has it really been that long? I guess it has. I have been trying to get on here to write a post, but I don't think I have held still since the last one! Aaron is doing very well! He was approved for another round of twice a week therapy. Today the therapist gently brought up the idea that there's the possibility Aaron won't regain use of his right hand. He said he didn't want to be discouraging, but that we have to be realistic and consider the possibility. Aaron nodded, knowing that of course that could be the case. He's been kind of quiet since the appointment as I'm sure the weight of that thought is on him. My feeling is that if the surgery is successful at eliminating the seizures, then we can deal with the loss of use. Easy for me to say as I sit here typing with two good hands.

Aaron has been giving some thought to school in the fall. It's hard to know what to do. Memory is still an issue and he has finally acknowledged that. Guess we'll see.

On a brighter note, it has been 3 weeks and 3 days since the last seizure!!! Hooray!! Aaron sees his neurologist on June 12th so we're looking forward to that!

I guess that's all from here! Thanks to everyone for your continued care and concern! Blessings!

06 May 2008

Progress measured in inches. Aaron had a re-evaluation yesterday at therapy. (I'm sure you remember that he graduated from physical therapy very, very quickly which is miraculous!) In occupational therapy, which works with small coordinated movements (fine motor) like grasping, etc, progress is measured literally in inches. Even the slightest movement by a muscle can be charted through bio feedback. When Aaron began therapy his ability to "pinch" (thumb and index finger) was 0. Yesterday it was as high as 9 pounds of pressure! His ability to grip (whole hand) went from 3 pounds to 38! Wrist extension, which measures his ability to move his wrist has improved from a limp wrist up to even with the level of his arm!

Needless to say, Aaron wasn't jumping for joy with these results. But his therapist, Mike, is very good about reminding Aaron that progress is sometimes measured in inches! He also said that recovering use of his hand may take as much as a year, or even longer. Again, Aaron wasn't impressed by that news.

It will be 2 months next Wednesday since the resection surgery. Aaron has come a long way, but we know there's a ways to go. Short-term memory is still an issue and a rogue seizure will still pop up every once in a while. He is still contemplating school in the Fall, but of course memory problems will have to factor into the decision.

We know that God is in control and quite honestly, I'm very thankful for that! I certainly would not want to have to carry all of this around by myself! Time is definitely on Aaron's side so he (and we) just keep moving forward! Blessings!

24 April 2008

Healing is an interesting thing. Aaron is doing really good! What's interesting is that there seems to be a sort of cycle that his body is in where healing is concerned. He seems to go in spurts where he has great energy levels and feels great. Then he has a day where he hits the wall. Today is one of those days. Nothing frightening by any means, but I think he's going through another healing phase. He'll get to late afternoon and then he just crashes. He'll sleep for a few hours and then just kind of lay around the rest of the day/night. It's barely been a month and a half so he's got a ways to go, but all in all I think he's doing quite well!

Tuesday he had another seizure -- after showering again. It was exactly two weeks after the last one -- same scenario! He gets a little discouraged but all in all handles it well. He's still going to therapy twice a week and has made some progress. Of course, it's not nearly fast enough for him! We aren't seeing a lot of new sensation and movement of his right hand/arm. Hopefully it's just a plateau before the next big leap! I know that's what Aaron is hoping for. We have discussed the possibility that the additional weakness may turn out to be more permanent -- especially since that is something the doctors all said was a possibility. Aaron doesn't like that thought much, but he is very strong and determined, and if there is a way to regain what's not there now, he will do it!!

Back on the seizures after showering topic. I have been doing a lot of research on the subject, and believe it or not, there's quite a bit out there on the worldwide web! I have found a considerable amount of info coming out of countries such as Brazil, India and Australia. I even came across a term for it: bathing epilepsy. Go figure. A study out of Brazil looked at 3 particular subjects, all of which showed the same "symptom", which was seizures after showering/bathing. The hypothesis all along has been that it's the temperature (hot to warm) of the water rather than the showering itself -- in fact that's what Aaron's neurologist attributed Aaron's pattern to. What the Brazilian study concluded was that in some subjects water temperature was the cause and in one, it was just the water itself or the "complex tactile stimuli". Yeah I know, too much information. But I find all of this so fascinating! Anyway, bottom line is, limiting the amount of time that the water is hitting directly on the head as well as on large areas of the body seems to decrease the chance of having a seizure! And of course water temperature plays a role too. Here's another fancy term for you -- "water reflex epilepsy".

What I want to know is how come it took us so long to finally put 2 and 2 together on this??? We know that getting overheated is a trigger for Aaron, as is not getting enough sleep and illness. But showering?!?!? Needless to say, Aaron is going to be a guinea pig for a while. Can't wait to see his neurologist in June!

17 April 2008

It's hard to believe that it's been 5 weeks since the surgery! Aaron has made truly amazing progress and will I'm sure continue to improve over the coming weeks! I have put up new pictures of Aaron at occupational therapy earlier this week. He goes twice a week and I think that each time he goes there's something he can do that he couldn't do the last time he was there! All of the "gadgets" you see in the pictures are designed to help him not only with strength in his hand/arm, but also to gain coordination. His brain is having to be trained to "recognize" that there is a right side to his body. The sensation hasn't changed much on that right side, but he is slowly regaining control and use. He is very determined to get that right hand working again!

It's been over a week since the last seizure!! Hallelujah!!! Aaron has gotten into a routine of taking his showers in the mid to late afternoon and of course, taking coool and quick ones. There are other subtle changes that we notice in him since the surgery. Before surgery, he was very jumpy -- I could walk up behind him and pat him on the back and it was as if he'd jump out of his skin. That doesn't happen anymore! Short-term memory has improved some, and he doesn't seem to get stuck on words as much anymore either! Don and I just notice something "different" about him. It's not a very pronounced difference, but we do notice something. It's going to be interesting to see how this all shakes out as time goes on. Believe it or not, even after 5 weeks, his brain is still healing and reconnecting, so I'm sure we will notice more in the coming months.

Hope you all enjoy the pictures -- even the goofy ones! Blessings!

13 April 2008

Aaron went to rehab twice last week and on Friday, the decision was made to discharge him from the physical therapy portion! His balance has greatly improved and he's walking much, much better. It's been tough for the therapists to know just exactly how far to go with him, given the fact that they didn't know him pre-surgery and how pronounced the weakness in his right side already was. He was sent home with some exercises to continue doing and he will also continue with occupational therapy twice a week. That seems to be going pretty well for him. He has sort of reached a plateau where the return of use/sensation is concerned. He is very determined to at least get back what use he did have of his right hand/arm prior to surgery. Knowing him, he'll do it!

Other than that, he's doing quite well! There are still some issues with memory and his ability to get certain words out and with their sounds in the right order. He also still gets pretty tired about mid-afternoon. All in all, I'd say he's recovering quite nicely -- even quicker than I would've anticipated!

His buddy is home for the summer from Pepperdine so he's pretty happy about that! In fact they're spending some time together tonight! Welcome home Matt!

That's about it from here. Time is certainly on Aaron's side! Blessings!