My name is Alycia. I am new to this site. My husband has been through so much in the last few months. It is has been an emotional rollercoaster...wanted to share our story.
Mike and I have been married for five years. We have two beautiful boys...Tyler (4) and Nathan (3). Mike is the nicest guy you could ever meet...to him "a stranger is just a friend he hasn't met yet". He served in the military for five years. He went on to open his own residential apprasial business, in addition to opening two other businesses. He was very involved in the community, serving on the Rotary and Historic Preservation Society. We was an avid skiier and sailor. He is the most loving husband and father.
October 11...the worst night of my life...but God was looking over him. Everything seemed to fall in to place for Mike to live. Mike went to bed early...I thought he was just tired because he took the boys hiking that day. I fell asleep on the couch downstairs (which I never do). Mike came downstairs in the middle of the night to get Tylenol from the kitchen. He woke me up and said "my head hurts SO BAD" and then collapsed and started seizing. In shock and panic I called 911 and his sister who lives two doors down. The paramedics arrived. They worked on him in the house. They were on their way to Gates Hospital when they decided to turn the ambulance around and take him to the local hospital to make sure he could handle the transport. This was Mike's first miracle because he flatlined at the hospital. They were able to revive him and stabilize him for transport. He went to Gates where they found a ruptured level 4 SAH....I didn't even know what an aneurysm was at that time! They were able to successfully coil the aneurysm but did not think he would make it through the night...he did.
It seemed like Mike had every possible complication during his next few weeks in the ICU...he was minimally responsive, multiple vasospasms, a stroke, pneumonia, could not get off ventilator, had to have an emergency craniectomy, tracheotomy....it is all such a blurr. Eventually he pulled through and was able to be moved to the floor and then acute medical rehab. Just before he was going to be discharged home in December, he presented with chills and fever. He had a UTI but when they scanned him, they also discovered hydrocephalus. He was transported back to Gates. His surgeon tried a surgery that would not require a mechanical shunt, but it was unsuccessful. Days later, he underwent another surgery for a mechanical shunt, and then back to medical rehab. On New Years Eve, he finally came home...I thought "What a wonderful way to start 2011!" While I helped him walk into the house and greet his children, I cried and cried tears of joy!
Mike did absolutely phenominal in his recovery! His doctors were in absolute AWE! He was a miracle! He was off the trach and was eating normal foods. He was able to independently get around the house and do daily tasks on a walker. His speech, cognition, and memory were minimally affected...therapists were trying to find things that challenged him. His personality was the same...Mike loves to laugh and make others laugh...his sense of humor through everything he was going through was such a testiment to his strength and kept us all in good spirits. Our house became a home again.
After a couple weeks of being home, we started to notice that his balance was becoming increasingly unstable. We contacted his surgeon and she ordered a CAT scan and set up an appointment at her office. The news was bad and this was the first time Mike understood what was going on....he had hydrocephalus in the 4th ventricle that required an additional shunt to be placed. The ventricle was strangulated by scar tissue and was not draining through the original shunt. He was immediately admitted to the hospital...he was so scared and I assured him it was going to be ok. The next day he underwent a shunt revision. The surgeon came out and said he did great! After coming out of anestesia, they did a CAT scan and found that they missed the ventricle with the catheter...they had to take him back in and re-operate. Devistating! He just said I cant do this again and we had to tell him he had to...my heart broke. The second surgery was a success. He was at the hospital for a couple days and then back to rehab again. While in rehab, he developed bilateral facial paralysis...cant blink, close his eyes, smile, tightly close his mouth, or make any facial expression. We took him back to Gates by ambulance. They did every test and had every expert look at him....no answers. They put him back on steroids thinking maybe the brain was swollen even though MRI did not show this and sent him back to rehab. He came home again March 18th.
So here we are....Mike is worse than he has ever been. The paralysis continues and is greatly affecting his speech and ability to eat. His affect is so flat and he is disengaged with everyone...his friends, me, the kids. He is so atrophied from being in bed for most of the past 6 months. He is getting around on a walker but isn't nearly as strong and stable. He sleeps and sleeps. We just saw the surgeon yesterday and her best guess is that when the 4th ventricle decompressed the catheter changed position in the ventricle and is pressing on the brain stem causing his symptoms. MRI shows no cranial nerve damage but physically he is demonstraing that there is cranial nerve damage...cant wrap my head around that one. I asked about pulling the catheter back and she said surgery is too much of a gamble..he could die or cause further damage.
My heart breaks every time I see him and his struggles. I feel so helpless and am beginning to lose hope. I want a better quality of life for him and am sick the doctors telling me that I just need to accept this. I made an appointment for him at John Hopkins and we are going in the beginning of May. I don't know if they will have any answers or solutions but cant give up yet.
Thank you for listening to our story.443-PC200053.JPG (899 KB) 444-P1090147.JPG (227 KB) 445-P9041391.JPG (248 KB)