Friends of Dirk and Kelsey







August 12, 2006


This is round two with this letter. I spent over an hour on one last night and right before I finished my computer froze and I lost it. I felt like a child again- I wanted to yell and stomp around, but instead I jumped into bed and fell asleep. That was really frustrating. So, here I go again.

Rehab Update: Dirk continues to move in the right direction. His eyes are slowly improving; the two of me are moving closer together. He can track side to side really well and up and down movements are improving, but still very challenging. His speech is coming along and he is more aware of adding emotion to his words. As far as eating, Dirk is doing just fine. He has gained 15 pounds in the last 5 weeks. He even dreamed of gummy bears. Monday he may be upgraded to all foods, currently he is on a mechanical soft diet (no steak, lettuce, nuts). He is going to have a pizza and salad for lunch; we'll see how he does. Also, I am starting to become a little stricter with his diet. It is common for head injured patients to gain weight because their mind isn't telling them when to stop eating, well that's where I come in. I don't want him rolling home because I have to help him stay upright. However, it is nice to see his face filling out and he no longer looks emaciated.

Walking, along with balance and coordination, is getting better. When he gets tired he still stumbles left, but he's come so far from a few weeks ago. Dirk actually ran a little this week with someone holding on to him. I wish I had a video camera because it was pretty amazing. He was so happy. He seems to do better when faced with more challenging exercises like walking on grass or running because I think it requires him to stay focused. Whereas walking is so automatic that he sometimes loses sight of the basic task of relearning how to walk safely. I have to attribute his crazy fast walking to him learning how to keep up with me on our evening strolls to Larkspur for ice cream.

I spoke with his doctor at Kentfield on Friday and she mentioned that all of his therapists are thrilled with his progress; he has now become their poster child. He really is wonderful. He's motivated, funny, polite and so thankful to be here enjoying every day.

At this point we still have our two options- surgery or no surgery. If surgery is not an option, Dirk and I will have to seek out a therapist who will help us learn how to live with the knowledge that Dirk may suffer a re-bleed. (We will probably need a good therapist either way.) The thought of a re-bleed is sickening to me because he has worked so hard to overcome what could have been a devastating, debilitating and life threatening event. He does have the internal shunt that would help remove some of the blood, but it's still a hemorrhage that can cause damage to the brain. We are hoping that this is not the news we are given.

If surgery is an option, I am thinking we will have some big choices to make. Best-case scenario: he tells us that he can safely go in and remove the malformation. I really don't know what to expect. Dr. Ko, the neurologist, said that Dirk and I should come in to the meeting with an idea of what we are willing to risk. Are we willing to risk Dirk suffering left side paralysis that may or may not be overcome with therapy.are we willing to risk Dirk's eyesight continuing to remain poor, but he could possibly have surgery in a year to fix it? I don't know, but I can say right now that Dirk and I are willing to be aggressive because he wants this out of him. However, we need to hear the percentages and pros/cons before making a decision. I have to believe that as a team, family and couple we will come up with a game plan where we will win.even if he can't have surgery.

I know we will find the strength to get through this with the help of all of you. Please think of us on Thursday and say prayers that we receive positive news.

Much love and appreciation, Kelsey.

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