Friends of Dirk and Kelsey







September 8, 2006


Quick update before we head into the weekend.

Dirk is working very hard in each of his therapies. In physical therapy he is focusing on core strengthening and balance/stabilization exercises. I do mostly endurance work with him- walking, stationary biking. Today we walked 40 minutes straight and he ran for 2 minutes twice. Tuesday he went swimming for the first time with his friend Paul. Dirk loved being back in the water; however, it was very challenging because he had forgotten how to breathe while swimming. I think he drank half the pool. After surgery we plan on getting him in the pool more often.

Today Dirk made pancakes from scratch with the occupational therapist. What fun. He really enjoyed being back in the kitchen. He got out of bed when I did to go for my morning run so that he could have all the ingredients ready for when she got here. Dirk is able to move around the house fairly well on his own, which is a great boost for his self-confidence. For most people in his situation being able to do self-care independently, i.e. go to the bathroom, is a really big deal once they can ambulate on their own. I think for Dirk, getting to the cookie jar or freezer for ice cream was his biggest motivator and brought him the greatest joy.

We are celebrating Dirk's successes every day. Not that we don't have tough times, but we try to stay on top of the situation. Right now surgery is foremost on our minds. I feel like we are going through the motions of life with an underlying "ugh" that Tuesday is quickly approaching. A day does not go by that we don't talk about our fears and expectations regarding the big day. Dirk would just like to wake up and have it be all over- me too! The thought of being back in the hospital/ICU is a bit daunting/exhausting. I just got him home three weeks ago and don't want to give him back, but there is a huge need for surgery and we are ready, just a bit nervous about it all.

Yesterday we went to UCSF for pre-op stuff and then on Monday we go in bright and early (6:30am) for a Stealth MRI. I'm not exactly sure how it is going to be used, but here is some info I found on the web regarding the MRI. "The Stealth Station®, which works together with MRI, CT scans, or ultrasound, limits the size of cranial openings and removes much of the guesswork from cerebral localization. The Stealth uses sensor-based "optical tracking" computer technology to accurately pinpoint areas of the brain. It is precise within one millimeter. Images, produced in "real time," are updated every eight seconds..By combining an advanced computer with state of the art imaging technology, and infrared optics, the Stealth Station gives surgeons a three-dimensional view inside a patient's head and pinpoints the exact position of their surgical instruments within the cranial cavity." Wow- pretty impressive. I guess we will find out more about it on Monday and whether it will be used during surgery.

Well, Tuesday is just around the corner. Dirk and I are looking forward to a relaxing weekend and enjoying as much time together as we can. Getting lots of rest is going to be the #1 priority for us. I am planning on spending the first night with him at the hospital, so I need to make sure I'm rested as well. Please, please, please think good thoughts and pray for a successful surgery on Tuesday. I promise to get information out as soon as possible.

Thank you again for your continued support and love.

Love, Kelsey.

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