MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE at 8:55 pm CT
"...With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
We are still praising the Lord for His goodness to us and to Heather! The ICU staff are amazed at her turn around today. She has shown no signs of trouble breathing, and has been off of the CPAP and breathing room air with oxygen piped in for the past few hours. SHE'S BEEN TALKING TO EVERYONE!!!!! Though she can only speak a whisper, everyone has been amazed! Several of the nurses are leaving her room with tears streaming down their faces. One of the Neuro Surgeon's, who assisted in the operation was just in, and was in disbelief at her communicating ability as well as her understanding. We told Heather that he was one of the doctors who helped in her surgery and she looked at him and whispered, "Thank you." All he could say is "Wow, this is amazing!"
She has very tiny veins, so they have put a Central line (catheter) in her right arm to draw blood and give fluids. This frees her from all of the other iv's etc., and they won't have to continue to stick her with needles. Her fever will not break, and she has been on a cooling blanket all day. She hasn't completely understood why she is so cold, she says she is freezing and keeps asking for blankets. They have started the antibiotic to hopefully ward off the infection and get that fever down! There is another issue that has arisen with her electrolytes particularly her sodium and potassium. They are doing routine blood work for this and doing what is necessary for treatment. She cannot move her right hand or leg right now, but temporary paralysis was expected. We believe she will regain use of some function on the right side once therapy has started. Things will take time. Her ability to swallow will have to be tested before they will remove the feeding tube. But, we are on the right track!!
One of Heather's cousins, Jason Settle, from Pleasant View, TN, was in to see her this morning, at the same time Dr. Neimat was here. He was able to ask Dr. Neimat how often do they do this type of surgery, and he commented that they usually only perform about 1 of these surgeries a year, and those are usually the right hemisphere. He also said that most surgeries like this are done only on children at the Pediatric Hospital. The Hemispherectomy that Heather had is a rare type of epilepsy surgery. The number performed per year in the United States is less than 100, and here at Vanderbilt they only average performing one per year. A left Brain Hemispherectomy is even more rare because 97% of everyone's speech is located on the left side of their brain. Again, we want to stress the true miracle that the Lord has done in moving Heather's speech to be controlled by the right side. We have also learned that the majority of the ICU team that have been taking care of Heather, have never treated any one who has had a hemisphere removed.
The nurse had cleaned her up and washed what was left of her hair and when she was finished, her dad and I walked in. Heather was smiling and was trying to tell us something so we leaned down to hear her and she said, "I'm styling and profiling" WOW! WHAT A BLESSING, SHE'S OUR HEATHER, with her usual wit, sweet disposition and kindness! We are so grateful to the Lord for the continued peace that He has showered us with the past 7 days. And how fitting of Him to have things turn around on the 7th day! So many people are giving Him Praise for what He has done for Heather. We know He has been with her and with everyone involved in her care throughout her entire illness. There is much He has been teaching us, and we pray others are not missing what He is trying to teach them as well. "Nothing is impossible when you put your trust in GOD!"