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Thursday, June 17, 2021

My one year still alive anniversary

One year ago today I was being wheeled out of the operating room here in Spain after my third brain surgery. The surgery lasted 12 hours and there were some complications but I was alive!

The first thing I remember is waking up in intense pain and asking for Jenny and my family.

The next thing I remember is realizing that my left eye was crooked, my face was partially paralized and I couldn't eat, drink or speak properly. I had lost the lateral vision in my left eye completely and the optical nerves were damaged in both my eyes due to the pressure on my brain. I ended up losing 40% of my vision completely. I am by no means blind but without glasses I do not see well. 

My mind still worked though, I had all my mental abilities intact but it was very scary for me because the doctors couldn't tell me at that time what functionality would return and what would be gone forever.
After 12 weeks in total and 5 different hospital stays I was finally released to start rehab in September 2020. 

I started off my recovery in a wheelchair doing speech and physical therapy 5 days a week. However, in October of 2020 I had a setback. I had to go back into the hospital for 10 days and basically start my rehab over from scratch.

Once I was released I started working hard to regain my ability to eat, drink and talk normally again. I also progressed from the wheelchair to using a walker.

Eliana was born on December 14th 2020. On December 15th 2020 I stopped using my walker and walked unassisted for the first time. My wife and daughter quite literally saved my life.

There were days where the pain was unbearable and I wanted to give up. But thanks to the support of my mom (who had come from Texas) and Jenny (and all her family) I knew that I couldn't give up. I had to keep on trying for that little girl of mine.

I cried the first time I got to hold her and realized there is nothing in this world that I will love more than her and my wife.

Gradually over a period of six months my facial paralysis disappeared and I could eat, drink, walk and talk normally again. After 6 months I got released from speech and physical therapy. I am so grateful to all my amazing therapists (both speech and physical) and to all my doctors and nurses. 

That 40% of my vision is gone forever and I still don't have lateral vision in my left eye. They gave me a botox injection into my left eye to straighten it out (however the effect is wearing off and I think I will have to have an official surgery to correct it)

But I just had a check up with my neurosurgeon here and my shunts are both working fine. Considering where I started from, I am doing incredibly well. I have had many struggles but there are so many other people in worse shape than me.

I truly am the luckiest man alive. I have had excellent medical care here (without the threat of huge medical bills) and the love and support of my family and friends. In no particular order, My parents,brothers, friends and my wife (and all her family) and my daughter have all been amazing. Every day I get to wake up to the smiling face of my little girl. I am not back to 100% yet but I'm getting there and I am so very Thankful for every breath that I have the privilege of taking. 

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