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He was rushed to the neuro ICU, and we spent two agonizing days there trying to reduce the swelling in his brain and shrink the last bits of tumor with medication. Once Isaac was more stable, we were transferred to the stroke unit and were monitored there for a week. Over the weekend I toured several acute stroke rehab facilities, and last night, Isaac was transferred by ambulance to the UCI medical acute stroke rehabilitation center, where he started intensive rehabilitation today. Right after his stroke, Isaac was unable to move anything on the left side and his speech was slurred. Now, a few days later, he can lightly squeeze my hand with his left hand, pull with his bicep a bit, and raise his left leg ever so slightly. We have a long, long road to recovery, but I know Isaac has the drive and motivation to heal and fully recover.
Those that have been following the news on Facebook and twitter….thank you all for your prayers and love…a few days ago, Isaac out of the blue told me that he feels so incredibly loved. A few people have been emailing me asking if there is a way to help or donate to Isaac’s long rehab process, so I’ve set up a paypal fund. If you can donate, then I thank you. If you can’t and still want to help in any way, please pray for Isaac. If you have a personal story or know of any latest research articles on brain trauma and stroke recovery, please send them my way – I’ll be very grateful. I’ve been trying to voraciously research what he is going through in between caring for him.
My goal is to get him the best care from here on out and stay in a rehab program even if I have to pay out of pocket. Isaac is by far the most amazing person I have ever met – he is my soul mate, the love of my life and my best friend…I don’t know anyone else that would stay so positive through everything he’s gone through the last two weeks…who else would thank a nurse for taking his blood or poking him with an IV…who else would apologize for being so heavy to lift or make sure to learn every nurse and aid’s name by heart. He has been more worried about me and my lack of sleep than with his current disability.
His spirit is beyond beautiful. It’s these moments in life when your priorities are massively rearranged and you realize how short and precarious your life is….I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I’m trying to stay positive. Needless to say, we have been unable to work, edit, or get back to anyone via phone or email these past two weeks. All my attention has been on Isaac’s recovery. Please know that now that Isaac is in an acute rehab program, I will be able to return to work…your emails answered, album and print orders taken care of, and weddings and shoots edited. Thank you for your patience. I’ll update everyone soon.
On another note, if you’d like to share Isaac’s story on your blog, please feel free to use the “Help Heal” badge. Also, if you or your loved one have any persisting symptoms or odd headaches, please don’t hesitate to see a doctor. Isaac had seen so many doctors in the past that dismissed his symptoms as signs of depression or stress or tension headaches. No one ever expects this – just celebrated his 30th birthday this year. Isaac had also just become a yoga instructor as well, ate an organic, nearly vegan diet and exercised regularly. Life is unpredictable and short, and no amount of planning could have prepared us for this. Please make each day count, and tell the people in your life that you love them a million times a day… you just never know what could happen…..
latest update 10/10/11: First off, thank you everyone for the well wishes and prayers for Isaac and all the personal stories that you’ve shared..thank you…..Last week was so exhausting and Isaac’s condition was really touch and go, so I was unable to post updates…Last Sunday, he was diagnosed with Pulminary Emboli – blood clots in his lungs due to a blood clot in his left leg (deep vein thrombosis). Because of his craniotomy, he wasn’t a candidate for the usual treatment of blood thinners and anti coagulants, since there was a chance of a bleed in his brain. So, the doctors decided to sacrifice “lung tissue for brain tissue” and let his body deal with the clots on its own. He had a surgery to insert a vena cava filter into the vein leading to his lungs and heart to prevent any further clots from reaching his lungs and heart, but that was the most the doctors could do for him. He was in so much pain from the emboli and agitation to his lungs and pleura that morphine didn’t even take the edge off….it was unbearable to watch him suffer. He was hooked up to dilaudid PCA pump. On Tuesday night, he developed a fever of 102 and I woke up to the nurses packing his head and body in ice packs. The site where an IV from Hoag that was left in for over 5 days became infected, and Isaac also developed a slight pneumonia…this was the scariest time. He was placed on tons of antibiotics. Over the weekend, he started doing a lot better and was almost pain free. We’ve been having him practice his breathing on a Breathing Spirometer to expand his lungs several times an hour. Today he was transferred back to rehab finally, and is fully ready to give it his all…his resiliency is truly amazing. I’ve been having to fight the hospital to get him access to acupuncture. The doctors approved him to physically have acupuncture, so we had our acupuncturist come see him in his hospital bed and treat him. The nurses and hospital staff flipped out, because it was against hospital policy, but thankfully, let the acupuncturist finish her session. The next day, Isaac was able to open his right eye a bit (it’s been fully closed since surgery because of damage to the ocularmotor nerve). Whether it was the acupuncture or not, it definitely made me want to fight to get him more sessions. We tried to contact the UCI medical board, but since it was the weekend, no one was around…I’m in the process of trying to get our acupuncturist approved to practice at the rehab center to do some intensive therapy sessions with electroacupuncture, which I’ve read the results of several studies that found it can help speed recovery after a stroke. So, that is the latest update…sorry it hasn’t been a more positive week. I am so ready for all the complications to end…and at this point, I’m so completely “over” western medicine. Isaac has been through enough. Please pray that this be his time now for healing, please pray for swelling in his brain to go down and for the strength to fight his way back to be whole once again. Thank you guys again for the prayers and support…that is a major thing keeping us afloat right now.