Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30, 2013

For the last few nights, around 2am, Matt has decided to have a date with me. Except, minus the me part (I am always invited), and he's all alone eating cereal and drinking glasses of orange juice, decaffeinated ice tea, and lots of water. I am awake this whole time, while in bed, but refuse to let this be a new part of our daily routine or nightly routine. He does get up to take his pain meds and he does need to eat when he takes them as to not get an upset stomach, so, he half way has an excuse, but all the liquid intake is a no bueno when you want a good night sleep.

He has had a great couple of days. Today he ventured out for the first time since his surgery. He had his dad take him to his work office and around town to visit a couple friends. He had planned on the airport too, but got tired. Next week, as long as he is off pain meds, he can start driving again, maybe. It's kind of like letting your 16 year old drive for the first time. Although I haven't experienced that yet, I can imagine this is what it might feel like. Mom and Dad Mikkelson leave us on Sunday and then we are on our own. We do have my parents to call on if we need anything. We have scheduled his follow up appointments for Wednesday and Thursday, February 20 & 21 in Salt Lake City. Updates might be few and far between from now till then. I'd hate to bore Matt's followers, but I warned you that the blog will change back to our yearly family blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27, 2013

These posts will most likely start being updated weekly unless we have news that we feel we just need to share. All in all, Matt is doing very well. His days seem to go back and forth. He'll have a good day then wake up feeling not so hot the next day. That's how the weekend was. Saturday went great then Sunday came and he woke up feeling nauseas and had a headache. He is getting his full appetite back, but wants things that we don't have in the house and need to go out and get and nobody wants to tell this patient "no" just yet. Soon though, this may come to a stop. He's been up and walking around the house a lot more. I think he might be getting a bit cabin feverish. We're still waiting to see if there are any changes to his personality. So far, we don't see any dramatic change. He says noises get to him more but that might be from not being fully recovered yet. He had his staples come out on Sunday. Overall, this wasn't too much of a traumatic event. The most painful part was when a staple got hold of his hair and that was pulled out. We have been told to put an ointment called Bacitraycin on it 3x's a day and massage the scar tissue. That's what the last picture is and this doesn't hurt him which is a good thing. He actually has no feeling around this area because of the air/fluid mixture. This week sometime he will be heading back to have his blood drawn once more to check his sodium level. This was a request from the surgeon when we left the hospital, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013

Well my post last evening, in hopes of a peaceful night sleep, went over very well. Matt made it through the night without taking any pain meds!! He did wake up with quite a headache though. I know he tries to lessen the amount of pain meds they have prescribed him, but I reminded him that he did just have brain surgery only a week ago (we're going to get tired of the word brain surgery).  I don't have much to post today, but when he started to explain some symptoms he was having, I stopped, grabbed the notebook, and said wait...your readers will want to know this.

He started to explain how his head was feeling like it was full of air and fluid. He said that when he pushes on his right side, where the incision is, it feels squishy like an air cushion, and when he gets up or moves his head he can feel fluid moving around inside. He also said that his sinuses make kind of a whistle sound when he moves his head around. He got a call from the surgeon's secretary today and she confirmed that yes, that's what he is indeed feeling. It could last 2-3 months and is fluid and/or air surrounding his brain underneath the skull and outside his skull underneath his skin (I can officially call him an airhead). She also let him know that his tumor was what they had thought it was, a cranial meningioma. It was benign (yay!!) and it was categorized as a level 1. If you ever plan to have a brain tumor, you want a level 1 because a level 5 is bad. So for now, he needs to continue his rest and take it easy until we head back to SL for his follow up appointments in 3 1/2 weeks with the surgeon, eye specialists, and an endocrinologist.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013 - Update #2

I am going to try and post on the blog during the evening in hopes that we will start sleeping through the night. Today was my first day back to work and it went very well. I have to rely on Wendy now to give me updates through out the day or I'm not going to have anything to post for you all to read. Don't worry, I'm not offended if our life becomes boring to you. I realize it's not dramatic enough to be a Lifetime movie, but this is all the drama I want to deal with this year.

 The boys made cookies today with Grandma Wendy while I was at work and daddy was sleeping.

"Not tonight dear, I had a craniotomy"

Our friends, Jeff and Deann, had this made (the top picture) and sent it to Matt. He doesn't look thrilled in the picture but he smiled when he read it. In the bottom picture, Matt's cousin is part of this website called Chive On, I think. They have these "contests" where peeps take pics of themselves with a Chive On shirt and try to make it on their website. Well, they must have like this one because Matt made it to the website (he also looks thrilled in this picture too). 
Today was just an ok day for Matt. He was up quite a bit more, I heard, but was in a lot more pain and had more of a constant headache. His mom rated his pain level a 4 out 10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best). He can't seem to quench his thirst no matter what he tries to drink. He put in an order today for: Cactus Cooler, Country Time Lemonade, Sprite, and de-caffinated Ice Tea. He is trying all these along with his 20 glasses of chocolate milk he downs each day. I talked to a friend of ours who is a wound care specialist, and she will be coming over on Sunday to remove his staples (sorry Jen, we can't wait any longer than day 10). She will also be bringing some Lanacane in case it starts to hurt. He's a little nervous about this while I think this will be really cool to watch. I hope to be more interesting and have more to report to you tomorrow.

January 24, 2013

Here I am again, up at 2:12 am, checking on the "baby" to watch him sleep and make sure he's still breathing. I probably should stop referring to him as the "baby"; so, from now on he'll go back to Matt. The upside of the blog now is that you can continue to get updates on Matt's progress and hear how things are going. The downside is that more of the family might be involved. It's not all about Matt anymore (sorry dear, your days of stealing the spotlight might be coming to end).

Last night, we played musical beds yet again. We have a total of 5 beds upstairs (2 twin bunk beds and a king), and with 6 people, only 3 of them were occupied. I have been worried to sleep with Matt in fear of rolling too close to his head or accidentally hitting him (which never happened before but you never know), so I've slept with each of the boys. Grandma Wendy also gets the pleasure of sharing a spacious twin to sleep with the other boy while Scotlyn sleeps in a 2'x2' space next to these beds on the floor, and Matt sleeps in the king all by himself (he did just have brain surgery, so we are cutting him some slack). Matt, kind of has his days and nights mixed up a bit, I know, back to the "baby" reference (last time, I promise!). He is up eating a bowl of cereal and reading the paper ( I hope this isn't his new habit. In his defense, he needed more pain meds.). He sleeps a lot through the day and is awake more toward the evening and at night. Yesterday he slept maybe 9 hours out of the 12 hours from 7am to 7pm. He did have a couple people stop by to say hello and chat. He will still start talking to you and close his eyes and doze off a bit mid sentence at times but for the most part hold a good conversation for about 5-10 minutes. He also ate really well; which shows that his appetite is finally coming back. He had a PB&J sandwich, chips, lots of gatorade, hawaiin punch, chocolate milk, and his mom made Goulash for dinner (it's one of his favorites and I've made it once since we've been married). He continued to stay in bed for the day and watch tv off and on but mostly slept.

Today I am returning back to work, a little worried to leave him, but I know his mom will take just as good care of him as I would if not better. She might even be a little bit more patient than I am, like, when he wants to put "a splash" of Diet Mountain Dew in his Gatorade (yuck) or mixing his chocolate milk and regular milk together because it has to have the right amount of chocolate. He actually has a taste thing right now where his mouth just feels yucky and he can't seem to quench his thirst (this is normal too) and water taste gross to him.

So, that was it for yesterday (big day, I know). Baby steps from here on out, but we are ecstatic that he is doing this well so soon. Today marks the one week anniversary, and I think one brain tumor in someone's life is enough. We can only go uphill from here for the rest of 2013 with a few little bumps and maybe a slight detour along the way.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23, 2012

I feel like I'm writing the ending to a really good novel, maybe not a New York Times best seller, but an intense chapter book. Here's an update on the latter part of yesterday. We checked out of our hotel room, and were officially discharged from the hospital about 2:00pm, but Matt was so tired and as he put it "lazy" that he couldn't bear the thought of exerting that much energy to get dressed, so he fell back asleep and slept for a bit, this is normal and part of the recovery. His brain still hasn't forgiven him and only days will tell us when it finally decides to do that (apparently, it's on its own time). We made it out of the hospital around 4:00pm, and after buying out the pharmacy of all the meds he needs to take, we were on our way home. It kind of felt like coming home for the first time with a new baby, a big baby, but same feeling (weird, I know). I was nervous for the drive home, decided not to talk at all because he's not into conversations these days, played no music (which made for a really long drive), obeyed the speed limit and even drove a bit slower (this is not me at all), and let my "baby" sleep his way home. The drive was a bit rough for him and tiring (even though he slept all the way) he was in a lot of pain when we arrived in Idaho Falls. As soon as we walked into the house, I got him set up in bed, administered his pain and nausea meds, then he fell fast asleep again.

My sister brought the kids home around 8:00pm, and I took them up to see Matt in our room. My sister and mom showed them pictures of Matt earlier that day so they knew what to expect. Both boys gave him a kiss and hug, said I love you and quietly walked out (I sure missed those kids).

Matt slept until he awoke at 12:30am, thinking it was 2:30am. His mom checked on him and he seemed good. We're always worried when he gets up to use the restroom by himself and secretly watch and wait for him to make sure he's ok. He hates being baby sat, but it comes with the territory of brain surgery. I set my alarm for 1:30am to give him his pain meds again, refill his water, put crackers by his bed, and get him ice cold gatorade. As I'm typing his request, I remember earlier in the day when he felt well enough to sit up and read part of the blog. He responded with,"I sound like a really bad patient.", and my response back was that I was just the journalist and reported what I heard and saw, right of free speech.

So, here I am at 2:35am up and can't sleep, but my "baby" is back fast asleep. I will continue to keep this blog updated with Matt's progress until he is well enough to come visit you all in person. Then it will go back to being just our family blog. We might have a short road (positive side of me) or a long road (negative side of me) to recovery. It is all up to Matt's brain and body. We have to take it day by day and can not rush anything, the outcome of all this looks amazing though. The updates won't be coming as much (like the 3 or 4 a day) but will trickle off to maybe one a day (I'm shooting for heading back to work Thursday), then maybe one every two days. We'll see how the progress goes. So, to those that have been tuning in to the Days of Our Lives featuring the Mikkelson's; we are no longer primetime and have been cut from the line-up. We, again, can not thank you all enough for the love and prayers you all sent us. Whether from Idaho, Utah, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and any other state I missed, we felt your support and know more than ever now how lucky we are to be surrounded by the best group of friends and family. We wouldn't trade you all for a million dollars, even after having brain surgery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Update #3 - January 22, 2013

The battle wound. We counted 40 staples.

The unveiling (dun, dun, dun)

 Walking the stairs with the therapists.

 This is the first picture he where he was smiling and probably the first time he'd smiled in 5 days. You can tell he's feeling much better today. Must be that he is going home.

Matt and Vince comparing battle wounds in the picture below.

We have officially been given the word that we get to go home today!! Not sure when, but today. The physical therapist cleared him after he climbed a few steps. The neuro nurse came in and removed his bandages which show some pretty good battle wounds. We are waiting for pharmacist and discharge nurse to arrive shortly. We've been given a list of instructions on how to care for our patient. His staples can be removed in 10 days following surgery which is this weekend. He will be on somewhat bed rest for a week or two to allow his body more time to heal (he did just have brain surgery), and he still needs to be cautious of his sodium levels and lots of other minor details to make sure we don't end up back in the ER at home.

Tuesday - Update #2

Matt's friend,Vince Longobardo, flew in from FL last night to spend the first half of today sitting and watching Matt sleep and flew back home at 1:00pm. Blood has been drawn but no word yet, and bandages are still there. He also needs to be released from physical therapy which hasn't been done yet. I'm not holding my breath on leaving today. The concierge of the hospital just paid us a visit though and said that if anyone wanted to send him an email, they would print it off and bring it to him. They stop at 3:30pm each day.
*go to
*click on customer service link, bottom of page
*click email to patient on the left side
Then the information desk will walk them up to his room.

Tuesday Morning Update #1 - January 22, 2013

6:54 am: After a night of waking up every two hours, having 3 people try to"suck" your blood with only one success; our patient has run out of patience. The second phlebotomists was asked to stop hurting him and the last one couldn't get close enough because he requested his doc before he'd let her touch him. Luckily, his surgeon came in and gave Matt the thumbs that he's doing really well; However, he must have one more sodium test and it has to be clear, then could will be discharged today!! Now, we have been told things before where we've gotten our hopes up and we are going by hospital time. So, Matt took a shower, is up drinking lots of water to get those veins pumping, and we wrapped our heated blanket around his arm in hopes that this will help him become a "good stick" just one more time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Night - January 21, 2013 - Update #3

At 3:45pm Matt was officially labeled a "hard stick" by the phlebotomists. They sent 2 girls to draw his blood yet again and he was past the point of not happy because they tried 3x's with no luck; we later found out that they were fairly new. After keeping a warming blanket on his arm for a bit, a seasoned phlebotomist was able to find the right vein with one poke (whew)! We now ask for only seasoned ones.

He had a few surprise visitors come and go. Nobody gets to stay for too long. If he feels up for talking then he'll talk and if he's sleeping, we let him sleep and don't wake him. Rusty and Hilary Stewart, Brett Carter, and Ronald Stout paid him short visits.

They brought him his dinner of which he didn't eat again. It was a breaded leg of chicken and he hates dark meat, a chocolate mousse pie which he also isn't a fan of, and a piece of corn bread that he said he couldn't eat without honey, he did eat his veggies of peas and carrots though. At 7:00pm we got word that he was ready to be moved to the Neuro Acute care side which is the step down from ICU!! We were ecstatic. They unhooked all his wires and wheeled him away to room 3126. The ride must have worn him out because he fell fast asleep as soon as the bed was parked. We now have what's comparable to an ocean view room of the beautiful parking garage. Now, we wait for a discharge day.

So the high for today was by far being moved to a bigger room with our own bathroom and the low was all the pokes that this poor guy has to endure. It breaks my heart every time some one walks in with a needle.

Monday Afternoon - January 21, 2013 - Update #2

10:00 am: His level of pain was about a 6. They are continuing to monitor his sodium levels. They keep telling us that he's moving to a regular room but we keep waiting with no action. I think they think that if they keep telling us we're moving soon, then we'll be happy. Matt was able to shower and eat maybe a quarter of his breakfast. His mom & dad brought him another Jamba Juice and he drank all of that plus: 8 oz. milk, 8 oz. apple juice, a large power ade, 8oz carton chocolate milk, and 2 small bottles of gatorade. They say this is normal.

2:00 pm: He was able to finish a third of his lunch and still managed to drink a large orange smoothie, 8 oz. chocolate milk, 8 oz. lemonade, and some water. The nurse also brought him in 4 more 12 oz. gatorades to drink. The Occupational Therapist was also in to make sure he could perform simple tasks before they would discharge him and he passed each one. His mom was giving the OT other things to do that he might come into contact with when we got home and he did not like that at all. He grunted like a bear again. His tasks included: sitting on and getting off the toilet without help or assistance, picking up things from the floor, taking off and putting on his own socks, simulating getting in and out of a bathtub. Physical Therapists will return tomorrow to check him off.

2:15 pm: Had blood drawn again...yuck!

Things are looking up for him!!!

Monday Morning - January 21, 2013 - Update #1

6:00 am I stayed in the room again, last night, with the patient. Matt had a pretty good night. He was still woken up every two hours and had to be poked 3 or 4 times throughout the night for blood. He's getting to the point now where when they say thank you, he grunts like a bear. They are still watching his sodium levels and he is currently in ICU but we have been told by the doctors, not nurses, that he will be moved to a regular room today. The doctors have ordered the nurses to slow down his IV fluids and possibly stop them because of how much he is out putting; which is too much at this point. The docs also said that his bandages will come off today. Overall, he is doing much better than he did yesterday. His pain has subsided where he can comfortably be in the hospital bed. I can only expect it to get better from here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Night - Update #4

Unfortunately, not much has changed from update #3. We are still in ICU and he is still on watch. He is probably borderline right now but they want to be on the safe side. He slept all afternoon, at least he tried. He is in a lot of pain from the effects of the medications on his intestinal area and as the surgeon put it, "His brain is really mad at him for going in there and moving it around so it might take a little while for his brain and his body to connect again and work together." He says he is starting to feel the pain of the staples in his head so they gave him more pain medication. His dinner tonight consisted of spaghetti, broccoli, garlic bread, salad, a cannoli, and apple juice of which he didn't even touch. The nurses let his mom & dad go get him a Jamba Juice with protein powder for him to drink because he hasn't been eating and he needs to get some strength back. He was able to drink that, yay!! He was poked again for more blood at 9:12pm and was not happy at all about it. We are hoping for a better day tomorrow with a room change.

Sunday Update #3

The physical therapist was just in the room to take Matt for a walk and make sure he could pass all the needed test to be discharged from physical therapy, but he was in too much pain and too tired to do this. She said she would return tomorrow hopefully with better luck. That could have been one more thing checked off of our long lists of things to have done before they even think of letting us go home.

Sunday Update #2

I was in the room with the nurses as they were trying to take blood. He is getting pretty tired of being poked at because they can't seem to find good veins in him. They used a warming blanket to warm his arm to help. They gave him another round of meds because he threw up his first round. He decided to have his catheter removed in hopes that he could start walking more and they would see that and send him home earlier. They don't want to send him home too early because of the drive and we can't return to the hospital quickly in an emergency. While they have a transfer in to move him to a regular room, they are not in too much of a hurry because he is still on the DI watch with his urine. If he had been moved to a regular room yesterday, they would have put him back in ICU because of this. It's not monitored as much on the regular floor. They said that when he does get moved to a regular room, they like to watch them for at least 24 hours before they are discharged. With that being said, if he was moved later today, they watch him tomorrow, and he could be discharged sometime Tuesday, but the nurse said that would only happen if everything was stellar. It's still a waiting game!! He is being a rock star for everything he has been through.

Sunday AM, January 20, 2013

8:00am: Matt's family arrived at the hospital. I stayed with him last night, and Wendy came in to see him when they got here. His tried eating breakfast of pancakes and bacon, with apple juice and milk (YAY), but didn't want to finish until he got his chocolate milk (someone's getting cranky... To me, it means that being here is getting to him, and he's doing better enough to BE cranky. I'm good with that). He drank his milk and apple juice first, and then ordered chocolate milk (he never got the chocolate milk because he threw up all his food before the nurse could get some). Nurse said he is consuming and outputting plenty of fluids; Matt is sick of water and doesn't want to drink any more of the stuff. He's good with ginger ale and other liquids though. When the rest of the family left late last night, he wanted a Coke. The rule had been "no caffeine" on the floor, but he is far enough along that the nurse ok'd it.
8:30am: I was able to take a shower in the hospital this morning while Matt was eating and his mom sat with him.
9:25am: Jen just went in; he was very sleepy but answered her questions (she can get away with it, but for some reason it's easier for him to tell me to keep it quiet). She asked if he was sick of being here, or if he just wants to be home; he said "I just want to be in a different room". He is so polite to the nurses; even when tired and cranky he says "please" and "thank you".  The nurse was giving him IV Reglan (for nausea); I asked if he was still nauseated, and he mumbled. He had eaten his whole breakfast, then it all came back up. He now has his own little ice bucket for his drinks (I didn't see any chocolate milk...?). States his head pain is at level 5 now. 

The doors to his ICU area.

His mom sitting quietly so she doesn't disturb him.

His ice bucket after throwing up his breakfast. Notice there is no chocolate milk.

A side view of his machinery next to his bed.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Night - January 19, 2013

6:00pm: He finally ate some food! This was our concern today. His stomach still hurts a bit (gas from anesthesia maybe? We're not sure), and is still sleepy. Had another visitor this afternoon, Garn McNeil, a friend from SLC. He stayed and talked for awhile. Still waiting for the next available room to move out of ICU.

7:00pm: Matt's dad had been in to visit, and came back out to report that he had gotten another Heparin shot (this is a blood thinner) and we think it is his 4th dose.   

9:00pm: He took more meds: anti-seizure, anti-nausea, and Lortab. States his pain level is about 5-6 now, which is WAY better than the 9-10 that it has been the past 3 days.

As soon as there is an available room out of ICU, he will move. They assume this will be tomorrow. 


Scotlyn sent this picture for me to show her daddy. She really misses him.

This is a picture of the procedure that Matt had done, hopefully you can read it. The top picture is the description and the bottom is an illustration of how the surgeons separated the parts of his brain to get to the tumor.

Saturday Afternoon

2:00pm: Jeff and Deann Stratton arrived at the hospital, as well as Dave Branham and Tom & Royce Tait. Deann isn't into needles/blood/surgery/hospital-type stuff, so she walked in the room and kissed his forehead, then waltzed right back out! Matt held up a conversation with Dave a little (he'll be back tomorrow), and Jeff a little more. His friend from Ameriflight also stopped by, Simon, and had a small chat. Matt's still sleepy and in-and-out today, so this was nice to see him talking a little.
2:30pm: He got ready for a shower; they have removed most of his IVs now so this is possible. Jen asked him if he would rather have male or female nurses, and he said "I'll do it myself". Jen then said "oh no, that's not going to happen. Even if you're in a chair, you must be assisted. How about Starr? Will you let her help?" He didn't say anything, so she took that as a yes and told me that I get to be in charge of that since she would do it, but he might get a little embarrassed with the whole brother sister thing.
He returned back to bed, obviously tired from walking to the shower and back to his room, but he feels a bit better. The right side of his face is still swollen and he says his right eye feels puffy. It is starting to bruise a tiny bit. He hasn't eaten much and doesn't feel like eating. They are trying to get him to eat because they have a transfer in to move him to a regular room but he needs to be eating more food first. Things are still looking good with his tests and he is passing all the OT questions and can move on his own. The therapists are worried about his use of stairs when he gets home. His mom and dad will be coming back to Idaho Falls with us in their own vehicle to help him with the recovery process. Right now, if everything goes well, and continues to improve, he might be released as early as Monday. It is all up to Matt and how each day goes.

Saturday AM, January 19, 2013

8:00am Arrived at the hospital. I went in and Matt was asleep.
9:30am: He woke up for a short bit but was more sleepy than yesterday. He had some vomiting during the night, but not so much that there would have been intracranial pressure (WHEW). He is cranky, and not as chatty. This doesn't bode well for his scheduled friend/family visitors for the day (Royce Tom, Dave and Cortney, Jeff and Deann are all supposed to be here today). The nurses said he had a good night, but he says he didn't sleep well. We think it's because he is just more aware of things now. He has continued to pass all the requisite questions (person, place, time). Took his morning meds, and trying to eat breakfast  (scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage links, apple juice and milk) but again the smell of the food made him a little queasy. The ART line came out; this is one more step toward the goal of showering. He then quickly fell back asleep around 9:45am.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Afternoon and Evening; after MRI

3:30: Eric Bradley visited. He is a friend of Matt's from Ameriflight.
3:45: 30 minute warning for the MRI. Nurse came in and hooked him to the portable monitor (BP, pulse, O2 sats, etc).
4:00: He is peeing 500cc, when a normal female would pee 20-30cc. The body and brain have not readjusted to what it's supposed to do yet; this is somewhat normal after removal of a tumor by this area of the brain.
4:30: Matt taken for the MRI.
5:51: Matt back in the room from MRI. It will be at least an hour for the results. He is trying to eat dinner (chicken, mashed potatoes, berry cobbler, fennel/arugula salad), but is very sleepy and has a headache from the transfer and travel to the Imaging department. Bumps hurt. He asked that the door be closed, because the hallway was loud.
6:26: Matt asked when he could shower; the nurse said he cannot at least until the ART line is removed (maybe tomorrow, but we'll see when the Dr reports).
7:00 pm: Jen talked to Dr Eskandari (5th yr resident; was in the surgery) who came in and answered her questions.
  • MRI was "pristine"--no tumor, all the remaining parts are intact and unharmed. The radiologist will need to review it in more detail still, but he was pretty confident in the findings.
  • As long as the fluid status/urine output is normal, he can leave ICU tomorrow. He will likely be here at the hospital for at least a couple more days. Right now he is still wasting water and keeping salt in the system.
  • He has a few titanium plates, and "maybe 8 screws?" in his skull. They will stay there forever. Staples in his scalp will need to be removed in 7-10 days. 
  • Bandages come off on day 3 and he can shower on day 5. Cannot soak the wound site (hot tub, bath) for 4 weeks.
  • Return to Moran Eye Center in 4 wks for full eye exam and then right after (same day) at UofU Hospital for follow up.

This is our command center. We kind of took over the NCCU waiting area, across the hall from the ICU (he is room 3321). We have a total of 5 laptops, one iPad, and several phones. Starr has been in charge of her blog, her phone, Matt's phone, and all the visitors. So far we had Matt Hintze, Clark Johnson, Robyn, Britney and then of course Jamie came before surgery. 

Matt has been checked on by the nurses on an hourly basis, and today was "upped" in status which means he only gets checked every 2 hours now. This makes him happy, because every hour of the hour they wake him up, ask his name and where he is and why...he is understandably sick of this! Still waiting for the MRI. Endocrinologist came in and needed some info/records from Idaho Falls that he didn't get yet; he will check back later. They told us that Matt will be in ICU for another 1-2 days still. Doing much better... He ate a little food, and let his tiny little Haagen Daaz ice cream melt, so they brought him a raspberry sherbet. These nurses like him :) Is drinking water regularly, and has good output (although kind of clear, so they are monitoring sodium levels closely).  ....I'm sure he will be super excited to read this.


Post Op: Friday - I stole this from Jen because apparently she is more detail oriented than I am.

10:00 am: The surgeon and the physical therapist had been in this AM. He needs to walk and sit up to make sure everything moves properly. He says he gets a little more of a headache when he does that, but knows this is normal.
Had labs drawn; blood sugar is 129 and they will check his protein levels every few hours or so. Apparently he has had to pee every hour for the past few weeks, and this is because the tumor was pressing on (?) which controls the sodium/kidneys and the body has been confused on where the sodium is in the body (inside vs outside an area? This will hopefully level out soon, now that the tumor is out. He still has the catheter in, isn't real excited to have it taken out because of the removal (ouch) and he knows he will have to get up to pee, and he gets worse headaches with standing. The nurse says this is ok for a while, but should look forward to having it out today. They will wait until after the postop MRI (should be anytime). Jinnefer and Jen were reminiscing about previous cath removals after childbirth years ago, and that didn't alleviate any of his concerns about pain hahaha sorry Matt.
Jen had a great convo with him today; asked him lots of questions about yesterday, the pre op, waking up, this AM, etc. He remembers everything he needs to, which is fantastic. He remembers when the anesthesiologist drove his bed away (from us in preop, to surgery yesterday) that he kept running into walls. The anesth said "jeez we need a new bed for you! haha". Then he went into the OR, lined up next to the surgical bed and climbed over (scooted over) to it with a little help. Then he doesn't remember anything else. That's good; he was worried about that yesterday. The nurse yesterday said it took him a little longer to go under because he's a big guy. Came out of it ok. He remembers waking up. Doesn't really have a sore throat from the intubation, but says he felt like he had to cough up or clear up his throat a lot. He was doing that last night. It scared me and Jen because he would be lying there under the oxygen mask, drifting off (breathing labored because of pain) and all of a sudden we thought he was choking. Yikes we were on high alert!
Back to today...he is on steroids to reduce any inflammation (there's bound to be some of that; they dug around in his brain for crying out loud!), got a dose of IV antibiotics when Jen was in there, and he is on Lortab every 6 hours for the pain. They don't want him on IV or injection pain meds because they want him to be able to understand and tolerate the pain, because when he goes home he can't take Fentanyl with him.

Update Day 2 (morning): January 18, 2013

Matt had a good night. He didn't get to sleep that well because there were nurses coming in and out  checking on him. They did give him the max dose that they could for pain because he said it was a 10 out of 10 between his head and where they cut his jaw muscle. I stayed with him in the ICU through the night in case he woke up thirsty. He was able to eat 2 saltine crackers. They brought him breakfast but he didn't have the appetite for it, and the smell made him sick. They have started him on anti-seizure medication, for only precautionary measures.  An MRI is ordered for sometime today between the hours of 10am and 4pm, they like to give you a good estimate on time! He'll most likely be moved to a regular room tonight if he continues to improve. He's a pretty good patient minus him asking them to stop jacking on his catheter like they're riding a horse. He mostly tries to sleep but knows who has been here visiting and very appreciative of all the kind words, prayers, love, and support. I have been reading the texts you all have sent him. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We know some of you have been down on your knees, and/or fasting for him. Words will never be able to express our gratitude.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A view from the top of his head. He is resting peacefully now and they are hoping to start him on oral pain medication soon. They had to cut his jaw muscle to get to the tumor and he says that is really really sore. 

I'm laughing in this picture, not because Matt is helpless and in pain, but probably because he told us that he didn't care who was here in the room but he just wanted us to shut up, and Jen (Matt's sister has great timing on picture taking). The nurse was making lots of noise though because he needs to be waken up every hour to check vitals. After this, we dimmed the lights and only whispered.
He is doing very well but in a lot of pain. He says his pain is a 9 out of 10 and he is not a happy camper. He is super thirsty and they can't give him any water until the medication from surgery wears off. They just gave him some nausea medication and they said he can start eating when he feels ready. They think the tumor is most likely cranial meningioma but won't get pathology results back till next week to be sure. He will be in ICU for 24 hours then hopefully they'll move him out to a regular room.

He's out of surgery!!

Surgeon said he is doing very well and was getting comfortable in the ICU. We will be able to see him in about a half an hour. They said they were able to get all of the tumor and didn't have to put drain tubes in him. They did not need to use any grafts and was awake and knew where he was. They will check his vision in a few hours.

Update on Surgery:

Nurse just called from the operating room and said Matt was doing ok and he was tolerating everything they were doing to him but are having a hard time getting to the tumor. They will call again in a couple hours to give us another update. A 4 hour surgery might turn into a 5 hour surgery.  I stole this last part from Jen's blog because I left it out of mine and she has a great way with words. He will have a drain for potential blood as well as fluids, so that they don't cause pressure within the brain. He will be having eye exams soon after postop and will have some jaw pain as well because they are cutting through the jaw bone at the temple. Matt was more concerned about if any of the IVs or the catheter will hurt, and if he needs to take off his underwear.

Day 1: Matt's Surgery - January 17, 2013

On Friday, January, 11, we found out that Matt had a brain tumor in the middle of his brain, above his pituitary gland right by his optic nerves.

It all started on Thursday night, January 10, I came home from work around 8pm. He had picked up Parker from school earlier that day and he had not remembered that he did so. He also asked me where I had been and thought it was morning time. He had previously had pneumonia so I thought he might still be sick. He took 2 Nyquil and went back to bed.

Friday morning he woke up at 6:45 am and told me he thought someone called him to snow plow. Following is a portion of our conversation which led me to call for help from his friend Clark.

Being wheeled back to surgery.

Matt: "I think someone called me to snow plow."
Starr: "What do you mean you think someone called you?" "Look at your phone."
Matt: "Where is my wallet? Isn't it night time?"
Starr: "Downstairs on the bar. Are you ok? Feeling better?"
Matt: " I feel a little out of it. Where's my wallet?"
Starr: "It's downstairs on the bar. You asked me that."
Matt: "Oh, ok, where's my wallet?"

He then walked downstairs and I watched him slowly sway back and forth then sit on our couch and fall asleep. I then looked at his phone and called his work to tell them he would not be in that morning and that I was a bit concerned. I woke him up to check his temp because it had been 102.2 the previous night and he then asked me to get him some more oil to fry a turkey in our crockpot; which he thought we had done the day before and that didn't happen. I then called his friend Clark to come assess him and help me decide if I needed to take him to ER. After Clark arrived, Matt asked him the same question 4 times. He would receive phone calls from people at work and not remember talking to them. That's when we decided he needed to go to the doctor. Luckily Clark knew the flight nurses at the ER so he took him right over and walked him in with no waiting. While at the ER he was unclear on how he arrived there asking if he flew there and he couldn't answer who the president of the US was. They did a CT scan, then requested an MRI which showed a large mass in the middle of his brain which they said was a brain tumor. They said they could do the surgery in Idaho Falls but felt better sending him to Salt Lake City to the University. They pumped him full of steroids to bring down the inflammation that the tumor was causing; which is why he was in such a confused state.

We left Idaho Falls Sunday night, January 13, and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Salt Lake. The next morning, we met with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Couldwell, at the U of U and they confirmed what the ER had done two days prior. He would need a craniotomy to remove the tumor that was slowly growing in his head and was currently about the size of a golf ball. They scheduled a pre op and intensive eye exam for Wednesday, January 16. We went home that Monday, played with our kids,  I went to work on Tuesday, and we headed back to Salt Lake Wednesday morning, the 16th. Luckily, my sister and mom were able to help share with kid duties to keep their week some what normal.

A "Y" for yes this is the right side to cut my head for the craniotomy.

A good patient but would much rather be someplace else.

Mom, Dad, and Matt

Ouch!! That does't feel too good. The doctor had to poke him 2 times and still couldn't find a good vein.

On Wednesday, his pre op went really well and his eye specialist said she was amazed that he didn't have more optic nerve damage compared to how big his tumor was. We were surrounded by many people who love him: his mom & dad, sister (Jen), and my cousin (Jin). We stayed at the Fairfield Marriott and headed ready to have surgery Thursday morning, January 17th. While waiting to be taken back, we were visited by many doctors coming in and out of the room. The surgical team came in and visited with us to let us know that this was a very rare and complex tumor. It had attached itself to vital parts of his brain and they wouldn't know if they would be able to remove all the tumor without removing parts of his brain. They would assess the tumor when they were in removing it. Because of the rarity of the tumor, he had senior residents and the head surgeon working on him. They also were going to video tape it in 3D.  At 11:55 am, we watched them wheel his bed back to surgery. They will need to make an incision from his ear lope to the top of his head for the craniotomy. Then they will fold the flap of skin down and remove part of his skull to get to the tumor. The surgery is suppose to last 4 hours.