As many of you know Brett’s recovery has been going along nicely and the progress he has made in the last month has been strong and steady. He is racking up the miles with his walks and improving cognitively every week. We had a small setback on Valentine’s Day when a tear in Brett’s skin (on his head) opened up. The surgery on Jan 17 caused a rip in his skin in addition to the surgical incision. It seemed to be healing but on Valentine’s Day he woke up to a gap in his skin that was open to his implant. The skin had separated at the edge of the scab where the tear was located. Fortunately, we had a scheduled appointment with Dr. Harris, his neurosurgeon, that afternoon. There was a great deal of concern about the opening due to the possibility of infection of Brett’s bone implant. We ended up doing an emergency procedure (in the ER) to thoroughly clean the wound and stitch it closed. He was required to spend a couple of nights at Stanford Hospital to receive IV antibiotics and we headed home on Saturday. At that time we noticed that a patch of skin high on Brett’s forehead was looking very thin. We returned home, continued with rehab and all seemed to be well.
On Tuesday, Feb 26, we woke to what seemed like another small problem. When Brett pulled on his shirt in the morning some fluid was leaking from the area of weak skin on his head. We had been watching this patch of skin closely and recognized that there was a potential problem at that site. Clearly, there was another opening, albeit tiny, so we immediately made an appointment to see Dr Li, Brett’s other neurosurgeon. He was referred to a plastic surgeon with an appointment for the following day. Yesterday we met with Dr Wan. It ended up being a shocking and devastating meeting. Because this area of skin is basically not thriving, a skin flap surgical procedure is required to protect Brett’s head. This is a pretty intense operation where a section of muscle (from Brett’s lat muscle) will be removed and attached to the healthy skin on his head. Then a skin graft from his thigh will go on top of that. In addition to all of this, the skull implant will be removed because there is a distinct possibility that the bone flap may be infected which could lead to serious complications.
The surgery is scheduled for Monday. It will be 5+ hours and Brett will spend at least another week at Stanford Hospital with several days in the ICU. We are hoping that everything will heal quickly and perfectly and then in a couple of months the bone flap will be replaced yet again with a new, sterile implant. We are feeling a bit deflated right now but are working hard at preparing mentally and physically for this next ordeal. Brett’s spirits are good.
I was explaining to our dear friend, Marianne, that this feels like we have been running a marathon and we were in the last 5 miles of the race but now the rules are changed and we are told that we will be running an additional 26 miles before we finish. It is overwhelming for the moment. We hope that we will regain our pace (after the initial panic) and carry on with the race.
Please keep Brett in your thoughts and prayers as he continues his journey to recovery.
Thank you for all of your kindness and continued support. We wouldn’t be where we are without you.