Monday, February 12, 2007

please, please, please.

Lots of scary activity today, which ended with the doctor telling us: "You need to have hope, that's all you can do." So that's the message I'm sending out right now. Please be hopeful and strong and positive and send out huge healing vibes into Uma's brain.

I tried to take good notes when the doctor was giving today's update and hopefully this will all make sense:

The doctors did an angiogram and a CAT Scan this morning to get a better understanding of where Uma was at with her blood drainage and healing, etc., and they saw that she'd had a "rather large spasm" in her left middle cerebral artery territory, which would indicate that she'd had a stroke. As a result of this spasm, there is a dense area of blood where her blood vessels have clamped down and closed.

There's no way to tell when this stroke might have occurred—there were no indications of stroke activity the last time they did a CAT Scan (I'm not sure when that was exactly) and they do neurological tests throughout the day, every day, and none of those tests have ever indicated stroke activity. So they assume that if she did indeed have a stroke, it must have occurred recently, perhaps this morning.

After discovering this stroke possibility, they treated her with angioplasty—which opens up the blood vessels that were closed by the spasm she had.

And now we wait.

Tomorrow morning they will do another CAT Scan to see if the angioplasty fixed the spasm. That's when they'll be able to confirm definitively whether or not she's had a stroke. If blood supply has returned to the area where she had the spasm, and if her tissue in that area is regenerating and alive (I think the word they used was "revitalized"), that would mean the angioplasty was successful. If the tissue in that area is dead, I think that will confirm that she did have a stroke, the outcome of which the doctor said would be poor (affecting her speech, affecting her strength on the right side of her body). I think this is when he said the thing about hope being the only thing we have right now.

I choose to focus on this idea of hope, rather than any idea of "poor" anything. I refuse to waste any energy on fear or sadness right now. 'Eff that. We need to focus all our freaking energy on Uma. We will not know anything until tomorrow morning. There is a possibility that she did NOT have a stroke, there is a possibility for huge healing and blood flow and tissues regenerating. There's nothing we can know definitively until tomorrow morning, so we need to focus on these possibilities, on these hopes.

Reasons to be positive:

1. As recently as this morning, the nurses have said that she "continues to improve neurologically."
2. The blood in her brain continues to drain.
3. There is no new bleeding, no new hemorrhaging.
4. This morning she was moving her right arm—a very good sign.
5. Last night, when John and I were alone with Uma, I saw her looking directly at John. It truly felt like she was seeing him. John held up her engagement ring and told her he was looking forward to getting married to her, and her eyes focused on the ring and followed it, and then she squeezed his hand. We were so high last night from this interaction. She's in there.

Please keep Uma in your thoughts today and tonight. We really need tomorrow's CAT Scan to give us good news. Hope, pray, dance, vandalize, do whatever you gotta do, just send some strong freakin' love to Uma.

Lots of love to all of you,

Here's John's email, which I think describes some of the medical stuff more clearly, and which reinforces the call for hope that we need right now:

everyone, this morning i had an hour alone with uma at 8 am. sheseemed a bit agitated. she was moving her lefthand/arm and leg a lot but her eyes were open and moving. i really couldn't tell if she was aware ofmuch. i spoke to her and held her hand much as i'vedone the last few days. her left wrist is tied to thebed so that she can't pull at her tracheostomy. i asked her if she would like to touch my face andleaned down and put her hand flat on the right side ofmy face. she didn't grab for it like she was grabbingfor my hand. she touched and caressed my face. i really don't know what this means but it was anunfogettable moment for me. i reallly thought i felther. later, she was really grabbing my hand alot and attimes shit knit her brow and her mouth moved as if in some pain. i showed her her ring again and her eyesfollowed it again. at about 9 they needed to prep herfor movement to the follow-up angiogram so i went tothe waiting room. a few hours later dr. jamuna came in to tell nithi (the rest of us had gone for coffee) that he thinksshe has had a stroke and they are working hard on it.he said it would be about 45 minutes before he couldcome back. then he quickly went back to the operating room. we waited. we wait. about 3 hours later dr. jamuna came back and told usshe very much appears to have had a stroke originatingfrom her left, middle cerebral artery. this is a majorblood vessle supplying the entire left side of the brain. the were able to 'balloon' or open the vesselto re-infuse that part of the brain but he said theradiologist is fairly certain the area is dead. they are not able to tell when the stroke occurred (if indeed it ends up being a full stroke which theywon't know 'till tomorrow morning's catscan). but justthis morning she was still responding with an evengreater 'crispness' in her right arm/hand and leg and just yesterday she moved her right leg again. theneurological signs do not add up to stroke which thedoctor said was a hopeful sign. also good is thatthere is no new bleeding in the area fo the aneurysmor bleeding in the 'stroke' area. if her brain accepts the infusion of blood she willovercome this stroke. if it does not, the right sideof her body and her speech will have a very pooroutcome. honestly, this news made me feel like i was justbeing slaughtered here in this city so far from myhome. as i was walking back to the apartment to take abreak and re-group i was talking to my dad about allof this. we spoke of the role of will power in prayerand whether or not it makes any difference etc. ifone is to surrender one's will to God, release and letgo, then why 'want' anything at all? but for people who believe in this we should assume that there is arelationship between us and the divine that would notbe fed at all if we were robots. if we stand for loveand against everything that is not love we should be confident that we're praying for the right thing. as i'm talking to him on my cell phone i'm navigatingthe crowded streets here in manhattan. today, for somereason, a lot of people seemed to be just barely missing me or hindering my forward progress. finally,as i was about 3 doors down from the the apartmententrance, a woman coming my way crossed over in frontof me to look at a hand bad in a shop window. i had to stop suddenly and go around. for those of you who knowme well you understand how much will power it took forme not to blast that woman off the face of the planetwith 'GET OUT OF MY WAY!' but i didn't say anything to her. i walked into the apartment building just in time tohold the door open for an old man. he said, 'thankyou' and i thought, 'i don't want to die a lonely oldman.....' and as i turned to go up the stairs i thought that the message i had for the handbag womanwas mis-directed. i need to yell at the top of myspiritual lungs, "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" to whatever isholding Uma back. GET OUT OF MY WAY! I AM GOING TO HOPE AND PRAY AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN LOVE AND IN UMA! it seems as though we just keep getting reduced toprayer. the doctors do what they can and then theytell us to hope for the best. well, if all we have right now is prayer, then that is everything in theuniverse to uma. the first thing i did when i got in the apartment waswake up my laptop and check my email. in the veryfirst one i saw my friend ken had forwarded the following .....bear in mind that the woman who wrotethis had not read this my email about uma's possiblestroke yet....Ken,Hey there! I read that you'll be stopping to visitJohn & Uma. Just wanted you to send a big hug from me over here. I just got off the phone with my friendBrooke who experienced the same thing that Uma isgoing through 15 years ago. She's an incrediblewoman, whom I only met 5 years ago. She has spoken of her struggles with recovery, etc. She (Brooke) endedup having a stroke, which added time to the recoveryprocess. It took some time to recover, but I'm sureUma will be able to do this. Let John know Sierra retreat has been praying for Uma on their dailyretreats and I've gotten some of the best prayers Iknow on the case didn't enjoy the all of the sequence of eventson the way home but i feel very bold right now and i urge everyone of you, as soon as you read this, tovery loudly say to whatever is holding uma back, "GETOUT OF OUR WAY!" pray for a lasting re-infusion of blood to her brainfor no more strokes for no more painFOR THIS TIME OF CRISIS TO END! ENOUGH!until later.....all my love,


Doug said...

Hang in there. You and Uma and John have what feels like the whole world praying for you all.

runnerbird said...


I am very inadequate with words when it comes to this sort of thing, but please know Uma has never been far from my thoughts since all this began. With positive energy from you and all of us who read your blog, I hope she can make a full and speedy recovery. My prayers, hope, and very ounce of positive vibes I have are with you.