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In Honor of Kellen

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Kellen’s Story

Dear family and friends,

Let us first begin by thanking you all for your love, support, encouragement, calls, texts, visits etc ...but most especially for your prayers.

Here is what happened: Thursday evening at about 9pm we were packing and preparing to head to Pullman the next morning for Mom’s Weekend w/the whole family, when we received a phone call from WSU student health informing us that Kellen was hit in the head with a softball during an intramural game with his fraternity brothers.  Kellen touched home base and someone on the other team was going to throw one of Kellen’s fraternity brothers out at home and it hit Kellen in the head as he was on his way to the dugout. We found out later that Kellen finished the game & even struck someone out.  Initially he seemed ‘ok’ but when his friends were driving him back to the fraternity they realized they should take him to the hospital because he was unable to communicate. The decision his fraternity brothers made saved his life. When he got to the hospital, the doctor called us & said that following a CAT scan he had severe bruising and bleeding on the brain and would need to be air-lifted as soon as possible to Spokane. They said it was serious and that we should get to Spokane right away...he would need emergency surgery to relieve the pressure so as not to cause brain damage.  We began praying as soon as we received the news and didn’t stop for the next 5 hours to Spokane; tears combined with our pleas to God for our son. We tried to text or call as many people as we could to ask for prayer for Kellen and we felt the effects of that immediately. Your love & prayers made the drive and the next few hours bearable.

 During the drive we received word from the hospital in Spokane (Sacred Heart) that Kellen was about to go into surgery. He would be in for 2-3 hours.We also heard from the helicopter crew who said Kellen was in“critical but stable condition.” Upon arriving at Sacred Heart, we waited a half hour more for Kellen to get out of surgery.  When the surgeon walked towards us I held my breath as he explained the severity of his condition. 

The good news was the surgery went well. He stopped the bleed but Kellen had a large bruise that went deep into his brain affecting his motor skills and he also had a couple small bruises that they would have to keep an eye on for swelling. The surgeon also explained to us how there is a time period of 72 hours where the swelling could increase. Dad was concerned if he was in a ‘life-threatening’ situation & he told us that we shouldn’t be worried. The surgeon didn’t know the outcome but explained that his left side wasn’t moving at all but had the potential to return in some capacity. We waited for another 30 minutes and finally got to see him.

Although it was difficult to see him intubated, we were grateful that he was still with us. We were up all night praying and trusting in God.The next 24 hours he progressed better than expected. The right side of his body was fine and even the left side improved. When they pinched his left toe,his leg would twitch and move up. He recently showed a little sign of movement in his left hand, which made us all smile and gasp for joy with this sudden improvement. We are rejoicing in the baby steps; the squeeze of his hand, the tiny twitch of a finger or simply listening to him breathe instead of the noise of machines helping him. 

We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support…grateful for the texts and phone messages, the visits, the words of encouragement and the prayers. It is what keeps us going and gives us hope. His recovery will be more like a marathon rather than a sprint, and we will continue to update you on Kellen’s progress in the days/week/months ahead.

Thank you for your continued prayers for Kellen. We love you all.

John, Jennifer, Kellen and Brendan

“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 
My times are in Your hand” Psalm 31:14-15

 

Latest Journal Update

'Everything is going to be OK'

One year. 'There is a time and a purpose for everything under heaven...a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;..... A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.....God has made everything beautiful in its time: also He hath set eternity in their hearts...' Ecclesiastes 3

So much has happened in a year. We have all learned a little more about ourselves. About each other.  About the goodness and mercy of God. Our faith and trust in God has been tested. I have realized that in 'deep waters' I sometimes falter more than I would like. In Bible Study I remember how Peter's faith was tested...when Jesus called him out upon the 'rough waters' and he had a difficult time focusing on the Lord right in front of him & would begin to sink...I found myself sinking a few times in the past few months. I was focusing on the 'tidal waves' that tried to consume me...when it comes to trusting in the Lord, I guess I still need my 'water wings.'   I watch as Kellen navigates easily in deep waters, keeping his eyes on the Lord and 'the goal.' He works so hard, doing everything the therapist asks of him and then some. And then at the end of the day, he lays his head to rest on his pillow and sleeps soundly, trusting in the Lord and His plan for his life.  I remember him rhetorically asking me those first few weeks in the hospital, 'Mom, what is the worst that could happen?  I would be in Heaven with God.'  And then more recently to John, 'Dad, even if this is the best it is going to get and my hand doesn't improve anymore, I'm fine. Everything is going to be ok.'

From Kellen: 'It has been one long year but one great year as I have learned so much about myself and what truly matters in life.  I have learned I have such a good support system through my family and friends and those who care about me. Thank you all for your encouragement this past year. I still haven't read through all of the Caring Bridge posts but hope to in the days ahead. My faith life has increased as well. Thank you for your prayers. I have been in therapy this past year and I am progressing extremely well. I am looking to get full movement back in my hand and I continue to see progress which is always fulfilling. Right now I am working on the fine motor skills in my wrist and hand, like trying to touch my thumb to my other fingers. I am seeing an amazing therapist in San Diego who has helped me a great deal; more improvement than I have seen previously in that area, which has been a great blessing to me and my family.'


...We feel blessed to have been led to a world-renown therapist in San Diego who specializes in stroke and brain-injured patients.  He has created & developed the therapy known as Neuro-IFRAH and has helped patients from around the world. He also teaches/trains therapists in the United States and Hong Kong as they see 'more improvement in their patients' after learning from him (Such a blessing hearing their stories!) His name is Waleed al Oboudi and he has a gift of healing. We hear from patients and therapists alike that 'he is just different; he has a gift.'   By the grace of God he is now Kellen's therapist and we give thanks each day for continued miracles as we watch kellen's hand move in new ways with each visit.  The best part of therapy is witnessing the two of them together laughing and joking. Kellen is blessed to have such a positive place to recover; seems ideal for healing mind, body AND spirit.   Waleed and his wife Amelia, who is also a therapist and works alongside Waleed in San Diego, have a strong faith. They care so much about the dignity of each person and it shows in their work and in the therapy environment. In their love and care not only for the patient, but for the entire family as well. It shows in their humility; in their humanity and in the hope they share. The joy during recovery is contagious, spilling out to the patients, therapists and families alike. Where does this joy come from?  Amidst the tragedy of an accidental brain injury or stroke, personal and family trauma, there is a JOY that is unmistakable. Undeniable. It is truly the gift of God in that environment and It is 'different' from any other place we have experienced. We are grateful...

I have come to realize that this whole journey, this whole experience isn't just about Kellen or me or about how we all 'feel' or interpret what is going on...it is about the love of God in our lives. In the midst of the daily mundane tasks, like the repetitive movements of a hand and brain that need to be 'retrained,' God is there. Small miracles that I would miss if I'm not paying attention...and I don't want to miss it. There are so many details of Kellen's recovery that are truly miraculous. There have been times when we were afraid and were 'emotional train wrecks' and moments when we experienced great hope, joy and peace... I realized in ALL those times, God again was there...although there were moments i was unaware of His presence as i focused on the 'storm.' (and let me tell you there were some LARGE waves) I had to seriously ask myself, Do I trust God? Even when it comes to the children He entrusted to us? 

This past week we were given yet another 'opportunity' to Trust God.  We found out that Kellen will need a 4th (and prayerfully 'final') surgery. CT Scans show that a portion of his skull is being absorbed by his body. The neurosurgeon will need to remove the skull piece that was reinserted last June and replace it with a prosthetic hard plastic piece. We had noticed a gradual decline in his overall strength and stamina over the months, but thought it might be 'brain injury related.' On Easter morning, when I tussled kellen's hair as he was lying in bed, to wish him a Happy Easter, I noticed his skull was perfectly round as opposed to settled and slightly 'indented' like when he was sitting or standing. The fact that his skull was 'moving' caused some concern. He also recognized that when he was sleeping on his right side, his left side near his rib cage would become 'numb.' Also after the doctor pressed lightly on his 'bone flap' he had a slight headache . A scan was then ordered which showed the thinning of his skull piece due to lack of blood flow.  We decided to move forward with surgery as soon as possible.

So the marathon Kellen was running has now become an IronMan race...on the biking portion we have hit a 'pothole' and it seems Kellen's protective head gear has been 'damaged' and is in need of repair.  We are asking once again for your prayers, especially next Wednesday on July 1 at 730am. Dr. Lazio will once again be his surgeon. We are so grateful for her and the care she gives Kellen and our family. We of course trust in our Divine Physician who will be guiding her in the process. When I focus on yet another procedure, I have anxiety...I even get teary sometimes and plead with God.  If I'm truly listening I hear, 'Do not be afraid, just have faith.'  Kellen reminds me too, 'Mom, everything is going to be ok...' 


*We wish to humbly thank you again for the monetary donations that were made last year on Kellen's behalf.  Insurance covers a good portion of kellen's therapy and your help has covered the rest. We wish we could thank you all personally and individually. We also want to thank you for your prayers, phone calls, texts, words of encouragement, love and support on this CaringBridge site.  It is like oxygen for our souls and keeps us moving forward.  We continue to hold you in our prayers as well.


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Comments

16 Comments

Steve Clovis
By Fr. Steve Clovis, Mt. Angel Seminary
Kellen and family,
I just wanted to jot down a quick note to let you know I celebrated Mass this morning for your intention(s), praying especially for the surgical team's success. I've been thinking about you all the entire day and wait to read how the surgery went today.
Kellen, you are awesome!
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Alan Arpin
By The Arpin gang
Dear sweet McCauley family,
All of our love and prayers are with you, especially on Wednesday we will offer our Mass for Kellen and for all of you . May God grant you His perfect peace and trust as you faithfully continue on this journey. He holds you all in His loving hands and His healing mercy. We love you all and we're praying so many times a day for kellen and all of you.
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Stefani Parsons
By
Our continued thoughts and prayers for you all-Especially so on July 1st. Thank you for the update....Stefani, Mike & Dylan
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Ann Greene
By Grandma oxox
To my sweet, dear family…..I am praying all the time! Sometimes at the kitchen sink, in the car, in the line at the grocery store! I will be with you the whole way! Everything is going to be OK, I just know it. I have total faith in Dr.Lazio and her team, and most of all in our Lord and Savior. He will protect you and won't let you fall. You all are God's witnesses….He is using you and will continue to use you. Love you a ton!! Blessings upon all of you!
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Cristina Stormans
By
Dearest Friends,
We are so thankful for you...and thankful for your update that reminds us of our need for Jesus! We will partner with you in prayer for Kellen and his surgery. Then we trust the Lord that Kellen's recuperation is going to continue unimpeded. Bunches of love, Greg and Cristina and John Stormans
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Sister Mary Eucharista
By Sister Mary Eucharista, SMMC
Prayers continue for Kellen and family, especially on July 1 at 7:30 AM with his surgery. God bless you all, from all the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church.
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Mary Rants
By Mary Rants
I love you guys and am praying for you. We have always told our kids, "it will be ok"... When you trust in God it is always ok. It doesn't mean life is perfect or how you imagined it would be. Sometimes it's better.
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Tami Lingor
By
Amen! Thank you for the update, I've been wondering how you all are doing. Jen, I'm reminded--if we only have the faith of a child. How wonderful that Kellen has held on, and grown that beautiful gift.
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Steve Clovis
By Fr. Steve Clovis — last edited
Kellen--Know that I will be praying for you, your family and for the surgical team next Wednesday. I will promise to celebrate Mass for your intention and that of your family that morning.
P.S. I'm writing this in Kirkland, WA., not far from Holy Family where I got to see you and your family for Deacon Cody's Ordination. Next time you have to come to Mount Angel!!
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Carrie Bell
By Carrie Bell
Total confidence in Dr. Lazio and her ability to guide Kellen safely through the final lap of surgeries. I will say a special prayer on July 1 for you all. Thank you for sharing your faith and steadfastness. I admire and hope to emulate in times of strife. You are all a blessing.
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