Dec 26, 2017 Latest post:
Apr 15, 2018
Jared is a typical 22 year old who enjoys hanging out with friends, riding his motorcycle, climbing mountains in Colorado and being with his family. Jared's life has not been typical as he was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 6 and survived a year of chemotherapy to help him win his fight against cancer. Jared did just that, taking many injections and scans, pokes and prods. He was a champ through the ordeal but not without a price to pay. Jared appeared to be okay for the most part, going grade to grade while teachers questioned his ability to keep up and tendency to day dream. It became more apparent things were more difficult than Jared could handle when he stopped wanting to go to school his junior year. He just couldn't keep up. After extensive testing, it was discovered that he had a learning disability that caused him to need additional help to learn well. Some of Jared's learning disabilities caused him struggles as he worked to complete his high school education, but he endured and made it through.
Jared went on to live with his brother Kaleb in Warrensburg, worked at Applebees and was considering his next move in life. While enjoying hobbies like off-road riding in Colorado, hiking up the side of mountains and exploring caves, riding his Ninja on the scenic roads in Missouri or just hanging out and playing games online, Jared appeared to have a full life with plans for the future. Jared still battled pain, but this time it was much deeper and accompanied by fear and anxiety, worry and depression. Jared struggled with thoughts he could not control and had sought help by doctors and appeared to be receiving it. After a medication change, Jared's fight continued but he was losing ground. Few realized how bad it was but noticed other behaviors that were not normal for Jared. Jared became increasingly entrapped in his routines, fears and doubts and struggled with thoughts and pressures from within.
Jared made a choice on December 1st that would change his life forever. That choice rendered Jared the victim of an anoxic brain injury, a trauma that was caused by lack of oxygen to his brain. What they don't tell you in the suicide forums is what happens when things don't go as planned and your brother breaks down the door to find you and gives you CPR. Jared's brother, only 16 months his senior, has always been his closest companion and friend; the one who has been with him through thick and thin, the boy who talked him into mischief but who was rarely the one caught and yet the brother who saved his life.
After being rushed by ambulance 45 minutes west, Jared spent his next 22 days in St Lukes hospital in Lee's Summit, MO. He was brought in on a ventilator and was considered comatose until they reduced the medication that kept him sedated. On the third of December, he was taken off the ventilator and sustained breathing on his own. Although Jared was with us, he was not reactive to finger flicks to his eyes but was trying to move at times to be more comfortable. On December 4th, Jared started to speak and even asked, "How are you doing?" while looking at his aunt Jennifer. He laughed at one point. His language was minimally there, and on the 5th, he started to try and move different parts of his body almost like he was regarding the movements for the first time. Jared's agitation level increased, and the health care providers were reminded how long it had been since nutrition was given. Day by day, there were different paths followed, a different neurologist, nurse, and aid daily. No clear path, no clear plan, no clear expectations set. Uncertainty became the norm, threat of insurance company dictating the future care became the savage threat and the sight of seeing Jared wasting away became reality. He was declining.
A phrase came to mind, it was "chart painting." It became necessary that fighting meant necessary strokes of a brush showing Jared's strengths in the medical chart. There were times care givers would sedate Jared to calm his limbs down. He would move them fiercely causing burns to the skin and cuts as his legs crashed down on the side of the hard, plastic bed. Sedation was "a way" to keep him safe but was not good for his brain development. Care providers were not able to see any changes or improvements in Jared. In an office far far away were insurance experts who were not encouraged by the clinical data in Jared's chart. Insurance didn't believe Jared was progressing and was recommending a nursing home. From there, the focus became clear... to tell the story based on Jared's strengths rather than his weaknesses. So much of his life seemed to be around what he had to achieve but could not, but for the first time, it needed to be what can Jared do; what can he achieve? For insurance not to dictate Jared's health care, Jared's chart would need to prove he could achieve, and achieve he would do. Jared was able to prove he could nod and shake his head to indicate yes and no, he would need to show he could stand with support, and Jared even tried sitting up on his own. He achieved his goal and proved he could sustain acute rehabilitative care and was accepted into one of the best hospitals in the nation, Madonna!
On December 22, Jared was transported to Madonna in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was a three hour ride in a transport van during an ice storm. Jared arrived and began a journey that will be depicted here. We've called Jared, J-Bird since he was a boy. It became apparent to his uncle Greg that Jared is now our Phoenix, "rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle." Our phoenix will rise again with the help of those who love and support him. Jared is no longer alone and has the strength of a thousand behind him, pushing, encouraging and believing in him all the way to the finish line.