Oct 22, 2019 Latest post:
Aug 31, 2020
As many of you already know, Kevin is having brain surgery tomorrow to remove an AVM (see below). Kevin is not one that likes attention, but when he does get attention, it’s a zinger!
So much has happened in the last 36 hours I don’t know where to begin...so I’ll start at the beginning...
Yesterday morning, Kevin had a seizure. He was vomiting and had a horrible headache. His roommates swooped in like Batman and were heros yesterday. They contacted me to let me know the situation, and I met them at the ER. (Luckily, I was in town for Parents Weekend.)
When I arrived, his two roommates (one looking like Hugh Hefner dressed in a bathrobe, sleep pants and flip flops...we laughed about this after Kevin was stable😂), and a university representative met me in the ER. A CT scan showed what they said was brain bleed. When I saw Kevin he was alert and actually jovial, but just had a bad headache. They had given him something for the vomiting.
The Yavapai Med Cntr in Prescott did not have the equipment nor expertise to further evaluate his condition, so they airlifted him to St. Joseph Hospital In Phoenix to the world-renowned Barrow Neurological Institute. Through all this, Kevin was joking with his roommates, thought it was ‘sweet’ he got to ride in a helicopter, and at one point was hanging out the nurses station (I think he was checking out the nurses but he wouldn’t say 😊).
It was a two hour drive for me and his roommates as we caravanned down I-17. By the time we arrived, he had already had an MRI which showed it was not a brain bleed, but an AVM. This was good news because it was not as serious as a brain bleed, but still a serious condition requiring surgery.
An AVM is Arterialvenous Malformation. He’s had this since he was born but is not something that is diagnosed until there is a problem, which in Kevin’s case, was a seizure. In short, an AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. These blood vessels are not critical to the function of the brain.
To resolve this problem, we had three choices. 1. Put him on seizure meds for rest of his life, but the AVM may continue to grow. 2. Put him on seizure meds, have him come to Phoenix every two weeks, and plan surgery at a later date. 3. Perform surgery immediately. Since the surgery would completely resolve the problem and he would not have any more seizures, we opted for Option 3.
So for these ‘brain surgeons’ this is a typical day and routine. Although the condition Kevin has is very rare-only 200,000 diagnosed in the US each year -his doctor has successfully performed several of these.
One of the biggest concerns is if and how the AVM removal may affect speech, vision, or motor skills. It is high on his left side of his head, in a ‘good’ spot, they tell us. This afternoon Kevin had a FMRI (functional MRI). He was asked to do various things like talk, move arms/legs, answer questions, etc. Then, the scan lit up what part of the brain is being used. This is a tool that will help the doctors evaluate how close the AVM is to those parts of his brain controlling those movements.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) he will have two procedures to correct this problem:
The first one is an embolization to cut the blood flow to the AVM. This procedures takes about 3 hours. The second procedure is the ‘brain surgery.’ They will go in and remove the AVM. This takes 3-5 hours.
I don’t have exact times for the surgeries, but I will try post any updates throughout the day here.
Lastly, WOW!!!! We are awed by all the texts and calls outpouring support! Thank you! We appreciate every single text and call! I have shared every well wish with Kevin. It has spurred many conversations about family and friends who have reached out. 😊
Thank you for continued prayers and positive healing thoughts through the day tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates. And be sure to check out the pics in the Gallery!