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Welcome to our CaringBridge website. My sister, Pam, daughter, Nikki and I, Penny, have created it to keep friends and family updated about Mark's spinal cord injury. We are humbled that you are reading this. Please get started by reading the introduction to our website.
Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook.
This story is actually a bit complicated. But for the sake of simplicity we will try to keep it short.
On Thursday, September 30, Mark's ability to walk decreased significantly and needed something to hold onto. We went to the clinic on Saturday morning and they sent him to ER. From there the Hibbing ER sent him by ambulance to St. Mary's Neuro/Trama Ward in Duluth, Minnesota.
Doctors examined him all weekend and finally on Monday morning they declared that Mark had spinal cord injuries caused by cervical stenosis.
The medical team said that Mark was born with a narrow space for the spinal cord and over the years this has closed in even more. And because of recent falls that Mark has had, the spinal cord has been injured. The most critical area is in his neck (C3-C4), but there are other areas that they have told us.
So tomorrow, October 5, the Neuro Surgeon will be going into relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and give it an opportunity to heal. This may take up to a year and a half. Yikes!
This brings us up to today: Mark can not walk without a walker and someone standing behind him. Without a walker, he can take a step or two, but then he falls down. So, he is using a walker to help steady himself, but it is difficult to watch him struggle. His entire body is affected, but the right side including his arm is worse.
Mark is receiving huge doses of steroids to assist in shrinking the spinal cord in preparation for the surgery. Unfortunately a side affect of that is he has developed diabetes. We are told that this is unlikely to be permanent.
This spinal cord thing is really the pits affecting the normal bodily functions as well as his limbs.
We are told that after surgery to open up the cervical spine that Mark may regain some of what he has lost. The "plan" is to be in the hospital for a few days and then move to in-patient therapy at Miller Dwan here in Duluth. The recovery will probably be very long and difficult. We are glad that Mark is stubborn. His determination will be an asset in his recovery. All the doctors keep saying, "You are bad, really bad. Time will tell how much you improve, but our goal is to stop it from getting worse."
After they see how the neck responds, they have other areas of the spinal cord that will need surgery. But that is getting ahead of ourselves for right now.
Thanks for reading all of this. One of the three of us, Penny, Nikki, or Pam will try to post regularly to keep you updated. Tonight we are trying to focus on the fact that God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good. Please pray that we hold onto the only rock there is, Jesus Christ.