Beyond FEASTING: What I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Ryan turned 16 in May. He’s always been a very (very!) bright kid with a wonderful, outgoing personality and a great sense of humor; he was looking forward to a summer full of swimming and ultimate frisbee. Unfortunately two weeks after his birthday at an end-of-school-year party, Ryan went under an indoor trampoline to retrieve a rolling basketball. At the same time another party-goer jumped onto the trampoline from a second-story window and hit Ryan in the back of his head, causing his nose to hit the concrete floor with considerable force and shattering his nose into more than 25 pieces.
Ryan underwent surgery a few days later to reset his nose. He also had a CT scan done that same day, which showed his cribriform plate to be broken. A piece of bone had pierced his spinal fluid sac and was resting where the right and left hemispheres of his brain meet. He was hospitalized and kept immobile in the hopes that his spinal sac would seal around the bone to stop the leaking of spinal fluid. When his nose packing was removed, it was clear a fluid leak remained. The decision was made to perform cranial surgery to remove the bone and seal the leak.
Initially, Ryan seemed to recuperate well from the cranial surgery. Then he started to notice a watery discharge coming from his nose each morning, indicating another spinal fluid leak. Ryan had another surgery to insert a shunt into his lower back so the shunt could drain the fluid around his brain, allowing the leak to dry out and seal on its own. The absence of spinal fluid to protect his brain caused him to suffer from severe headaches for months.
When the leak failed to dry out and seal on it own, last week Ryan had yet another surgery to patch the leak, followed by the placement of an exterior shunt to again dry out the area in his brain that needed to heal. He’s finally home with his family. As long as the location of the exterior shunt (in his lower back) remains dry and heals, his pain should subside as the amount of spinal fluid around his brain finally returns to normal. Hopefully that will be coupled by the full success of this last cranial surgery and Ryan will never have to endure anything like this again. We’re very thankful that Ryan not only is recuperating but is in good spirits and is surrounded by (lots!) of loving family members this Thanksgiving. We’re also thankful for everyone who’s showered him with love this year and offered to help his mom and dad whenever they needed it. It’s obvious that Ryan is loved by many; he’s also cherished more than he’ll ever know by friends and family located in cities and towns all over the country and around the world, including a certain little suburb of Denver.
May all your stories have happy endings this holiday season and throughout the New Year. Happy Thanksgiving!