Update January 3 10:00am
Now for the current update on Autumn Hunter. The Neurosurgeon met with us last night. He explained that the mass of arteries is in the best possible location for operating. But she still is in grave danger and has a very large mountain to climb. Her next immediate goal is to get to Sunday with no further swelling of the brain. This is absolutely critical. She made it through last night and still maintains all vital signs without any concern. IF she is able to make it to tomorrow with no changes they will attempt to remove her breathing tube and let her breathe on her own. They will also bring her into consciousness to run verbal tests to watch her response. This will give a slight indication of any brain damage that may have occurred from the initial bleed. They will begin calling in their surgical team to schedule them for surgery. There will be so many surgeons involved that they may not be able to meet next week, although that is the initial plan of action.
Her surgery will last 10 hours. She will require a year of rehabilitation to learn any skills she may lose in the removal of that portion of her brain. Of course there are numerous worst case scenarios that come with this surgery that honestly I can not even discuss. She is still fighting for her life.......
Update January 5 10:00am
Autumn's breathing tube was removed yesterday and she was brought to a more conscious state. She has pneumonia in her left lung so it makes the breathing a little difficult for her.
She is responding to verbal commands and when I spoke to her she immediately turned her head to me and opened her eyes. She is aware of where she is and that she is being taken care of. Her little spirit is shining through as she began shaking her head no when the doctors continued to ask her to squeeze their hands.
They are looking at Thursday for the surgery to remove the artery. She is still in a critical state and will remain there until after the surgery.
I am begging you to find time to still say a small prayer for her. God is listening and he hears each and every one of them. That's all I will ask is for prayers for her.
Thank you and may God Bless you.
Update January 5 6:45pm
I just heard from Kim, and Autumn is doing well. She is alert and actually spoke for the first time tonight. As the nurses were doing their thing, she told the them to stop......twice, and that she needed a Kleenex.
Her surgery has been rescheduled to next Wednesday (1/14/15) so that all her doctors, radiologist, etc were all on the same page.
Her doctor said he is very pleased with her progress and feels good about her.
Again, I can't thank everyone enough for the support, care and prayers that are outpouring for this family and most importantly for Autumn as she continues her strength in this fight.
Update Januray 7 5:00pm
Autumn is doing well and her doctors are extremely pleased with her progress since the initial trauma. She's now been in the hospital for a week and just wants to know when she can go home. She has some kind of infection that they are doing cultures to determine why her body temperature fluctuates and rises so much.
She has been able to eat ice chips and take a few sips from a straw and swallow without any coughing. This morning, the physical therapists were able to help her sit up and swing her legs over the side of the bed. They are hoping before the end of the week that she would be able to move from the bed to a chair to sit. While she appears to be sleeping most of the day, she still scopes out the room to make sure mom is still there and picks her head up to see who's talking about her. She has several pictures up around the room that she asks to see and her classmates made her a poster with phrases on it that she wanted mom to read to her.
She is extremely brave and strong. She's aware of where she is, who she wants to see and definitely knows what she doesn't want nurses doing. Although she's expressive in her dislike, she is also being very cooperative with what she is being asked to do. Just yesterday the doctors were giving her math equations, which she was able to solve until they gave her something pretty tough and she said "I'm done".
Prayers are being answered and Kim is so grateful for those that continue to pray for Autumn's well-being and speedy recovery.
Update January 9 9:30pm
As I sit here in this dark and quiet room, watching my daughter have her first peaceful night's sleep in 7 days I can't help but recognize how much we have overcome through the power of God.
Just 6 days ago I was given the most terrifying news of my life "Your daughter's CT scan shows bleeding on her brain".
New Years Eve 2014 will be a day I doubt our family will forget for many years. While everyone else was celebrating with joy and hope for the upcoming year we were overcome with fear that we would be less one member starting 2015.
And now look at what the Glory of God has done for our sweet girl. Right here in front of our very eyes!!! I will not lie, my Faith was tested and I am sad to admit I struggled and doubted. But when two strangers approached me all alone in a waiting room, both delivering messages of God's love and promises I knew it was time for me to believe and let go. I have been nothing short of amazed by his Grace!!!
My daughter is talking, eating, smiling, communicating and giving her doctors plenty of reasons to say words like phenomenal, incredible, surprising, amazing.......all the same words I associate with MY God.
So tonight, on the eve of her Father's passing four years ago I am humbled and grateful by the miracles I continue to witness and by the love that I feel wrapped around us.
Thank you for the hundreds of texts, calls, FB posts, care packages, stuffed animals, cards, flowers, balloons and scriptures. And thank you from the bottom of my heart for consistently granting my only request of PRAYER. He is listening and he is moving in a mighty way. A testimony is being prepared and each one of you had a part in preparing it!!!
Update January 12 4:00pm
A message from Kim:
It's been a very busy Monday with all the doctors back on their normal schedules. This morning they had Autumn up and waking around the room with a walker. She reported no pain or discomfort and slight weakness in her lower leg. She is tolerating sitting up for long periods of time in a chair very well. Her taste buds are also recuperating so she's eating more and that's good. Still not eating as much as they would like so we are kinda concerned they will put the feeding tube in.
Her friends visiting have certainly boosted her spirits. She is more like our Autumn. The doctor met with us at 1:30 and explained the operation and broke things down for us. He asked that we not have any visitors this week to prepare her for surgery. We need to keep her as calm as possible. They expect it will take her 2-3 days to fully come out of the sedation and level out from the surgery. IF everything goes well she could go home as early as next Monday which is unbelievable.
Thanks for all the prayers and trying so hard to help raise funds for her expenses. I am in shock over the response and the outpouring of generosity. It helps us so much to know we'll have something to count on when it's time to "settle up".
Autumn Update 1/15/15 4:00pm-
Autumn's surgery yesterday went well. The doctors took over 12 hours initially to remove the AVM in her brain. After just a short time back in her room following surgery her drainage tube wasn't draining the fluids from her head. They ran a scan and discovered more bleeding but in the same area they had worked. They took her back into surgery for another 3 hours early into the morning. The scan showed the original AVM had a few smaller ones that were a little deeper in her brain and had to be treated. After the second surgery she was having trouble keeping the pressure down in her brain. They ran tests to determine if it was something in her brain or if it was being caused by her trying to wake up. Thank God after ANOTHER scan they determined it was because she was trying to come out of the sedation and that was raising her blood pressure thus affecting the pressure in her brain. They will run another scan tomorrow and unless they find something else it shouldn't delay her coming off the vent and out from sedation. Kim didn't go to bed until 6:00 this morning and is mentally and physically exhausted but hopefully this will be all Autumn has to go through until rehab begins. She is not seeing visitors at this time to get some rest herself and keep the area as quiet as possible for Autumn. Kim reports that Autumn is stable and doing great!
Please keep praying for Autumn's recovery and that all tests confirm surgeries have been completed and the recovery process can begin.
Update from Kim 1/18/15 6:30pm
Today has gone from little change and frustration to having answers and making progress.
It is quite apparent that an effect of her 13 + hour brain surgery is weakness in her left side. She hasn't used her left hand for much, it is obvious she doesn't have the strength to grip things. Her left leg doesn't move much, only her toes. Her right hand has full strength as well as her leg and foot. Her hand is very shakey but it is a temporary setback.
They had to put a feeding tube in because she has not had nourishment in 4 days and she was consuming very little days prior to her surgery. The feeding tube made her extremely angry!!!! The nurses had to push her chin to her chest in order to insert the tube successfully. When this happened she opened her eyes fully and looked all around and her eyes were steady ~ Praise Jesus!!!
She is communicating WELL by nodding her head yes and no and that has helped us to understand more of what she struggles with and what she needs. That alone has eased my concern and my stress level considerably.
Dr. Churn assured us today that her speech will regain in 5-7 days once she is more alert. What a blessing to hear.
My little lady will be back on the road to the miracle that God intends for her in no time. So with that reassurance and her being more comfortable I am going to treat myself to a little bit of football to celebrate her progress.
Update 1/19/15 5:00pm
Autumn is going thru a tough transition right now. The neuro-storming has begun and it is causing her great stress and discomfort. She was up all night with rapid breathing, high heart rate and discomfort all while showing she was incredibly uncomfortable.
Kim met with her team of doctors and nurses this morning to discuss concerns, discontent and what the plan is to make her more comfortable. The doctors explained that this is part of the rejuvenation of her brain and this can no be avoided. They also explained it is not necessarily painful to her it is simply powerful and intense in a nerve related fashion so she will have difficulty getting thru this until her brain calms down. Difficult to watch and emotionally exhausting for everyone involved. Kim is trying to remain focused on her contribution to Autumn's healing and blocking everything else out.
Continued prayers for Autumn, Kim and their whole family.
Autumn Update 1/22/15 9:00am
Autumn had a good night:) Dr. Chern (her head Neurologist) came in to see Autumn around 4pm yesterday and said that he would like to see a little more progress with her but understands it just may take a little more time considering her second surgery. He really wants her out of ICU and in a regular room so his goal is to get that accomplished by next week.
She cannot be moved until the neuro storms stop. Last night Kim only noticed one episode with her storms!. They started her on Nurontin (helps with the sensitivity of the nerves and it seemed to calm her down). She's also back on melatonin to help with sleeping. Kim is looking forward to see what they have planned for today. Rehab is coming for the first time. She is hopeful they will get more of a response out of her. Continued prayers for her recovery are greatly appreciated.
ps. All of this is great news, however it also means more days in the hospital and more additions to the financial total. Every bit of contribution to help this family matters. Thank you in advance for helping to ease the financial burden that's inevitable.
Autumn Update 1/23/15 9:30am
Dr. Chern (Autumn's Neuro Surgeon) came in last night and walked over to Autumn and grabbed her hand and asked her to squeeze. He then asked her to wiggle her toes and said to Autumn "Autumn, I don't want you to worry, everything is going to settle down and you ARE going to recover COMPLETELY. You are going to be fine, so don't worry."
He told Kim that he does NOT see seizures and that he has seen this behavior previously. It is one of the "lulls" in the waiting period. Once this passes he said that they will again see BIG strides towards improvement, He said DO NOT WORRY, she is going to be find, "just like I told you". No doubt that GOD sent Dr. Chern in at the right time just when reassurance was needed. Continued prayers for Autumn and Kim as they fight the fight and make progress toward recovery. Its always uplifting to hear positive signs of progress no matter how big or small.
WONDERFUL UPDATE ON AUTUMN! SUNDAY, JANUARY 25th
And the miracles just keep coming. Today Autumn has begun speaking in sentences and she has remained awake and engaged all day. Bubba (her brother) came to see her today and I wish I had captured the smile on his face when she said "Bubba".
CHILL players are supporting her, friends coming by to decorate the mailbox and the prayers just keep coming. We are so blessed beyond measure. Thank you Lord for all the progress, courage, strength, love and support. It's all in your glory!!!!
Autumn update 1/28/15 9:30am
Its been a couple days without much to report. Autumn continues to progress and is making wonderful and miraculous strides in her development. She is speaking in full sentences, conveys instructions to the nursing staff and even has playful banter with mom, family and friends. When asked questions, she's able to answer things like where she is, who her best friend is, what's the name of her dog and what grade she's in. She was able to drink Gatorade from a straw and said it tasted 'good'. After almost 4 weeks of being in the hospital it is certainly natural that her muscles are weakened. She is cooperating well with the physical therapists to regain her strength. She has been able to use a spoon on her own and subconsciously seems to be doing her own PT during the evenings.
I have shared with Kim my sentiments about the outpouring of care, concern and prayers that are shared daily for a little girl that many don't even know. People that have had absolutely no contact with her or her family, the first question I get from them is "How is Autumn doing?". God does work in miraculous ways!
And while these posts are meant to be shared among family, friends, co-workers, etc. I personally touch the hockey community the most and I couldn't be more proud to be part of any other community. Purple practices, write a story, do a fundraiser, I'll make something for her, & tearful joy with positive updates are just some of the active, ongoing reactions I get from the hockey community. I'm sure this is not unusual and others of you see and hear the same things, but this one gets me and I had to share......Outside my CHILL hockey world, I ran into a fellow hockey parent from another facility and organization. We are "distant FaceBook friends", really only through hockey. We exchanged pleasantries, how ya doin, how's the league shaping up for next season, then a 'hey, how's that little girl doing?' - Its amazes me every time!
Thank you to everyone that shows their support in their own way. Autumn is doing great! The family is appreciative of the prayers and sentimental contributions being made. Continue your strength Kim and keep doing what you're doing Autumn! We're all proud of you!!
Update 1/29/15 5:00pm
Change is so welcome!!!
Autumn was able to move herself with help to her wheelchair today and sit for over 2 hours with no complaining. When her PT nurses asked if she wanted to lay back down or stay in the chair and she said stay in the chair.They moved her to a regular room today so this is a big leap for her. More freedom with PT and less interruptions during the night so she will sleep better.
On Sunday they will perform another CT scan to see if her brain is absorbing the excess fluid that continues to accumulate. If the results don't show the absorption then she will have a shunt installed Monday. If the brain is absorbing the fluids she will have the EVD removed. Tuesday regardless of what happens with the shunt we will move to Scottish Rite and she will have her first round of rehabilitation. This will be a significant change for her! I feel strongly she will respond well and we will be on our way.
I remain amazed at HIS Grace and the love and care we have received from the staff here at Egleston. They are like family now. This experience has helped me grow so significantly as a Mother, an individual and most importantly as a Christian. I am forever grateful for the feelings of Hope, Peace and completeness from my Father. Only HIS love can make me feel complete and unstoppable!!! HE makes me feel bulletproof.........I am ready to cheer my daughter on to victory over this temporary setback in life. She has already proven she will not be broken but made stronger by HIS hands. She was chosen by HIM and what a beautiful story he has written in her heart. What a wonderful Father she has in HIM.
Autumn Update 2-2-15 9:00am
They just took Autumn back to have her EVD removed (drainage tube). She is having a shunt put in to help with the drainage. This is not a risky procedure and the shunt will remain in place permanently.
Kim has no worries, this will be her last procedure and she can simply continue to move forward in her recovery.
Thanks to everyone for your constant concern and support.
Autumn Update 2-2-15 12:00pm
She's out and everything went well. Once again she put her own self onto the operating table ~ that's MY girl!!!
We should be at Scottish Rite in the next few days.
IS EVERYONE SITTING DOWN???
Dr Chern said he expects Autumn to recover 90% of all function within 3 weeks!!!! The remaining 10% will be strictly personality related and could take up to 6 months. But it will have NO affect on her future or resuming all activities.
HALLELUJAH!!!! MY LORD AND SAVIOR IS INCREDIBLE!!!
Thank you all for being a part of our journey and miracle. The finale is only weeks away.....
Update 2-6-15 9:00pm
Another day of goals exceeded annnnnd a few bad habits return.....
In keeping things in perspective I had to remind myself that technically today was Autumn's second day of rehab. She was transferred to Scottish Rite Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday was a day of assessments and yesterday was her first day of true rehab.
Today I watched my daughter walk half the hospital floor. She not only kept a great pace but she stood straight and tall. She kept her head upright and she maintained her balance. She also ate very well today and her personality is emerging more and more. Today she told her therapist that cold pizza was disgusting so she had to heat her pizza up a little more. At another point in the day I told her that her jacket was not here because we forgot it and she said "Seriously?!"And of course today couldn't be considered a true success if she didn't pull her feeding tube out AGAIN!! Oh but not once ~ TWICE within a 30 minute time frame. So tonight she gets to wear boxing gloves to bed to ensure the longevity of the feeding tube.
In two days I have seen some amazing traits emerge in my daughter. Once again I have been reminded by her responses that I do not regret being tough on my children because when they are faced with a battle they step up to the plate, dig their feet in and grasp their bat tightly anxiously awaiting the incoming object of defeat because all they've ever known was perseverance and how to face their fears. In short they have been prepared to swing from day one. You will never hit the ball and advance to the next base if you don't know how to swing.