Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 April 22 Update

Tried to post this last night, but ran into problems and had to reboot. Got too tired and waited til morning:
April 22, 2007

Well, Today was a very different day than yesterday. Brian is completely alert and with us. He was very sad and frustrated when I first arrived this morning as he could not say much of anything except “yeah” and “well”. He could not move his right arm/shoulder/chest or foot or calf or lip very well. His anguish would have broken anyone’s heart.

Then physical therapy came. He got into a chair with some help and they showed us some exercises to do. He did great. His right big toe is working and his hamstring and quad are great. However, his ankle/foot and the calf are not working. This will make walking a challenge. We have some exercises in which I help his foot move to try to send the signal back up to the brain to work. We did not meet with occupational therapy today, which should help us with his arm/upper body, we are told. Speech therapy went very interesting. By the end, Brian was repeating lots of sounds and words. He can read and point to the picture describing the word, etc. They practiced some “automatic” speech – saying things that we are so used to saying, we don’t have to think about them – counting to 10, days of the week, etc. He tried to hum happy birthday and didn’t get the melody. However, when singing happy birthday, the melody came, but the words were very jumbled. She said this is a great exercise because the melody is on the right side of the brain and the words can come automatically with the melody. So, we practiced singing again later in the day. He got most of the songs out. Also, she told him to listen to music a lot and sing along or hum along without even thinking about it – even if the words came out wrong. We practiced LOTS of things. I would say words and he would repeat. He is GREAT at repeating. They gave us a little typewriter thing and he can type his words okay. Anyway, I just thought it went great. By the end of the day, he was trying to crack little jokes (by getting one or two key words out) and letting us know he wants ice cream, or has to pee or whatever. He is off all the IV’s and the catheter, etc.

Physical Therapy told me that they thought Brian was a great candidate for rehabilitation. I thought “no, duh” But, what they meant is that they think he will need to go from here (neurosciences) to in-patient rehab. He needs to learn to use his right arm and leg in order to walk and take care of himself. In patient rehab is basically just hanging out in your room or else totally rehab – hours a day; physical, occupational, speech, whatever. This is pretty much all he is doing now anyway. His vitals and stats are stable, all they do is measure his intake and output and the various therapies come work with him – but only for 20 minutes at a time or so. So, we have to work this out with insurance, but that is probably the next step for Brian. They said, “you realize you can’t really take care of him at home until he is more rehabilitated?” I said, yes. They said they didn’t think outpatient rehab was a good idea for him until he gets more abilities. Anyway, let’s hope and pray that our insurance covers in-patient rehab. Not all cover this. We feel that this is a good thing. We would do this in Illinois, probably depending on our next steps here with respect to the treatment of the cancer.

Tomorrow we should meet back up with Edwards’ team to discuss how the surgery went – MRI was yesterday to measure the resection and to discuss next steps. They are still talking about this cyber knife radio surgery and we have to learn more about that and see if Brian is a candidate. We should also get some pathology information, we think. That is still our NUMBER ONE prayer request.

Completely unrelated, Jan (Brian’s mom) had more issues with her atrial fibrillation today. She went to the ER again and this time she was admitted. She is getting all kinds of tests and stuff done tomorrow and they are going to keep messing with her medication. I guess this is relatively common, but it is just a matter of trying different meds and finding the dose and meds that works. She just didn’t get a chance to figure it out before they came to California. Anyway, pray for Jan as well.

So, today was a good day, except for Jan’s issues. Very emotional and moving and still frustrating at times, but Brian is encouraged. He was in such a good mood when I left and not tired and groggy and not that discouraged. He is my hero (we practiced that word a lot today) He asked for a dictionary or some sort of word book to practice his speech. He was all hooked up with his I-Pod (which he can say very well) and looks great. He feels dirty and wants to shower badly. I cleaned him up today, but it is not the same. Anyway, praises and thanksgiving for a good day.

Okay, I am babbling. I am tired and I want to get to the hospital early tomorrow not knowing what time the doctors get there on Mondays.


Angie, Brian, Gavin and Grant O’Neill


  1. Keep it up Brian! Thanks for the news Angie. I can picture Brian doing everything you describe.

    Jan we have you in our thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself.

    Please send our regards to Ed, Sean and Murph. How are those boys holding up?
    I am sure Brian has no shortage of music to listen to with his brothers around. I think they made a pact together that they will each carry at least 20GB of music with them at all times.

    Have a Great Day out there!

    John, Heather, Jack and Luke

  2. Keep working hard Brian, you are such an amazing person and with all your hard work and dedication, you will do great. Pratice those Grateful Dead songs or that new music that Angie and I loved, what was the name of that, Ben Harper, I think.

    Jan, we are praying for you as well. Stay strong and take care.

    Keep working hard and we are praying hard for you at all times.

    Mindi, Matt and Logan

  3. This is very good news indeed. Keep up the hard work. Full time rehab might not be much fun but the rewards last much longer than the pain of the therapy. We are all praying for a speedy recovery!

    Rob, Shev, Kaila and Kiera

  4. Singing Praises to the Lord,
    the King of Kings,more exciting news that we got to read.

    You are all such an inspiration to so many. We are constantly being shown, to push, to go forward, to keep believing.

    Brian and Angie, thank you for the many ways, you are showing us, to keep walking strong on our own paths. It is making this world a better place.

    Singing songs, is Praising God twice, so keep singing, keep that music going, especially that awesome music in your hearts and minds,the song :

    Love you Marjo

  5. Thanks so much Angie for keeping everyone updated! That really means alot! We are all thinking of you guys!

  6. This is GREAT news! How far you have come Brian, in just a couple of days! We will pray for your continued successes, and for your mom as well.
    Ken, Melissa, & kiddos

  7. Hero is a great word. I know the boys think their daddy is a super hero.

    Angie and Brian--keep working hard. Together, you will overcome these obstacles. Remember, God never gives more than we can handle.

    As for the rest of us, we are praying for you. We are praying for God to give you strength and courage.

    Take it one day at a time.


  8. Brian and Angie---It is good to hear that things are going so well for you. Sounds like you are on the speedy road to recovery despite the difficulties. Our prayers are still coming your way. Angie you are an angel.

    Sean and Murph---Glad you are there to help everybody. Be sure and take care of Ed also.

    Jan--Sure hope they can get your meds straightened out quickly.

    Our thoughts and prayers for all.

    Love, Anne and Dan

    God Bless You

  9. Brian you are a true hero, but you are not the only one in the family. Angie you are amazing! Remember to take care of yourself.

    I know you are in for a tough day with the pathology coming in. Stay strong and always keep believing.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Lisa, Steve and Gang

  10. Thanks for the update. I'm so relieved and thankful things are getting better. Brian, just hang in there. Positive things happen to positive people and I can't think of a more positive person. You are such an inspiration to all of us, and that's why we love you.
    We also send warm wishes to Jan. I know first-hand what stress can do to one's body. My advice to her is advice I got from my niece, Angie, "give it to God." It works!!!
    Angie, would you please take care of yourself, as well. We love you guys.
    ~JOANN and Dave~

  11. Hello everyone this is the O'Neill boys from Canada. with our memaw. we are doing great but we do miss our mommy and daddy. We pray for daddy's head every meal and bedtime. We played so hard today that we were falling a sleep at 7:30 after our bath. daddy and mommy are our heroes. and we love them soooo much. The boys are doing great they have been very good and lots of fun . Yesterday we went to birthday party and on the way back I got lost and Gavin told me he knew I went the wrong way. Every time we get in the car they tell me I'm going the wrong way. They are adorable,The neighbors and alot of other friends have been so helpful. In fact Brian next door just came over and got my cable back. I am not very good at electronic equipment. I know thers must be alot of prayers for us because we are doing good. Jusr wanted every one to know we are rooting for our superman DAD and superwoman MOM.

    LoveYou All Karen Gavin Grant