Meet Wyatt and Lisa Purdy!
There was no possible way to even imagine that just over a year ago our family would be summoned into a world of AVMs and aneurysms. At 9 years old, Wyatt, experienced a spontaneous cerebral hemorrhage from a ruptured AVM in his front parietal lobe while he was warming up for his baseball game.
We were shoved into the emergency room-world where doctors and nurses rushed out to my unconscious, limp son. It was an unimaginable scene in which doctors spoke of airlifting, ambulances and the need to find a pediatric neurosurgeon immediately. There was a rush to transport us to a local children’s hospital where Wyatt underwent immediate surgery to relieve the pressure from the bleeding and then weeks of care in the Pediatric ICU and later to a step down unit.
Our new, fractured world in Pediatric ICU was filled with specialist, intubation, diapers, drip lines, yellow gowns, a possible shunt, and unknowns while we waited for Wyatt, who was in a medical coma. I still find it difficult to remember that Wyatt was experiencing ICU psychosis and later a drug withdraw. We discovered Wyatt’s AVM was inoperable without the possibility of paralysis and we opted for radiosurgery to close the AVM once he was strong enough.
Wyatt developed a fast flowing aneurysm which required embolization and another hospital stay a couple months after discharge. Soon after his embolization, he was strong enough to receive radiation at a nearby large city’s medical center. Wyatt, my husband, and I checked into an apartment provided by our insurance so his radiotherapy mask could be made, he could receive radiation, and hopefully recover comfortably. Currently, the AVM lesion is still open but, with radiation, it should be closed within 2-3 years. Thankfully, there has been minimal reactions from the radiation.
We are making new discoveries and celebrations as Wyatt recovers. We are grateful Wyatt does not suffer from any physical deficits. We are blessed the blood filled into an empty space in his brain and minimally impacted his brain tissue which resulted in few deficits. However, Wyatt has issues with short term memory, migraines, troubles with excessive noises, and was diagnosed with mild neurocognitive disorder. It has taken time for his emotional regulation to build up and he has had to deal with PTSD from the trauma. When Wyatt did return back to school, he attended for only half day as he built up stamina. Wyatt attends school full time now and just finished 5th grade. Academically and socially, he is doing really well. At his elementary school, he has a 504 plan in addition to having the support of amazing teachers and friends.
His interventional radiologist and neurologist were kind enough to clear him for baseball, with the thought that exercise would be beneficial for his PTSD and strategy would help his brain heal. He currently plays on our local Little League where we had considerable support from his coaches and the league.
Wyatt has had the opportunity to say a prayer at a benefit for an organization’s AVM and aneurysm gala. (Editor's note: Our JNF buddies.) He was able to meet Danny Farquhar, the Chicago White Sox pitcher who also experienced a brain hemorrhage. Wyatt even received a few pitching tips from Mr. Farquhar! He was even interviewed by Fox Sports to tell about his experience. Above all, I am most proud of the garage sale Wyatt and his sister held for the Ronald McDonald House since they provided so much for my family.
I feel like I am in constant prayer as Wyatt’s lesion is still healing. Although I am beyond grateful for Wyatt’s healing, there is a pain and loneliness that is hard for others to understand, since to others he appears completely healed.
Simply stated: I worry. I worry for his future, I worry about the distance to a nearby trauma hospital, I worry when my phone does not have coverage, and I worry when he does not wake up quickly enough. Wyatt’s sister, Olivia, has often had to take a back seat as everyone’s attention has been diverted. No matter my best effort, there are still times I fall short so I worry for Olivia.
But, I am ok sitting with my worry right now and I trust things will fall into place no matter what shape it takes. I feel stronger in setting limits for my family and myself. I now willingly voice my concerns, embrace that I ask a lot of questions, and can sit with uncertainty knowing even experts cannot provide me with definite answers. I am more committed to the well-being of my family and to myself knowing we can handle things together.