Update on Jerard

Jerard started running a fever last night and is on medicine for a urinary tract infection and a fungal infection.

He had a cranial ultrasound yesterday which shows that the pockets of fluid between his brain and skull are shrinking but the ventricals are not refilling as they should. It appears all the CSF is collecting in the areas between the brain and skull. These areas are drained by the external drains temporarily in place.

A CT scan will be done Saturday to get a clearer picture of what is going on in Jerard's skull.

He will probably have another surgery on Tuesday to put in an internal drainage from the pockets of fluid to his abdomen.

The external drainage system can only be in place up to 10 days. Beyond that the risk of systemic infection from the external drains gets very high.

Keep him and us in your prayers. Thanks.

After Surgery Update

Jerard just came back to the room after surgery and the recovery room 30 minutes ago. Surgery went well and as planned. The cerebral fluid was not clear (it appeared to have blood in it) but we won't find out what that means until a culture is completed within a couple days. It might just be that there was some slight bleeding when the brain had shifted due to different fluid pressures. The doctor explained that that happens sometimes and he didn't seem to concerned about it. If the culture shows an infection, then that is the much greater issue. We will see in a couple days.

As of right now, Jerard is awake, attentive and hungry. The doctor has not cleared him to drink milk yet but hopefully soon.

Thank you for your prayers. We are pleased with how the surgery went. Now we will wait to see if the brain shifts into the proper position over the next couple days.

Latest Update on Jerard

We met with the neurosurgeon today to review the results of yesterday's cat scan. There is some sad news. The back part of Jerard's brain has moved all the way to the front of the brain.

If you recall, Jerard's brain only exists as a relatively thin layer of brain matter around the inside of the skull with a large amount of fluid in the center of the skull. A number of weeks ago the situation was complicated by pockets of fluid between the skull and the brain at the back of his head and a cyst in the center of the brain cavity.

Now the cat scan shows that the fluid has increased at the back of the skull forcing the brain that was at the back of the head all the way across the brain cavity to settle against the brain matter at the front of the head. What this means is that we are going to have surgery on Monday to do a couple things.

  1. Temporarily stop the shunt from flowing.
  2. Install two more shunts at the back of the head that will drain into an external bag.

After a few days, hopefully the brain matter that has shifted will go back to it's proper position. If that occurs then the two additional shunts can be removed (along with the external drainage bag) and the shunt released to flow again all without an operation (which is good news).

Why are we doing this? Because we want to give the brain the best chance to keep on growing and it is very important that the brain be in the proper position for that to happen. If Jerard's brain can keep on growing there is still a very real possibility that Jerard will grow up with a normal IQ.

Well, hopefully you have enough to pray for. As always, thank you for your prayers. Pray also for Beth and I and the rest of the family because hospital stays are very stressful for the whole family. Please pray for our finances too since hospitals here in the Philippines require cash up front for everything.

Picking Jackfruit

This is Ben with a small jackfruit. It is not ripe yet but Ben can barely lift it!

One of our neighbors asked me to help him pick some of of the jackfruit from the tree in front of his house. He needed the help because he wasn't so sure about climbing into a tree and safely harvesting 40 to 50 pound fruits -- imagine that :)

Our neighbor in the jackfruit tree. In the foreground is one of the fruits.

A closer shot of the fruit (but this one is still not ripe). The fruit to the left that is within the white bag is the one that we actually harvested. It was larger.

The fruit that we harvested weighed 46 pounds -- and yes, we only harvested one fruit. But at that size, isn't that enough? How much do you think that we eat over here?

Why We Love Lizards!

Lizards are our friends here in the Philippines. Here is our friend eating our enemy, the one inch long cockroach. We keep dozens of our friends around our house at all times (as if we could do anything about it)! Better to have our friends around than our enemies we always say :)