Monday, October 31, 2011

Update: 6:45pm on 10/31

Forrest had his sixth brain surgery today. He has done well with the procedure but continues in ICU tonight as they try to balance the flow of CSF (cerebral-spinal fluid). We are hopeful that this procedure will be his turning point on his road to recovery. This surgery is the placement of a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. This is designed to replace the small machine previously placed under the skin that was removed when the cranial implant (the lid) became infected. This small undetectable device shunts fluid when a specified pressure is reached from his brain ventricle to his abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) to be reabsorbed. It is made of antibiotic impregnated tubing and he is still on intravenous antibiotics from the previous infection. Infection is a concern of this procedure and sterile surgical procedure is practiced. 

The pressures of CSF within his brain are of concern and the shunt operates within a range of  CSF pressures. The shunt can be adjusted up or down externally via a magnetic device depending on the pressures his brain is encountering. One of the challenges with Forrest has been adjusting the pressures just right so the ventricular fluid is not so high that it is driven into his brain and also so that it is not so low that it over drains and can injure the brain. So it is a balancing act to get it just right and then get him to adjust to it. 

The plan is to get him a CAT scan in the morning and see what size the ventricles appear and adjust accordingly. If he is doing well he will go to the intermediate care ward from ICU, which has been his home for the last two and one half weeks. Hopefully soon afterwards he will return to his National Rehab room which has been his home away from home for the last several months and return to his rehab work. The cranioplasty will not be replaced until sometime after the New Year to allow his immune system to recover from the infection as much as possible.

Mom, Austin, Maylin and Valerie Lee have been standing guard with Forrest today. Dad has gotten a cold and is temporarily on the bench for Team 44. I, like the rest of you are thinking and praying for Forrest right now as he struggles through this next hurdle. 

Dad and Team 44


  1. Happy Halloween Forrest! Next year, on Halloween night, you will read this and remember that this was the surgery, the sixth one, that became the true turning point. You will remember that on this night, you began to truly heal. You and your family are in our thoughts...always. Each day brings you one step closer to home. Each day, one step. You are a warrior Forrest! One step, each day...we will all be there. Love, Barbara Riddleberger and the gang from Rabbit Hill XXOO

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I am one of those who appreciate knowing exactly what is going on! In another life I would probably opt for the medical profession....think it is a little late for this one, although you never know! Hoping Forrest is resting comfortably - as Barbara said, he is a true warrior with all that he has endured and continues to endure - it is absolutely amazing. And we are all so very lucky and truly blessed that such is the case. So....Forrest, hang in there, continue to try your best knowing there are so very many of us cheering you on, hoping for, and believing in your recovery. Your health care is amazing and your Team is amazing primarily because YOU are so amazing. Every step you make is huge. We're with you - confidently sending love, hope, and encouragement your way - Lisa, George, Greg Kevin,and Chris.

  3. Thinking of you guys are one tough guy. Pretty amazing. We've always said yours will be a great story someday in this "book" that is being written day by day. We hope to keep it to one volume though to this will be the time. Day by day Champ. Love ya.

  4. Thank you, Kent, for this terrific and detailed update. It really helps us understand what you all are going through as you make these decisions about such intricate procedures.

    I marvel at the miracle that they are available and I pray that Forrest enjoys flawless and effective functioning of this device.

    I pray that Forrest firmly remains infection free.

    I pray that the CAT scan shows only minimal, if any, adjustment is necessary.

    I pray that YOU heal quickly and can get back on the first string. I suspect the power you bring to your family is key.

    I pray that each of you knows that - regardless of the quarter of Forrest's recovery you find yourselves in - you are surrounded by friends that are watching, waiting and praying with you hourly. You are not alone.

    As Lisa said above - every step forward is huge.

    I pray that Forrest, and all of you, enjoys many more forward steps in the coming days.

    Keep the faith. And if it's hard to do that at times, no worries. We got you covered.

    We love your family.

    Shannon et al.

  5. Dear Forrest, Kent, Rae, and Austin,

    As Halloween 2011 draws to a close and the grins on our silly Jack-O-Lanterns begin to sag, our thoughts and prayers remain with all of you as you navigate through yet another surgery. Thank you for your post, Kent, and the explanation of the current challenges. We hope you get over your cold quickly.

    Forrest, as difficult as the shunt balancing act is right now, we know that your doctors and family are carefully monitoring you to get to you a state of equilibrium so you can return to your rehab plan. By next Halloween, we hope this day will be a distant memory and that you will be sharing the seasonal fun with your friends, chomping on popcorn and candy, and enjoying the creative costumes of the trick-or-treaters.

    As Shannon said above, we are also so grateful that the marvels of modern medicine are available to you. We have complete faith that, with the medical help, Team 44's faith and dedication, and your indomitable spirit, you will emerge from this seemingly-endless maze of complications to be strong and whole.

    We hope the next few days are full of forward progress for you and we are sending light sword rays of positive energy for it!


    Diane and Jay

  6. We think of you, pray for you and root for you constantly! We look forward to visiting soon, at the hospital and, before long, back at Brightwood. Sajen wants to romp with Sundance, and make everyone laugh at their silly, doggy antics! We know its hard, but keep fighting, Forrest, and soon everything will be easier for you again.

    Carina, Dean, Kaki, Caroline and Christina

  7. A cyber hug from all The Weedens!


  8. Extra prayers at bedtime from us tonight! xoxoxo
    -Berkeley and Thomas Gunnell

  9. Another surgery...Forrest you are so brave! Sending a hug over this post!

    Kelly and family

  10. Forrest, Rae, Kent and Austin,

    Your courage and perseverance are such a testament to us all of the love of a family. My prayers continue for you all and for those whose hands and decisions affect Forrest daily.