First life-changing day

At around 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 14, our daughter, Arianny, called us from San Antonio where our two sons, Shade, 12, and Mayan, 8, were visiting for a week. Shade had complained about an itchiness on his cheek. She took him to wash his face in the bathroom. He then said he couldn’t hear out of his left ear. Suddenly he screamed that something bit him on the neck and he collapsed in her arms. She called 911; they came quickly and rushed him to University Health System. Arianny went with him and called us with regular updates. At first we thought he might have had an allergic reaction to something. Then Arianny called with devastating information. He had had an aneurism. The doctor came on the phone, told us it didn’t look good, and instructed us to get on the first flight to San Antonio.

Essentially she implied that Shade was going to die. We were devastated. We booked three flights for Aitza, our older son Edwin, and myself, to San Antonio, but as it was now nearly midnight, the earliest flight we could find was 6:55 a.m. this morning (Friday, July 15). We spent a rough night of no sleep, crying, and desperate phone calls. Seliena, my sister-in-law, called Arianny and some other friends with knowledge of brain injuries, and we eventually came to the conclusion that there was still hope for our son. Still, that was the longest night of our lives.

After 2 hours sleep, we got a lift from my dad to the airport and made it to San Antonio by 8:35 a.m. Fabian, our son-in-law, met us at the airport with Mayan and drove us to the hospital. We finally got our first teary sight of Shade since he left a week ago.

Shade is currently in a sedated state. He is hooked up to lots of monitors and drips to keep him in a steady state. He has a shaved portion of his head where there is a surgically inserted drainage tube that is releasing some of the blood from around his brain and relieving some of the pressure.

Since arriving, we’ve talked to the nurses and neurosurgeons that have been monitoring him and reviewed his CT scans. Here’s a rundown of the general info they gave us:

Essentially Shade had a stroke in his brain stem. He has a congenital vascular malformation, an AVM. Basically he has a vein network in his brain that isn’t supposed to be there. They see it here occasionally, often after a stroke like this. Most people that have it never know unless they happen to be scanned for something else and it’s discovered. It can also be discovered if a person has lots of severe headaches. If they do find it before a stroke, many times they do nothing as the surgery can often be as damaging as the stroke. They tend to monitor it in most cases.

When Shade’s burst, it filled up areas around the brain stem and the ventricles. The CT scans showed this blood build up in these areas. They’re draining some of the blood around the brain to relieve pressure, but the blood in the ventricles and the brain stem will have to be absorbed by the body. When Shade came in last night, the pressure that had built up around his blood stem was so great that they thought it was going to shut off circulation to his brain and make him brain dead or outright kill him. In the 12 hours since that time, the progression of CT scans is showing some release of pressure around the brain stem, which is critical.

Shade is also responding well to physical stimuli. Dr Bertanusz, the on-call neurosurgeon from last night’s surgery, gave him some reflex tests. He responded to the hammer on the knees and arms, his feet curled when brushed and he kicked back when his legs were pushed up. The right side responded more purposefully than the left. His eyes also have consistent dilation. These are good signs, though the doctors have warned us many times that things could change just as quickly for the worst. However, Dr. Armijo, the head ICU doctor, is very cautiously optimistic because of his progress. She is, however, very careful with her words of optimism. She says this isn’t a “take it one day at a time” situation. It’s a “take it one hour at a time” situation. Improvement could continue, stop at any time, or even take a turn for the worse. They really can’t say.

The main focus right now is to maintain the bleed, which has stopped. They are monitoring closely and trying to keep him in a very calm state so that the body can naturally heal the area and prevent a second bleed. Until that is controlled, they can do very little else. If that seems to be in a manageable state, they will look into the vascular malformation. That’s not to say they can really do much about that, but the neurosurgeons will consider options at that time. If all goes well and he starts showing signs of progress, then they will talk about rehab. Again, because they do not know how much progress he may make, if any, they can’t really say what kind of rehab or how long it may take. Dr. Armijo said it’s going to be a very long road ahead.

Neurosurgeons are going to take intermittent CT scans to monitor the bleeding. They’re all very helpful and willing to answer all questions, even though most of the answers end up as “We can’t be sure.” and “We’ll just have to wait and see.” Meanwhile, we wait in San Antonio, unsure of the future of our son.

One thing that is certain, Shade is only alive because Arianny acted so quickly. She’s just got her RN certification this week too. What a final exam! God bless her.

I’ll keep all of you updated on this site as I learn more info. Thanks for all your well wishes and prayers. You’re an amazing support group.

Thanks to you all from, Vincent, Aitza, Mayan, Edwin, Arianny and our beautiful, resilient son Shade.


76 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pat MacNeil
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 21:51:16

    My prayers are with Shade and your family.


  2. Casterline Family
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 22:22:43

    I’m thinking of you guys every minute of the day and praying for Shade. You have all the love and support and best wishes of all the Casterlines in FL and CA. We are sending positive vibrations for Shades healing and recovery.


    • Shade's Progress
      Jul 18, 2011 @ 03:24:19

      Thanks all Casterlines, You guys know about struggle and you know about fighting against odds. Both our families have the fighting spirit that makes us survive. I know Shade is taking in all those positive vibes.


  3. Tami Ray Stueve
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 22:33:04

    St. Gerard, who, like the Savior, loved children so tenderly and by your prayers freed many from disease and even death, listen to us who are pleading for our sick child. We thank God for the great gift of Vince and AItza’s son and ask him to restore their child to health. This favor, we beg of you through your love for all children and mothers. Amen.


  4. Brett Bales
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 22:42:05

    We are praying for the whole family!!! We love you Shade buddy!!!! Anything we can do for you at home let us know. The Bales Family


  5. Julie Creus
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 22:54:48

    You have all of our prayers. Our love to all of you.


  6. Gonzalo
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 23:49:17

    Shade and his family are in our prayers here in Tallahassee. I know there’s not much many of us can do but know were there with you Edwin. Don’t hesitate to ask for anything.


  7. Jessica Bitterling
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 23:50:43

    Lot’s of Love and prayers!


  8. Alberto Ortiz
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 23:52:17

    Wishing Shade a successful recovery. My prayers go out to Edwin and the rest of his family. God bless.


  9. Gerardo A Lozano Camejo
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 00:01:08

    We are praying 4 allof you !!


  10. Cheri Godek
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 00:07:50

    I want all of you to know how much we love you and are thinking of you! As tough as it may be, stay strong and have faith that Shade will make a full a full recovery. He needs your positive vibes. We are sending you hugs and love!! If you need anything done here, please let me know.

    Cheri, Mike, Stephen, Justin, Kaitlyn


  11. Jodi Zadow
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 00:57:26

    I am so sorry for what you are all going through…again, give Shade a kiss for me and Mayan, too. We love you guys…let me know if you need anything…we are praying for Shade.


  12. Janice Mikolajczak
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 01:10:55

    I am devastated to hear this news about Shade!! I am praying for a healthy and speedy recovery for him as well as strength for your family!!! Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do for any of you!!!


    Janice Mikolajczak (Shade’s guidance counselor at Gotha)


  13. Greg Beardslee
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 01:13:57

    Our family is praying for yours. My heart breaks for you guys.
    Shade you are in our thoughts and prayers bud; Greg, Michelle, Nathan and Logan Beardslee.


  14. Phil Boyle
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 01:18:25

    Haven’t stopped thinking about you and the family since I heard about this. You know you have a strong support group so don’t hesitate to ask.


  15. Brenden Zadow-Hogan
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 01:18:58

    I hope Shade does all right and I miss him very much. I will pray every night for him to do better and let him get out of the hospital safely which I know he will


  16. Krista Markham
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 01:22:16

    We live you so much Shade!!! Jordan and Anna Catherine have asked everyone to pray for their cousin and have talked about how you always make them laugh!!! Can’t wait to see your smile and hear you laugh!!!


  17. Marcy Dyal
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 01:57:35

    Shade IS a beautiful and remarkable young man!! He has such a wonderful sense of humor, he kept me and the other students in his first period class entertained….. =) My thoughts and prayers are with him and you as you all go through this very difficult time.


  18. doclucky
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 02:14:49

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.


  19. Adam Hodges
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 02:35:01

    We are thinking about Shade, you, and your family and our hopes and thoughts go out to you.

    Be strong.


  20. Monique Cook
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 02:55:23

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Shade, and your family!


  21. Javier Rodriguez
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 02:57:10

    Primo (a) nosotros desde Maturin – Venezuela estamos con usedes no perdamos la fe y la esperanza por que nuestra VIRGEN DELVALLE nos hará el milagro!! Shade fuerza primo te queremos !!!Irene,Yrais,Mariana, Javier,Isabel


  22. Javier Rodriguez
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 03:00:09

    I cuz (to) us from Maturin – Venezuela are useded do not lose faith and hope that our Virgin DELVALLE will make us the miracle! Shade force Prime you want!Irene,Yrais,Mariana, Javier,Isabel


  23. Anne-Marie Linas
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 03:29:43

    GO SHADE! You are a fighter buddy! We are praying for you – please let know we will do whatever we can to help!


  24. Tracy Adams
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 03:30:21

    Hi, I am a friend of Darliena’s- Seliena was in my wedding. I will pray for your family. I worked on a brain injury unit for years and know about aneurysms and AVM’s. Your son survived the initial bleed and that alone has low success rates- Praise God. And his neuro exam sounded promising. Once People who experience bleeds are “outta the woods” they have a decent prognosis. They also improve much faster than an ischemic stroke. I have a good feeling about Shade’s recovery. Warm wishes for your family.


  25. Aura
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 04:34:54

    Aitza amiga, aqui estoy orando por ti y los tuyos en este momento de extrema dificultad. Que Jesus Cristo pose sus sagradas manos en la cabeza de tu bebe y en las manos de los doctores y enfermeras que lo asisten en este momento para que tenga una pronta y efectiva recuperacion y puedan regresar a casa. Un besito a Shade y a Mayan tambien, un abrazo muy fuerte a Vince y otro para Arianny. Te quiero mucho mi cometa! Llamame si necesitas cualquier cosa, estoy pendiente de ustedes.


  26. Valerie Burgess
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 05:06:44

    I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for Shade and a complete recovery. Children are special to our God and I know He is watching over him now. I pray for a peace that surpasses understanding for you and your family during this difficult time.


  27. Jackie Skipper
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 06:48:04

    What a nightmare. I will be praying for your precious little boy, Shade. God bless your family. My thoughts are definately with all of you.
    Jackie Skipper


  28. caroline polley
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 07:29:55

    Vince & Aitza, omg what a shock. Poor Shade, we are sending you all our love & prayers from all your family in England. Be positive, its the only way to be. God bless you all. Caroline and all the family xxxxx


  29. Thalya Cuilty
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:14:33

    I am so sorry to hear what ur beloved son is going threw. Ur son and ur family are in my thoughts, my heart goes out to u…I truly hope he survives and continues to share his life with u. Much love.


  30. Noelani
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 09:11:27

    My family and I are sending you and yours good thoughts and lots of prayers. Godspeed- Noelani


    • Shade's Progress
      Jul 18, 2011 @ 03:13:08

      Thanks so much, Noelani, for the support. It’s been an unbelievable, emotionally draining experience, but the thing that has really bolstered us is the immense support from friends and family. I don’t know how anyone could handle this without all the love and prayers from everyone. Thanks again.


  31. Raizza Borja
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 10:57:30

    I LOVE YOU!! !!

    Everything will be better soon! & ALL of us will be playing nerf gun wars at home again !!!

    Our Prayers will be answered !! God is Good, All the Time !

    Te ammo! ❤


  32. Jyll Bross
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 11:42:06

    We are keeping Shade in our thoughts and prayers! We will pray for your family’s continued strength to support him during these first days and recovery. You have such a large group of supporters praying for you all!


  33. Jake Stueve
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 11:47:31

    Hi Shade,

    Get well soon friend. I’m praying for you!


  34. jean curtice
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 12:33:39

    Shade, Mayan, Vince, Aitza, Efraim & Weda….. our prayers go out to you. Know that a world full of love and prayers are there for you. You are not alone. God Bless you and your family.

    Todd, Jean, Kira & Sam Curtice


  35. Kim Costello
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 12:43:41

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Kim Costello


  36. Kathleen Jensen
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 12:45:25

    We love you Shade! Get better and be patient as the healing process may take some time. Take it easy and we’re praying all day and everyday for you! Love you all, Kathleen, Sean, Nathan, Tristen, Jasmin & Vivian


  37. Eileen Boyle
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 13:45:43

    Our prayers, love and support are with you all! Please let us know if there is anything we can do! Shade is a strong boy and a fighter!


  38. Christina Kassabian
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 13:48:14

    I will be praying for Shade and for your families strength and courage to get through this .


  39. Kaye Brown
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 13:57:22

    God is still in the healing business and he continues to perform miracles. I have and will continue to pray for shade for God said that we are healed by his stripes. So, I declare that Shade is healed and he will have complete restoration. God Bless!

    Kaye Brown (Gotha Middle)


  40. christina morris
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 01:49:01

    Shade and your entire family are in our thoughts and prayers. He is such a positive young man and I have no doubt he will make a full recovery. Positive thoughts and prayers are heading your way.

    The Morris Family (Christina and Turner)_\


  41. Crystal Kaczor
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 02:56:18

    I just wanted to let all of you know that my mom and I are keeping Shade and all of you in our prayers. We are sending positive thoughts your way and hoping for the best! God is looking over all of you. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do, even the smallest of things. If Mayan needs a listening ear (or any of you do!) then feel free to give me a call. I am here for you! 407-592-4586. We love you!! Muchos besos.
    Crystal Kaczor


  42. Erin Elliott
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 04:06:48

    We are thinking and praying for a safe recovery for Shade! Please know that your family is in our thoughts and prayers. Stay strong!

    Erin Elliott
    Gotha Middle School


  43. Rebecca Morgan
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 03:55:29

    SHADE. Oh my gosh. I had just been thinkin’ about how much I miss you lately, and then I hear about this and I look at the website and just, oh my goodness, I can’t believe this, I ALWAYSsaid hai to you at school and i miss you with all my heart. I’m gonna pray for you tonight and everynight until you get better. I’ll make sure that my family does too. God bless you bby.<3 I'm sooo sorry, it's all gonna be okay, I have hope in you, just believe that it'll get better, that's what I'm doin' I miss u so much. And to shade's family, I can't imagine what your goin' through and im so sorry, I'll be praying that you guys stay strong. Your son will be in my prayers.<3 I love you shade.<3


    • Shade's Progress
      Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:36:23

      Thanks Rebecca. Shade will be back in the Gotha hallways soon. I’m sure of it.


      • Rebecca Morgan
        Jul 18, 2011 @ 21:50:20

        Your welcome, and good, I always used to give him hugs, so he needs to be at gotha next year and I know he will be, I just can’t wait to see his adorable face smilin’ at me again. I’ll keep praying until he’s better. God bless you all.<3

  44. bon
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 16:24:11

    Praying for Shade…


  45. roselyons
    Jun 07, 2013 @ 11:55:01

    Just found your blog – my son suffered a burst AVM on his right frontal lobe back in 2009, when he was 7 years old. He is still recovering, and the journey is slow, but it is amazing how resilient the brain is, and how heroic kids can be. I will be following your story – thanks for sharing.


  46. NYHunter
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 19:19:06

    I just happened on this page when searching for pics of Rome, and wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you!


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