Plastic brain

I didn’t mention that yesterday was the five-month anniversary of Shade’s traumatic brain injury. Wow! Time moves so quickly. Time moves so slowly. Everyday, Shade sees improvements. More new memories are sticking. His balance is getting a bit better. It’s not fast enough for me, but I’ve always had an impatient streak. I think microwaves cook too slowly.

What’s remarkable is the plasticity of the brain. Neural paths that are damaged do not regrow, but the brain has the ability to reroute the paths. It’s similar to taking an alternate route to work when the highway is closed down. It may require some extra time and they might lead to some dead ends, but eventually the brain can find a new path to its goal. It seems the rerouting is more efficient and effective when there is a true need, desire or impression. That’s why Shade can remember things about his cat or a toy he wants for Christmas or the reason behind the painful cuts in his head (Gamma Knife Halo) but he can’t recall what day it is. Info about the day has no real relevance in his life. It’s extraneous information. But pain, love and Christmas longing forge their way into the memory.

Talking about the ability of the brain, I don’t know if your remember back when Shade was first in the hospital and there was a young girl, Maggie, who was in a car accident and had severe head trauma. She was in a much worse state than Shade, and her mom, Angie, was told that Maggie had no brain activity and would probably never wake up, that she would be a vegetable for life. Well, she’s now talking. It’s only about 10 words, but she’s awake and aware. Maggie has a huge journey ahead of her, but she’s taken a few steps in the right direction. When we were in the hospital and Angie was relaying the desperate and tragic details of her daughter, Aitza kept repeating the same thing to her. “Never give up.” And Angie kept the faith and now her daughter is coming back to her.

We keep the faith that Shade will fully recover. He’s built up some great momentum. I’m excited for the day when he can take his first steps alone, or run again, or hop on a bike. It’s like being a new dad. I know it’s coming soon. Just not soon enough.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle and Ivan Diaz
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 06:33:55

    Amazing recovery! We continue to pray for Shade and will now add Maggie to our list!

    Reply

  2. Dobson Family
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 22:23:30

    Wonderful post, Vince!!! Love you guys!

    Reply

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