Very discouraging news about Matthew’s nerve treatment options

Today Matthew had his nerve testing (EMG) and consultation with the team of doctors at UCSF. Unfortunately, the tests showed that all the nerves for his shoulder and arm were torn out of the spinal cord so that there is nothing they can do. They will not do the nerve transfer surgery that we were hoping for. In essence, as far as they are able to determine, there is nothing that can be done; Matthew will never have the use of his left shoulder and arm.

This is devastating news since we were expecting that the next step for Matthew would be a nerve transfer to help restore at least some movement to his shoulder and arm.

There is another procedure (nerve reimplantation), which is experimental and is not performed widely. We have been researching this from the time of the accident but have not as yet found it to be available. We do have a meeting lined up to get advice from another UCSF surgeon, and we have submitted an inquiry to a doctor at Stanford who does perform the surgery. We will wait to hear back from them, as well as continue to look into a couple more places where this surgery might be performed (Mayo Clinic, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Kansas).

They took the sutures out of his amputation site today and we are very thankful that it is healing well. It will still need to have a daily dressing and ace-bandage change for another week.

Today we also met with a prosthetist who measured Matthew for a sling-type device that will support his shoulder as well as provide some protection to his arm to prevent him from cutting, burning, or bruising himself there since he has no feeling. This sling should be ready next week, just in time for when his bandage can be removed.

Due to the coronavirus travel ban, Pamala, Daniel, and Ariela will not be able to use our tickets through Germany to travel back to the States April 3rd as we had planned. Their trip is on hold at the moment until we see how the ban plays out, but it looks like they will not be able to travel to the US until late April or in May.

Also, due to the coronavirus in Europe, Kirsten’s school (BFA) in Germany will stop holding classes on Tuesday, and the students will then be doing their classwork online and out of the classroom. We are planning to fly her back to Croatia Tuesday to be at home with Pam to do her studies and for her upcoming Spring Break. She will need to be quarantined at our house in Croatia for 14 days.

So here are some prayer requests:

  1. Praise God that Matthew’s amputation site is healing well, and his pain has been lower.
  2. Pray his pain will decrease more and more, and that he can be weaned off the opioids he has had to take.
  3. Pray for God to lead and guide, open and close doors, and give supernatural wisdom to and openness from other surgeons at other hospitals for nerve reimplantation surgery for Matthew.
  4. Pray for grace, strength, comfort, and courage for Matthew (and our whole family) at this extremely discouraging news that he will not have by nerve transfer surgery.
  5. Pray for Pam and the kids to be able to return to the States in God’s timing, not be held up by the travel ban, and that we would not lose the use of our airline tickets, which we have already changed once.
  6. Pray we can get Kirsten out of Germany into Croatia, that she will be allowed to come to our home in Croatia without special quarantine requirements and for wisdom and God’s will for when she returns to BFA in light of the coronavirus.

Thank you for your prayers,

Todd (for all of us)

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