March 8, 2015
Dear Family and Friends,
Two years ago today I began a most unexpected journey. I had no idea that what I thought was a pinched nerve somewhere would instead be emergency spinal surgery, multiple hospitalizations, two years and counting of rehab, and yet another life changing experience. I didn’t know what I was in for, until I was in for it.
We apologize for being out of touch for the past two years. It’s been a busy and very productive time. As I write this, I am driving myself around, am back at work, and leading an independent life. Which was the goal. Well, one of them. I still have work to do.
I was out walking yesterday, alone, which at one time was at the top of my list of goals and is now a regular activity, thinking about the journey that I have been on for these past two years. Exercise and rehab, rehab and exercise, all day, every day. I must say, it feels great when people stop me at the gym and elsewhere to tell me how much better I am walking than before. That helps. A lot.
What has also helped, beyond measure, beyond words, has been the humbling amount of support we have received from all of you. You have fed us, helped us with the incredible cost of medical care, helped us maintain our home, and above all, made sure that we knew we were not alone; you have carried us. I cannot say it enough. Thank you. Every day, thank you.
Now that I am more independent, Erika is able to work, find a little time for herself here and there, and is enjoying the fact that I can drive myself around and participate more in our daily family life. Kathryn has been amazing. She has quietly maintained her middle school existence amid all the uncertainty at home.
And so this new life goes on, shaped by this experience, by your love, support, and generosity, and with yet another new perspective. Thank you for being a part of this journey.
Paul Stratz underwent emergency
spinal surgery at Stanford on March 8 to relieve compression caused by sudden inflammation of his spinal
cord. After many days at Stanford, and acute rehab at Valley Medical in San Jose, where he spent 2
1/2 weeks getting stronger, Paul returned home on Tues., April 2. Unfortunately, his time at home was cut short due to worsening symptoms, and Paul was readmitted to Stanford on
April 3. Under the care of the Stanford neurology team, Paul underwent
many tests to help figure out the cause of his inflamed spinal cord. He
also received a new treatment, plasma pheresis. Even after
numerous tests, the doctors are still perplexed and don't have a diagnosis.
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On April 15, he moved to the
acute rehab center at the Davies Campus of California Pacific Medical
Center (CPMC) in San Francisco to build strength and learn adaptive skills to help compensate for some loss of
function from his inflamed spinal cord. Seven long weeks after the start of his journey, Paul was finally discharged on April 25th
and the Stratz family was finally home
together! At-home recovery, OT and PT began, but unfortunately Paul's
immune system continues to attack his spinal cord and Paul was forced to
return to Stanford Hospital for 10 days, and is now at CPMC in San
Francisco again. Doctors continue to attempt to solve
the mystery of the inflamed spinal cord.
doctors and the Stratz family
remain optimistic that Paul will recover over time, but they NEED YOUR
Paul is not able to work, and Erika is only able to work a bit and
spends most of her days at Stanford or in the city with Paul. Each time
Paul returns home, he requires
full time help; they have hired a caregiver to assist, but that of
comes at a cost.
Please join us in making life a little easier for Paul, Erika and the Stratz family by taking
finances out of the worry equation as they continue to struggle through this