On May 17 2020 at just 39 years old my husband of 16 years, Brian had a large complete stroke in the left side of his brain. He was on his way to work but never made it out of the garage. When I found him in his car he had a terrified look on his face not able to talk or move the right side of his body. As an ICU nurse I just knew. He had sat there for 3 hours before I found him .
Once at Frederick Health the clot was found and he was urgently sent to University of Maryland Medical Center to have it removed. After he arrived via helicopter to UMMC the team there decided not to do surgery since flow was now present to his brain. He went to the Neuro ICU where he stayed for almost 2 weeks. He had multiple tests done to monitor his brain, had an arterial line, central line and, nasogastric tube because he couldn't swallow, tube feedings, IVF, IV medicine to elevate his blood pressure to profuse the brain and oral medications as well. He could only say yes or no at best. For unknown reasons it was found that Brian dissected or had a "tear" in his left carotid artery and vertebral artery. His right carotid artery was found to be abnormal as well. The culprit of the stroke was a clot from the clot that formed in his left carotid and went to his Middle Cerebral Artery. He eventually left the ICU and downgraded to an IMC. After a few days he was discharged to University of Maryland Rehab and Orthopedic Institute. He was only at UMROI (rehab) for 4 1/2 days. Physically he did very well. However, Brian can't talk like you and I. The part of his brain effected by the stroke was the epicenter of his language. He has a significant case of aphasia and apraxia He has Trouble speaking and moving his mouth to form words (the right side of his face droops and is numb.) He has trouble communicating his needs and wants. Communication is choppy and frustrating for him. He came home with orders for 24 hour care due to his lack of ability to communicate. He can't be left alone
I struggled to cope with what was happening. Brian was healthy and active. He loved hiking, riding our peloton, taking the kids fishing, playing tennis and the beach.Brian is strong, genuine, hardworking , caring and so much more. He is a Career man. He loves his job and being a chef. The stroke has tried to take that away too His right hand is weak and lacks sensation in his index finger and thumb. His goal since first day of rehab is to go back to work. He never asks anything of anyone that he won’t do or hasn’t done. He is a great husband. He not only is young but has two young children 6 and 9 years old. His children adore him. It took a few conversations before Brian came home with them to explain that Daddy isn't the same. He looks like Daddy but won’t talk like him.
Everything is now my responsibility. Physically now he can do almost everything but he can’t communicate well. My insurance only covers two sessions a week of both speech therapy and occupational therapy. He is loved by so many. I began a FB page called Brian Strong when this happened and it is at 512 members.
We are now transitioning into our new normal. We have follow up visits and therapy twice a week which takes about an hour for us to get to. He has needed to follow up with cardiology (heart) since his aortic trunk was found to be mildly dilatated, he had to find a new PCP, and of course neurology (brain). He also had to see a Cardiogenetics doctor ( does genetic testing.) No one knows why this happened to Brian. One thought is he has a genetic connective tissue disorder. Which one is unknown and during his exam he didn't fit into any one disorder so he will have to do DNA testing in the next couple weeks. He is also still on oral blood pressure medicine to keep his pressure up which is not good for someone with connective tissue disorder.
This Go Fund Me is to help cover the medical expenses and sustain us as we continue on the journey to recovery. It is hard to ask for help because Brian and I are always the Givers. However, now that medical bills are starting to come in it is apparent our funds will be absorbed very quickly. He still has more testing, doctor visits and rehabilitation ahead of him. I am buying equipment as he improves to use with him at home for rehabilitation. I'm home with him now doing his therapy so I have no income coming in at this time due to him not being able to stay alone and the extra home therapy needed. He has some income but it does not cover our mortgage and bills during this time. This money will be used to sustain our everyday life as well and try to keep things stable for our children while we fight for recovery.
Every gift, no matter how small is a blessing. We are saying thank you in advance and will keep our community updated. Please do not think that you have nothing to offer. We are just as grateful for prayers!
I can't help but be amazed by the testimony that is unfolding in front of me everyday. God is writing a story of his healing hands- The Great Physician. Thank you again for your support!!
- Amy Dupler
- Sarah Clary
- Jessica Brewer