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Four Times Daily

Well hello everyone. I apologize for the delay in publishing an update on my most recent surgery…

A lot has happened since I last wrote. As you know, I was going in for surgery to begin the arduous process of growing the bone in my right arm. When I woke up from surgery I was in severe pain (probably the worst since my initial injuries) but was told that the operation had gone well. The external frame that wraps around my arm consists of five steel plates, and about 20 bolts/pins drilled into my arm.  In addition, there are ten “spacers” that I need to turn four times daily in order to gradually lengthen the bone.

While the head doctor was pleased with the outcome of the surgery, I was dismayed to discover that my radial nerve had been damaged during the surgery. This means that I can neither bend my wrist nor extend my fingers…very frustrating.  I now require a splint to hold my hand up. That said… the doctors are optimistic that over time I will regain mobility in my hand/wrist, and now, three weeks after the surgery, I’ve noticed slight improvement.

Greg with Arm Brace

The new arm brace will support bone growth

The initial pain has subsided, but normal movements throughout the day cause significant pain as the pins tug and tear against my tissue.  As a result, I’ve started to explore alternative pain management options, such as acupuncture and meditation. The bulky frame makes even the simplest movements a chore (see the attached photo) but if this is what needs to be done to get my arm to a better place, then so be it. I’ve already had my first follow-up appointment, and so far, the doctors are pleased with my progress.

In other news, my girlfriend Summer had to leave, in order to pursue career opportunities, and possibly grad school down the road. My Mom, Joan, has taken over as my non-medical attendee (NMA) and she’s doing an outstanding job with the overwhelming task of helping me.

I continue to strive to regain more and more independence as the days go on.  I’ve started wearing prosthetics liners, which is the first step to getting fitted for the “stubbies” on which I’ll learn to walk again.It’s a bumpy road with both successes and setbacks, but irrespective of the challenges, I’m slowly improving.  Today, for example, I started pushing my manual wheelchair with the steel frame on my right arm. I move slowly, but this inspires hope in me that I might be able to get a power-assisted wheelchair in the months ahead.  That would mean I push on the wheels, triggering a motor to push me further and faster along. It is to hopes like this that I cling in order to get through my days.

Again, I am sorry for having left everyone hanging with no knowledge of my wellbeing for the last few weeks.  I hope this letter brings you up to speed on my recovery.  As always, thanks for each and everyone’s support. Every little bit helps in a major way.  My love to you all.

-Greg

9 Comments
  1. Martina #

    Hi Greg, thanks for posting the update on the surgery and your recovery. We’re glad you’re taking the time you need to heal yourself instead of posting updates – we’re thinking about you and praying for you always and hope you’re able to find peace each day despite the pain you’re feeling. Please send our love to your mom, too!

    Love,
    Martina, Greg, and Helena

    November 1, 2011
  2. Eva #

    Greg, your arm looks so swollen! When was that picture taken? I’m so glad to hear that you are getting some mobility back to your right hand, and that you are getting ready for the stubbies! As always, you are our hero and we love you lots. Love, Eva

    November 1, 2011
  3. Robb and Patty Tarpey #

    Greg,
    Thank you for your update. We think of you often throughout the day. Know that you are loved and cared about by us and countless family and friends.
    Love,
    Robb and Patty Tarpey

    November 2, 2011
  4. Letitia #

    Greg:

    Thank you for sharing your progress. We care very much.
    That arm brace looks pretty scary, but its good to know it’s helping you make progress towards recovery. You’re always in our thoughts and prayers.

    Love, Letitia

    November 2, 2011
  5. Ouja #

    Greg,
    All the best in your recovery. You’ll get there before you know it, and we all can’t wait for that to happen! I think of you often. Thank you for all that you do and have done. What you’ve been able to endure is more than many of us could ever handle. Sending you strength, and hoping that time goes by really fast as your body recovers quickly.
    Regards,
    Ouja

    November 6, 2011
  6. Mary Olsen #

    Greg, a good acupuncturist can work wonders with pain management. Bio feedback and meditation are also a good alternatives. Thinking of you often and sending love to you and the family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

    November 10, 2011
  7. Leanda #

    You are in my prayers.

    Regards

    Leanda

    November 15, 2011
  8. Lee Hilliard #

    Greg,
    Have been getting updates from Mr. Thurz and sending thoughts & prayers your way.

    Just found out last night about the website and certainly appreciate the intell. Nice arm brace.

    Wishing you great bone growth (should you be eating oyster shells?) and an above-average recovery time. Get better every day!

    Semper Gumby (learned from a Marine),
    Lee Hilliard

    November 16, 2011
  9. Elizabeth Flanagan - O'Donnell #

    Hi Greg- I recently had cervical disc surgery similar to Peyton Manning, My second within 6 months since I did not get the mobility back on my right side of my body where the broken discs were impinging on my nerves.
    They enter through the front of your neck and my incision was grossly swollen for 4 weeks-I didn’t need a Halloween costume. I had also lost functioning in my right hand due to the disc problems. My mobility is slowly but surely coming back. When I do too much it sets me back so I have to pace myself-
    The pain meds are so easy to use but are a problem as our body becomes addicted even when it is not needed(at least that was my case) I had to dispose of them quickly when the major pain subsided.
    I thought of you often as I went through all the various procedures. You were my inspiration! Take care and I hope to see you at Pat and Eva’s celebrating our nephews’ accomplishments.
    Elizabeth

    November 16, 2011

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