Luke’s Brain Surgery and Recovery
WARNING: There is a somewhat graphic photo of Luke’s surgery scar toward the bottom of the post. I don’t think it is too bad, but if you are extra sensitive to stuff like that, just scroll by quickly. haha!!
It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks, for sure!
Luke had his brain surgery, and we are so thankful that everything went well!!! But I wanted to share a recap of his surgery with you here on the blog because you all have been so supportive and kind through all of this. Your prayers and thoughts were felt and appreciated more than you will ever know!
Luke and I arrived at 6:30 am on Wednesday, February 9th to Vanderbilt Medical Center’s neurology department. He was scheduled for an angiogram/embolization at 8:30 that morning. This is the procedure where they would go in through a vein in his wrist, all the way up to the AVM in his brain and basically “glue” the blood vessels shut. They do this to lesson the amount off blood flow during the removal surgery the following day.
Here is Luke before that procedure..
This kid is always so positive and happy! He’s always looking on the bright side of things and makes us all laugh even during stressful moments.
That procedure took about three hours, and it went well. However, the doctor informed us that they were not able to get ALL of the blood vessels glued shut like they had hoped. He also informed us that some of the large blood vessels were connected to the motor part of his brain which would make removal of the AVM a little trickier. All that being said, they felt that they were in a good position to do the surgery the following morning and told Luke to get some rest.
Cy was working and watching the rest of the kids at home, but was going to join us early the next morning for Luke’s big surgery.
Luke was feeling pretty good and in good spirits, but all the IV lines going in to his arm was uncomfortable. He had one in the other arm as well.
Those moments with him in the hospital are ones I will never forget. Just me and my boy. Good conversations and precious memories. Moments like those are when nothing else seems to matter. I was soaking up every second with him.
My nerves were pretty high, but as moms, we put up a brave front for our kids. I slept in his room the night before the surgery, but didn’t sleep very well. I was battling my mind as it went back and forth between feelings of worry and feelings of Peace. I had to continually surrender Luke to the Lord and lay him at His feet. And God was so faithful to be near us both right there in that hospital room.
Around 5:00 the next morning (Thursday,) one of the nurses from the Neuro team came in with new consent forms for Luke to sign. They had added Dr. Reed Thompson to the surgery team. Dr. Chitale was scheduled to do the surgery, and they added Dr. Thompson. So we had the two top neuro doctors at Vandy working on my son’s brain. I was relieved to know that, but of course worried as to why they added a second doctor? Was Luke’s surgery going to be more difficult than they originally thought? Was Luke at a higher risk for complications?
Again, this mama’s brain began to worry, and I had to keep praying and asking God to give me peace.
They came and got Luke a little earlier for his surgery that morning, and I was afraid Cy wasn’t going to get there in time, but I was so relieved when I saw him walking down the hall.
My stomach was a nervous wreck, but I felt so much better having Cy there with me, and so did Luke. Cy is our rock and strength here on earth.
I could tell that Luke was a little more quiet, probably a little more nervous. The reality of knowing that doctor’s would be cutting into his skull had to be a lot to digest.
(They marked the side of Luke’s head that his AVM was on.)
The few moments before they wheeled him off to surgery were the hardest for me to hold it together. I was fighting back tears and swallowing extra hard to try and keep my brave face on for Luke.
And then I looked up to see Cy with his hand on Luke’s head praying over him, and the tears began to flow. At that moment, I felt like I could have gone into a full-on loud ugly cry, but I held it back. I wiped the tears from my eyes and tried to put on a smile for Luke.
And although I almost didn’t take a picture this moment, I am glad I did. I did it because I wanted to show it to Luke, and for it to always be a reminder to Him that God is our source of strength.
When it was time for them to take Luke, we gave him hugs, and kisses on his forehead, and told him we will see him soon. And then he was slowly rolled down the hall with nurses on each side. My heart felt frozen for a few seconds, and then Cy put his arm around me and said it was going to be okay.
Then we walked back to Luke’s neuro room and waited.
Prep for the surgery began around 7:30 am. They told us the surgery could be anywhere from 6-8 hours. It was going to be a long day.
We stayed in his room for a couple hours and then walked down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. I wasn’t hungry at all, but Cy likes to eat when he’s nervous. haha! So he got some food, and I just got something to drink.
Then we went back up to Luke’s room and stayed there the rest of the day. Every couple of hours, one of the nurses in the surgery room would call us and keep us updated on the progress. Each time she told us that Luke was stable and doing well, and that the doctors were pleased with how everything was going.
I am SO thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses at Vandy! They were above amazing!
About 4:30 that afternoon, we got the best call ever! The surgery was over, and Luke did great! The nurse told us that we would be able to see Luke in the next hour or so.
When they finally wheeled my sweet boy into the room, I could hardly contain my joy! Of course, he was out of it, but he could hear us and knew we were there. And I thought he looked great to have just had brain surgery!
After the anesthesia began to wear off, he was able to sit up and talk to us. The nurses kept coming in to check his vitals and ask him questions like “What’s your name?” and “”What hospital are you in?” to check his cognitive abilities.
We couldn’t believe how alert he was! Here is a screenshot I took of a video on my phone…
He actually face-timed many family and friends within hours of his surgery! It was crazy!
But then he got tired and slept for a long time. He slept pretty good that night, but the nurses had to come in hourly throughout the night to wake him up and check on him.
Friday morning, the physical therapy team came and had Luke walk around the hallways and walk up some stairs to see how his motor skill were working. They were AMAZED with how great he did! He actually walked up more steps that they asked him to.
I spent the day with Luke in his room, he called a lot of his friends, we watched some t.v., and we walked the halls together. The nurses continued to check on him and give him pain medication. Luke was doing SO GOOD!
Early Saturday morning, one of the doctors came in and removed Luke’s head wrap.
*GRAPHIC PICTURE WARNING*
The scar made my knees weak, but it also wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
The doctors said his hair will grow over it, and we will hardly be able to notice it.
Luke continued to do well Saturday, and the doctors let us know that they believed he was okay to go home that day. He took a shower that afternoon because the doctor said he could let water run over the scar. Luke was so glad he could finally take a shower.
We casually gathered things up and then left the hospital late in the afternoon.
MAN! It felt so good to be home!
Luke’s next appointment is March 8th for a check up, and then they said he will have an MRI in about 6 months to check everything out and make sure that every healed well.
Until then, he is to take it easy, but should be back to regular activities in a couple more weeks. At that time, he will fly back to LA where he is living. (That’s when you need to stop praying for him and pray for ME!!!! haha! I’m gonna miss him SO MUCH after having such much time with him this past month.).
Here he is a couple of days ago with a fresh new fade and some legos that someone sent him in the mail to pass some time. :)
He’s my little miracle boy. LOVE HIM SO MUCH!
Again, thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement throughout this trying time in our family. We appreciate you more than you will ever know!
What wonderful news!!!! God is so good!!
As reading your post I kept crying—as I am a mother and I know how much we all love our children and never want to see them sick or hurting. But you are such a fantastic mother— and family —and praise god as to his healing— and successful surgery. :-)
Prayers for continued healing and thank you for sharing! Luke looks fantastic! God bless you !
God answers prayers, It took me about 3 tries to read your post I couldn’t see because of the tears. Thank you for posting and giving all the glory to God for being with Luke and bringing him through this surgery. God Bless yall and I will keep Luke and yall in my prayers. 🙏
I’ve been praying 🙏!!
WOW Traci…..I was good reading this UNTIL you started talking about Cy and you all praying for him before he went into surgery…….I just cried. These are the moments the Lord really blesses us and we know he’s with us. I cannot imagine my life without having the Lord in it.
I loved your story and Love your Family……I feel like I’m part of your family❤️
I am in tears reading this and praising God for His goodness and care for all of you! So many of us were wondering about the surgery. I was checking this blog to see if I missed anything. Thanks for letting us know. I’m overjoyed to hear things went so well. May his healing be quick….(already sounds like it is!!!) and complete. May your Mama’s heart remember the loving care of Jesus of this times and trust Him even more in the days to come. Enjoy every minute!!
hey girl- I have been praying that everything went well. So happy it did! God is so good!!
So happy surgery went well. Praying for healthy healing. God hold this family in your arms, they are the best!!
Thank you for sharing his journey. One of the hardest things is watching doctors & nurses wheel your child down the hall into surgery. My eyes teared up as I read your post. ( I was recalling a similar time with my girl). So glad Luke is doing so well! Praising God for His hand of healing, peace and comfort for your entire family 🙏🏻🤗
Oh Traci!!! The picture of Cy kneeling beside Luke with his hands on him, praying over his boy just brought me to tears! What a picture of tender fatherly love! Made me think of Christ praying for us!!! Praising the Lord with you and for the healing of Luke! This will all be part of “Luke’s story” and testimony of Christ’s faithfulness…and part of your story too, as his momma!
Traci, your tremendous faith in God is always an inspiration for me. I am truly in awe of what the doctors have done for Luke and I wish him well on his recovery. Your family’s faith and trust in God will get you through this. Thank you for sharing Luke’s story.
PRAISE GOD! I am so happy for you all. Glad that Luke is doing well. Prayers for continued healing. Love and God bless.
Traci……..God is Good. He has watched over and Blessed your son and your Family! Blessings to all of you.
Thanks for this post Traci! While I am not a mother, I teared up reading this because it brought back memories of when I had my brain surgery in 2007. Like Luke, my faith kept me at peace and got me through the months of recovery. I can only imagine how much all of you, but especially you, will miss Luke when he heads back to LA. It sounds like he will have the follow-up MRI in CA. He just needs to find good work in his field closer to TN! 😉. Prayers will continue as he continues to fully heal and return to life s he knew it before last Dec.
This post brought tears to my eyes. So happy for your son that his surgery went well. God bless you all!
Oh man. What you guys have been going through, I can’t imagine but God gave you the grace to get through it. This was an emotional read but I am so thankful Luke is doing well. God is so good!!
Your story made me cry as well. So thankful everything went so well. You are such wonderful parents and your faith is real. God was with you through every second of this scary journey! Blessings on your sweet family.
I realize I’m not a Dr but just curious about Luke flying so soon. I worked for a major airline for 30 years and there are certain procedures after a passenger has had major surgery. If this hasn’t been discussed, please check with the surgeon.
I’m so very grateful that God has answered all of our prayers and we can affirm again His faithfulness. It’s so dang hard to see your child wheeled off to surgery…I’ve experienced it. Your post caused my eyes to leak but that’s no problem! 😁
Continued prayers for all of you and especially for Luke’s healing.
I am so glad that the surgery went well. I was praying for Luke (& his parents) and am continuing to pray for his recovery. God is good – all the time!!!
What an amazing blessing that Luke is doing so well!! God is so faithful and prayer is so powerful-our lifeline to Him! You all are such an amazing family and a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness! Thank you, thank you for sharing with all the prayer warriors of this incredible journey! Prayers for Luke’s continued healing and for your peace as he leaves for California! Blessings!!
Traci, Thank you for the update! Y’all have been in my prayers this week. I’m so glad to be able to offer prayers of thanksgiving and praise now!
Crying over here!! Thanks for sharing all of this and letting us be a part of the prayer team!! You and your family are amazing. God Bless Luke.
God is good. I am so thankful everything went well for Luke. I have been waiting every day to see if you had written a post on Luke. I was getting kind of anxious myself. I will continue to pray for Luke and your family. God Bless you all.
Praises..Love..Blessings..Thank You Lord Jesus for Answered Prayers..So Very Very Thrilled To Read This Today..I’ve Checked Your Page Several times waiting to get this update…What A Mighty & Awesome God We Serve..My Love & Prayers Continue..
What an emotional read. I reread it to my husband after I first read it. He is in the medical field so I’ve kept him informed on Luke. Praise God for his love and provisions through it all. So happy Luke is doing so well. What a precious picture of Cy praying over him by his bedside. You will treasure that picture and the memories forever. As will Luke. Thank you for such a detailed update. I’ve been praying all along, but have been wondering how it all went. Bless you and your family. I agree with the other lady who mentioned about Luke flying so soon. I’m sure you have it all under control but please check with his surgeon. So much head pressure while flying. Love to your family. Prayers will continue.
So glad everything went well. How scary it must have been to watch him go off to surgery. Prayers for continued healing.
Praising God for what he has done in your son’s life. May he continue to work miracles in his recovery. Miracle still happen! May Gid continue to bless you!
My heart was so touched as I read your post that I just cried my eyes out! I am a mother of 2 adult sons and totally understand your mother’s heart cherishing your time with Luke. I too know that God is the ultimate healer and miracle worker. Aren’t we just so blessed to be under the umbrella of His great love! Thank you for using this platform as a way to bring glory to the Lord! am thankful for you, Cy, and your family and am continuing to pray special blessings upon all of you.
I’m so happy to hear everything went well! I was shocked when this came up and remembered him in my prayers every day. I believe in the power of prayer. Best wishes to you all and especially to Luke on a quick recovery.
PRAIDE GOD! Cried as I read this. What an amazing testimony. It touched my heart so much. Thank you for the update and will pray for continued healing and good news on future check ups and tests.
Praise GOD! Thank YOU, LORD, for the successful surgery and for saving this young man’s life. Bless this family and the medical staff involved. We give YOU all the glory, ABBA FATHER!!!
Oh God, the glory is all yours! Our Lord is good all the time.
Oh, my goodness, I felt your “momma’s heart” the entire time I read this post. I am soooo glad Luke did so well and is on the road to recovery. AND, I will be praying for you as he returns to CA. Oh, my, that’s tough. The Lord will continue to use Luke and his testimony for the furtherance of His kingdome’s work. Keep us posted and may you feel rested and restored in the days ahead.
I’ve been wondering how he was doing. So good to see an update with good news. Continued prayers and blessings.
So thankful that Luke’s surgery went well and he is recovering well. God is so good!
Traci, I am praising Jesus for this miracle! I have been praying for Luke and I prayed for you to feel Christ’s peace during the surgery. I will continue to pray for the Lord to make Luke stronger than ever. I believe that Jesus has an awesome calling for Luke’s life.
Man, chills all over me. I’m going through some rough times too, and just prayed that Luke will heal and be just fine. I haven’t seen any of your blogs lately, so I didn’t even know he had anything wrong. Was it a tumor. He’s such a handsome guy and I just love you , and love to read about you and your family. Hoping for good health to follow him.