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February 12, 2007

Uma Update

The latest from Erik:

Lots of scary activity today, which ended with the doctor telling us: "You need to have hope, that's all you can do." So that's the message I'm sending out right now. Please be hopeful and strong and positive and send out huge healing vibes into Uma's brain.

I tried to take good notes when the doctor was giving today's update and hopefully this will all make sense:

The doctors did an angiogram and a CAT Scan this morning to get a better understanding of where Uma was at with her blood drainage and healing, etc., and they saw that she'd had a "rather large spasm" in her left middle cerebral artery territory, which would indicate that she'd had a stroke. As a result of this spasm, there is a dense area of blood where her blood vessels have clamped down and closed.

There's no way to tell when this stroke might have occurred--there were no indications of stroke activity the last time they did a CAT Scan (I'm not sure when that was exactly) and they do neurological tests throughout the day, every day, and none of those tests have ever indicated stroke activity. So they assume that if she did indeed have a stroke, it must have occurred recently, perhaps this morning.

After discovering this stroke possibility, they treated her with angioplasty--which opens up the blood vessels that were closed by the spasm she had.

And now we wait.

Tomorrow morning they will do another CAT Scan to see if the angioplasty fixed the spasm. That's when they'll be able to confirm definitively whether or not she's had a stroke. If blood supply has returned to the area where she had the spasm, and if her tissue in that area is regenerating and alive (I think the word they used was "revitalized"), that would mean the angioplasty was successful. If the tissue in that area is dead, I think that will confirm that she did have a stroke, the outcome of which the doctor said would be poor (affecting her speech, affecting her strength on the right side of her body). I think this is when he said the thing about hope being the only thing we have right now.

I choose to focus on this idea of hope, rather than any idea of "poor" anything. I refuse to waste any energy on fear or sadness right now. 'Eff that. We need to focus all our freaking energy on Uma. We will not know anything until tomorrow morning. There is a possibility that she did NOT have a stroke, there is a possibility for huge healing and blood flow and tissues regenerating. There's nothing we can know definitively until tomorrow morning, so we need to focus on these possibilities, on these hopes.

Reasons to be positive:
1. As recently as this morning, the nurses have said that she "continues to improve neurologically."
2. The blood in her brain continues to drain.
3. There is no new bleeding, no new hemorrhaging.
4. This morning she was moving her right arm--a very good sign.
5. Last night, when John and I were alone with Uma, I saw her looking directly at John. It truly felt like she was seeing him. John held up her engagement ring and told her he was looking forward to getting married to her, and her eyes focused on the ring and followed it, and then she squeezed his hand. We were so high last night from this interaction. She's in there.

Please keep Uma in your thoughts today and tonight. We really need tomorrow's CAT Scan to give us good news. Hope, pray, dance, vandalize, do whatever you gotta do, just send some strong freakin' love to Uma.

Lots of love to all of you,


Here's John's email, which I think describes some of the medical stuff more clearly, and which reinforces the call for hope that we need right now:


this morning i had an hour alone with uma at 8 am. she
seemed a bit agitated. she was moving her left
hand/arm and leg a lot but her eyes were open and
moving. i really couldn't tell if she was aware of
much. i spoke to her and held her hand much as i've
done the last few days. her left wrist is tied to the
bed so that she can't pull at her tracheostomy. i
asked her if she would like to touch my face and
leaned down and put her hand flat on the right side of
my face. she didn't grab for it like she was grabbing
for my hand. she touched and caressed my face. i
really don't know what this means but it was an
unfogettable moment for me. i reallly thought i felt
later, she was really grabbing my hand alot and at
times shit knit her brow and her mouth moved as if in
some pain. i showed her her ring again and her eyes
followed it again. at about 9 they needed to prep her
for movement to the follow-up angiogram so i went to
the waiting room.
a few hours later dr. jamuna came in to tell nithi
(the rest of us had gone for coffee) that he thinks
she has had a stroke and they are working hard on it.
he said it would be about 45 minutes before he could
come back. then he quickly went back to the operating
we waited. we wait.
about 3 hours later dr. jamuna came back and told us
she very much appears to have had a stroke originating
from her left, middle cerebral artery. this is a major
blood vessle supplying the entire left side of the
brain. the were able to 'balloon' or open the vessel
to re-infuse that part of the brain but he said the
radiologist is fairly certain the area is dead.
they are not able to tell when the stroke occurred
(if indeed it ends up being a full stroke which they
won't know 'till tomorrow morning's catscan). but just
this morning she was still responding with an even
greater 'crispness' in her right arm/hand and leg and
just yesterday she moved her right leg again. the
neurological signs do not add up to stroke which the
doctor said was a hopeful sign. also good is that
there is no new bleeding in the area fo the aneurysm
or bleeding in the 'stroke' area.
if her brain accepts the infusion of blood she will
overcome this stroke. if it does not, the right side
of her body and her speech will have a very poor
honestly, this news made me feel like i was just
being slaughtered here in this city so far from my
home. as i was walking back to the apartment to take a
break and re-group i was talking to my dad about all
of this. we spoke of the role of will power in prayer
and whether or not it makes any difference etc. if
one is to surrender one's will to God, release and let
go, then why 'want' anything at all? but for people
who believe in this we should assume that there is a
relationship between us and the divine that would not
be fed at all if we were robots. if we stand for love
and against everything that is not love we should be
confident that we're praying for the right thing.
as i'm talking to him on my cell phone i'm navigating
the crowded streets here in manhattan. today, for some
reason, a lot of people seemed to be just barely
missing me or hindering my forward progress. finally,
as i was about 3 doors down from the the apartment
entrance, a woman coming my way crossed over in front
of me to look at a hand bad in a shop window. i had to
stop suddenly and go around. for those of you who know
me well you understand how much will power it took for
me not to blast that woman off the face of the planet
with 'GET OUT OF MY WAY!' but i didn't say anything
to her.
i walked into the apartment building just in time to
hold the door open for an old man. he said, 'thank
you' and i thought, 'i don't want to die a lonely old
man.....' and as i turned to go up the stairs i
thought that the message i had for the handbag woman
was mis-directed. i need to yell at the top of my
spiritual lungs, "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" to whatever is
holding Uma back. GET OUT OF MY WAY! I AM GOING TO
it seems as though we just keep getting reduced to
prayer. the doctors do what they can and then they
tell us to hope for the best. well, if all we have
right now is prayer, then that is everything in the
universe to uma.
the first thing i did when i got in the apartment was
wake up my laptop and check my email. in the very
first one i saw my friend ken had forwarded the
following .....bear in mind that the woman who wrote
this had not read this my email about uma's possible
stroke yet....


Hey there! I read that you'll be stopping to visit
John & Uma. Just wanted you to send a big hug from me
over here. I just got off the phone with my friend
Brooke who experienced the same thing that Uma is
going through 15 years ago. She's an incredible
woman, whom I only met 5 years ago. She has spoken of
her struggles with recovery, etc. She (Brooke) ended
up having a stroke, which added time to the recovery
process. It took some time to recover, but I'm sure
Uma will be able to do this. Let John know Sierra
retreat has been praying for Uma on their daily
retreats and I've gotten some of the best prayers I
know on the case .....

so...i didn't enjoy the all of the sequence of events
on the way home but i feel very bold right now and i
urge everyone of you, as soon as you read this, to
very loudly say to whatever is holding uma back, "GET

pray for a lasting re-infusion of blood to her brain
for no more strokes
for no more pain

until later.....

all my love


I am dancing, screaming with passionate energy, and vandalizing my ass off for Uma. HEAL, HEAL, HEAL!

(Previous updates are here, here, here, and here.)

Posted by bonnie at February 12, 2007 2:52 PM

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