Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update on Susan's condition

As of late last night, here is the latest on Susan (so the "tomorrow" references below are actually occurring today sometime):
Today the doctor's started Susan on a second regimen to treat the ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis - the condition in which her immune system is attacking the brain and causing her symptoms).
The new treatment is plasmaphoresis/plasma exchange, which is a little bit like kidney dialysis for the blood. The blood is removed from the body, the red blood cells are removed and returned to the body, while the remaining fluid (plasma) which contains the antibodies attacking the brain is discarded and replaced with new plasma. Susan began one round of this treatment today and will receive four more treatments over the coming days.
Tomorrow Susan will undergo another MRI to determine whether the steroid treatment is having any effect on the inflammation.
Also, the results of her 24-hour EEG (electroencephalogram - monitoring of the brain waves) showed that she is not having any seizures. While she is still on the ventilator, her own breathing has gotten somewhat stronger.
Added prayers will never hurt, so please pass this along to any prayer chains you might have, or say a special intention as often as possible.

Thanks, and I will keep this blog updated as things change. If you are interested in putting a face with the name, Don has updated his blog with a picture of Susan.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update on Susan - as of late yesterday

First of all, thank you all very much for your prayers. We received an email from one of Susan's roommates late yesterday afternoon, and I wanted to share with you. We have not heard much beyond what I have put in quotes below, but please keep praying.

I wanted to give everyone a short update on Susan as of this morning. Two of her doctors, a neurologist and an infectious disease specialist, spoke with her parents about her status. The tests for bacterial infection have come back negative. They currently believe that Susan did have a viral infection which is now gone but she is suffering from certain post-infection effects. In short, the doctors believe that Susan's body produced antibodies against a viral protein which happens to be similar to a protein produced by her brain. So her immune system is treating that protein as if it were viral, causing inflammation in the brain. She is currently receiving steroids to try and counteract these symptoms. The exact virus is yet unknown, the doctors are still waiting for those results.

Michelle's class made cards for Susan and her family yesterday and we are mailing those cards to Washington D.C. so that her family may read the words of encouragement. If you wish to send something, even just a note of prayer, contact me and I will give you the address to which you may send your items.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


We found out this morning that a dear friend of ours, Susan Shaughnessy is currently in a coma in Washington D.C. We would like to ask that you pray for her recovery and for her family. I have pasted some of the text from the email that Michelle received below. Some of you may recall that Susan was in our wedding. Her and her family have been close friends of the Youngmans for many, many, many years.

Please keep the Shaugnessy family in your prayers, especially Susan. The text from the email....

Dear friends of Susan,

I'm sorry to relay this news over e-mail for those of you who are hearing this for the first time. I am a housemate of Susan's. She is currently in the hospital and in need of your prayers.

She wasn't feeling well last week and had flu-like symptoms. This Sunday afternoon she was admitted to the hospital and is in the neuroscience intensive care unit in a coma. The cause of her illness is still unknown, she is undergoing a battery of tests. Since we don't know the cause there is yet to be a prognosis on her condition.

Her condition is serious and we need to pray for a miracle. Susan has a great love for Pope John Paul II and I would like to ask you to join in praying for his intercession. I've pasted a short prayer below.

O Blessed Trinity
We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen

Please, please, please pass this along to whomever might be on your prayer lists, and I will update this blog as I know more.

Fight hard, Susan!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Very first fat lip

A couple weeks ago at the ballpark, Gillian was having a blast running around the picnic table while Mommy chased her. She took turn #3 a little too tight in her lap around the table and went mouth-first right into the bench. The light was a little poor, but you can see her swollen upper lip in the pic.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Playing at the park

As I mentioned in my previous post, playing at the park is now a favorite pasttime of ours. This shot opens with Gillian summoning up the courage to go down the slide, then engaging in a rousing game of peek-a-boo with Mommy, after which she hurtles herself down the slide again. After that, you'll even get to hear one of her patented phrases as she doles out a "hi" to a passing car.


Catching up

Since I have not updated with pictures or videos in quite some time, I decided to put together a bunch of our favorites from this summer and early fall. As you will see in the video, we've done lots of fun things. You'll see plenty of playing at the park (one of our new favorite hangouts), some shots from the ballpark, pics from visits with both sets of Grandparents...also watch closely for Mommy and Gillian watching fireworks, along with Daddy and Gillian at Sara and Jason's wedding in the Rockies....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learning to pray...

Michelle and I have said nighttime prayers with Gillian since we brought her home from the hospital. More recently, we have begun sitting down in her room before she goes to bed and making it a point to fold our hands and say our prayers. We had noticed that she was starting to get more into the bedtime ritual tonight, so we grabbed the camera and were able to snap these 2 great pictures of her folding her hands.