Again, let me start with the picture to avoid the distraction. If you don’t recognize this man, you’re the normal one. The rest of us, just plain watch too much football. The newest member of #TeamJustus is none other than All Pro Quarterback Andrew Luck. I had the privilege of knowing Andrew when he was a quarterback at Stanford (Tavita’s dear friend and teammate) before being selected number one in the 2012 NFL draft. It’s not surprising Andrew is a #TeamJustus member, after all he knows and loves Justus. What is shocking and shows what kind of a guy he is, is that he was willing to let us put his picture on social media. If you happen to be an NCIS fan, when it comes to cell phones, Gibbs has nothing on Luck. For those of you that I’ve totally lost, Andrew (like Gibbs on NCIS) still carries a flip phone. Let’s just say Andrew’s not one to go out and try to get a lot of publicity for himself. You won’t see his mug all over social media. He sent us this picture for one reason – to lend his support to the #TeamJustus cause. And we are so grateful for that.
But, in honor of Andrew, I think a sports analogy would be appropriate here. If you’ve ever watched an important football game that was really close. Typically throughout the game there will be really tense moments. Maybe your team has the ball fourth and one in a critical situation. Your team’s coach decides to go for it. The moments between the decision to go for it and the play actually being run can be excruciating. In fact if it’s tense enough you can even find yourself literally holding your breath. Right after the play is run, especially if you are able to pick up the first down, you can almost hear the collective breath being taken by all the fans on your team. That’s how I feel right now. I’ve let out a huge breath and I find myself breathing again. There is a lot of game left to be played. Likely, we will have other “hold your breath” moments. But right now, we are thanking God for a chance to take a breath. If you’ve been following us then you know we have had multiple days where it went from tense to tenser (I’m not even sure that’s a word).
Here is the situation in a nutshell. It appears whatever the cause of the original attack (viral, auto-immune etc.) has stopped. They can’t be positive, but between the MRI and what I would call “common sense” it seems like that process has halted. But the residual effect continues to be pretty extensive. The original infection engulfed much of the right side and then eventually spread to the left. Right now the left side seems to be more affected than the right. The MRI imaging isn’t an exact science. They have to interpret, based on history, what the image actually means. Based on that, they feel like a large portion of the outer part of the brain has been affected. Most of it just looked “lit up” to use their term. Underneath that, there were also a smaller amount of cells that seem to have suffered more permanent damage. Again, they can’t be sure. And then in one of the deeper parts of the brain, there is this basal ganglion. It controls some pretty important functions in the body. They have reason to believe it has been affected and most likely damaged, possibly on a permanent basis.
So the plan is to get him out of the pentobarbital coma so they can do a real neurological exam. That is when we will know what is going on in Justus’ brain. At the present rate, Wednesday would be when they officially turn the pentobarbital off. But that particular drug has something like a 24-hour half-life, so it will be in his system for a while. When will he wake up? What will he be able to do? We don’t know, but the chasing Justus crowd is chomping at the bit to find out from Justus what he’s capable of.
This morning Justus is really awake. He had another good night. His eyes are open and he’s blinking. I never thought I would get so excited about a kid wiggling his toes, although ever so slightly. Much to be excited about! Much to be praying about! The game isn’t over, but still thankful for a breather! God is able. God is good.
As you can imagine, it’s most nerve racking for Alyse and Jason. The saying “ignorance is bliss” comes to mind. For the past several days while Justus has been in the pentobarbital coma he’s been stable. A machine is breathing for him and an amazing nurse is watching him like a hawk. We don’t know what’s going on with Justus’ brain, but he’s alive. There is a part of any mom and dad that would like to leave him in the coma – he’s alive! But we know that’s not right. We have to wake him up and within the next few days that’s going to happen. We just don’t know how Justus is going to be! Although the Lord has given us a great sense of peace, we can’t even be sure what He means by that. Please pray for Jason and Alyse’s anxiety levels… pray their faith would be bolstered as they wait for their son to wake up. Their lives are completely focused and consumed with their son and his recovery. Again, please pray for healing and all they need to continue this difficult journey. We love and appreciate you!
Someone came forward and offered to do a T-shirt fundraiser for #TeamJustus. So here is the link to the website if you’d like to order or just take a look.http://www.booster.com/