Father's Day June 21, 2009

Today marks the four year anniversary of Tori's anoxic brain injury caused by a near drowning on Father's Day 2005. Four long and tumultuous years with so many highs and lows and many more to come I am sure. We continue to care and help Tori as best we possibly can and involve her in our family life as much as possible as well. Even though she still cannot walk, talk or communicate with us in any consistent fashion we KNOW she loves and appreciates us and we can see that everyday in her ever beautiful eyes. She has remained exceptionally healthy throughout the past couple of years but we are facing some pending surgeries and new challenges at this time...

Our newest challenge is the Swine Flu that has been sweeping the world and presently Utah has the highest death rate per capita of any state. Two more people each with existing medical conditions died last week... Several people at my office have been confirmed with Swine Flu and I have been working from home now for a week and will continue to do so as I watch who else will be affected. I am still doing fine but have a slight tickle in my throat presently. The Dance Club apparently also has several girls with the Swine Flu and Whitney currently has a sore throat but no fever and she will not be dancing there for a while either. Last week we also had to take Tori to the PCMC for three different appointments and it seems that everyone in that place is there for the Swine Flu as well... Needless to say we are very, very scared and concerned with this and it's getting harder to keep Tori completely isolated as we would like.

Tori had her baclofen pump refilled as well as botox and phenol shots on the same day. Then she went in for a spinal MRI in preparation for her Ventral Rhizotomy scheduled for June 29th. We met with the Neurosurgeon Dr. Walker and Dr. Gooche on another day and we are in sync as to the procedure to be completed. They will be severing motor control nerves going to Tori's troublesome and uncontrollable left arm but they will be leaving her more controllable right arm alone. They will have to cut some of her vertebrae away in order to get to the interior portion of the spine and perform the procedure. It is not simple as originally thought and Tori will need a five to seven day recovery phase in the PCMC. We are still not looking forward to this but we cannot wait any longer to do the next major surgery which is her Spinal Fusion.

Tori will be evaluated for the Spinal Fusion surgery while she is recovering at the PCMC. The curvature of her spine is now probably between 75-80 degrees and it is definitely affecting the functioning of her internal organs. Her lungs are compressed so she is now on constant oxygen. Between 1-2 liters to keep her blood oxygen level at 90% or so. Her digestive system is no longer consistent like it has been for the past several years. She is also in much more pain now and becomes highly agitated more frequently because of this. Her sleep cycles are pretty much nonexistent now and she stays awake all night several times a week.... It's been and exhausting couple of months for us unfortunately. We should have a surgery date set shortly after her evaluation.

We have adapted our lives around caring and supporting Tori and the challenges, burdens and hardships for our family are always present. But we keep moving forward as best we can and our undying love for Tori makes this possible. We will always love and care for her and try to provide her the best possible quality of life that we can. This is how it must be.

Thank you all for four years of love, care, prayers and support for Tori and our family. Each of you has made an impact on our lives and hopefully your involvement will continue. We greatly appreciate everything that has been done for Tori and our family. We would like to especially thank my parents Paul and Sandy Schmanski who have sacrificed so much in their lives to provide help for our family. I honestly don't know where we would be without their continued love and support.

The Schmanski Family

Tim, Maria, Tori, Whitney and Brendan

Tori's surgery cancelled for now...

The battle with the insurance company is not resolved....


Dear Tim & family,

We are very sorry to hear that Tori's surgery has to be postponed because of insurance issues. With the multitude of problems and challenges faced by brain injury survivors and their families, it has been shocking to us how much insurance companies add to the burdens of families trying to care for loved ones with a brain injury. We wish you didn't have to take on this battle, in addition to the many challenges you face daily, but we are hopeful that you will prevail and Tori will receive the medical care she needs. One day--and one battle--at a time.


I have found out that insurance doesn't currently want to pay for Tori's surgeries... Why does that never surprise me anymore...

Let the battle begin.