Challenges remain for a Lakeside family
The Julich family has endured great pain over the past year. Ray and Nancy Julich who reside in Lakeside have both been faced with many ongoing health problems.
Ray, 57, was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in May of 2006. He underwent surgery the following month where the doctors discovered that his tumors were cancerous. They were able to remove the large tumor in the center of the brain, but another tumor still remains inoperable. Ray spent a month and half at the Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City where he recovered from his many operations (repositions of the drainage tubes and addition of a shunt). He was later moved to skilled therapy were he learned how to speak again. The month of August was spent driving every day to Sioux City to undergo radiation treatments.
The month of September brought more bad news to the Julich family. Sept. 12, Nancy, 50, was taken by ambulance to the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center as she was suffering from a terrible headache and sudden loss of feeling and vision. She was life-flighted to the Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City to do emergency surgery since they found blood in her brain.
It was discovered that she had a blood clot in her brain the size of an orange and that she now had paralysis in her left side. She spent about two weeks in the intensive care unit and was later moved to skilled care where she learned how to sit up, stand and cope with the loss of movement in her left side.
She was able to return to Storm Lake in late October where she continues to be an inpatient at BVRMC.
She works with the therapist daily to regain muscles and movements in her left side, and she has made tremendous improvements. She is able to stand and walk with aides. Even though the whole side of her brain was affected by the clot she has no memory, speaking or communication problems. Since her insurance only allows her a certain number of skilled therapy days a year, she will return home in mid-February. Her home is currently being remodeled by Julich Construction in Carroll to make getting around for her easier. A walk-in shower is being put in and the downstairs bedroom is being transformed into a handicap accessible room.
While Nancy is improving and coping with her handicap, Ray continues to struggle. He was moved to the Buena Vista Manor in late December because his daughters Kimberly and Kelli were having a difficult time taking care of him. The doctors have discovered that the inoperable tumor is growing, causing Ray's communication abilities and balance to worsen. He went from using a cane to being wheelchair bound.
Just a few weeks ago, Ray broke his hip while trying to get up. He was taken to the BVRMC where he continues to reside. He was admitted to Hospice and is now on medications to make him comfortable. He is finding it difficult to communicate, think, and even swallow. The doctors discovered that the tumor has spread down his spine and they think that the cancer has gotten into his bones. The family is doing all they can to make his last moments as comfortable as possible. Since Nancy is still in the hospital as well, she is able to wheel herself to Ray's room throughout the day to comfort him and her daughters.
It has been a very hard year for the Julich family. Being the oldest, Kimberly Julich, 26, a graphic designer for the University Marketing and Communication office at Buena Vista University, was faced with the new responsibility of taking care of her parent's health problems, appointments, house, and needs. She says, "You never know how much you can handle until you're faced with change. I've learned to cope, be patient, and feel very fortunate for the times I am able to spend with my family. My parents lived their lives for their children so I am more than happy to repay their kindness".
Kelli Julich, 21, a student at BVU majoring in biology, says, "I am still in shock, I never thought anything like this could happen to my parents so early. And it's hard for me to understand why I am losing my father so young".
In order to keep family and friends up-to-date on Ray and Nancy's recovery, Kimberly has created a web site and blog at http://raysrecovery.spaces.live.com/ that anyone can view to get updated information.
Ray Julich, has been employed at Viola Water as a wastewater operator/safety coordinator. Nancy Julich has been employed at BVU as an administrative assistant for the University Marketing and Communications Office.