Manzari Family

$68,240raised of $75,000 goal
90%

Organizer: Marta Hartzog Beneficiary: Matt and Bobbye Jean Manzari

Matt Manzari suffered 3rd degree burns after being electrocuted while trimming trees.  He is in the burn trauma unit and will remain hospitalized for an extended time for additional surgeries and skin grafting.  Upon release, doctors anticipate the next year to be a difficult rehab process.

Matt and his wife Bobbye Jean are expecting their fist baby in January and finances will be slim.  Neither Matt nor Bobbye Jean will be able to work during the rehab process.  Please consider a gift to help this precious couple.  If you would like to do a monthly gift, that would be so appreciated. You can also contribute at any Wells Fargo bank under the account name Bobbye Jean Manzari donation account.
Thank you again for your prayers and support.

Updates

Updates

09/28/2014
by Marta Hartzog

Hello All,

We are home!  It has been 2 weeks since Matt was discharged from inpatient rehabilitation and it has been a whirlwind.  We have been navigating different doctor appointments, figuring out where to begin Matt’s occupational and physical therapy, and setting up systems for all his medical supplies to be able to stay healthy at home.  It is amazing to be home at the end of the day when we have completed all his medical tasks.  We also just celebrated Matt’s birthday and no one could believe what a huge blessing this particular birthday was!     

Matt is healing well and is a continuous miracle! The hyper-granulation is shrinking slowly and there are fewer open spots on his body.  His sternum tissue is still healing over some parts of the bone and we are waiting for a few more weeks to see what they would like to do about grafting over it.  Unfortunately, his ear grafts from his last surgery did not take.  His ears remain a problem and we are waiting to find out what the physicians would like to do as we move forward.  His forehead exit wound is healing slowly and moving in the right direction.  His eye doctor said that the accident has given him cataracts and he will need corrective surgery in the next year.  His scar tissue continues to pull inward and contract, making us work against it at every minute.  Matt can move his right arm with decent motion, but after using it for a few minutes, he can no longer put it straight.  His left arm can move with less motion and the scar bands are even stronger in that arm.  His shoulders are both limited by the scar tissue in his armpits and chest and cause him to slouch forward constantly.  His neck is the hardest for him to straighten and if he is not actively stretching it, he cannot look upward.  His left wrist still has no lift in it and he has to wear a brace in order to use that hand.  The constant stretching he must do to avoid his upper body freezing in one position causes extreme pain.  He also is in constant nerve pain, and even with the medication, everything is sensitive and painful.  His temperature regulation is altered in his body, which is very common in burn injuries, especially electrical burns.  He can go from freezing one second to burning up the next.  They do not have any kind of estimation of when or if this will dissipate.  There have been moments of frustration or fear for him in regards to his weaknesses.  He cannot do certain activities that seem like they should be easy, and it can be difficult to constantly need help.  He still cannot get himself off of the ground if he were to sit down or if he were to fall and it is a hard adjustment for him to face.  He handles it all well and doesn’t let his frustration bring him down on a consistent basis, but there are moments that he has sadness over his new reality.  It breaks my heart to see him struggle in these moments. 

We got a puppy to help Matt through his recovery.  Her name is Tala and she is a huge blessing.  Matt has so much pain in the mornings etc. and he has a hard time getting motivated to get up.  I’ll put Tala on the bed and puppy kisses make it easier to wake up!  She has been a great companion for him and it is good therapy for him to focus on playing with her, forcing him to use his arms and move around. 

Thankfully, baby’s health has been going well and I have hit the 24 week benchmark!  I am grateful that the baby has not hindered me from being Matt’s caretaker.  I still cannot believe we are out of the hospital and it will hit me at different moments.  I will be driving Matt somewhere near the hospital and think to myself, “Matt is in the car with me and not stuck in that building anymore.”  Let’s just say I get emotional a lot these days.  In order to avoid crying at every moment I jokingly say “Whatever” very fervently, as if I don’t care.  It doesn’t really work, but at least I chuckle a little as I cry

This journey is continually teaching me how to navigate life.  I contemplated as I looked at my “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” book, that this book could not have helped me expect what happened during my pregnancy.  Where is the section about your husband almost dying while you have a little one growing inside you?  I now realize that none of us can expect what is going to happen in our lives.  This is mixed with the juxtaposition that we CAN always expect God to be good and evil to be bad.  I am trying to look at life with great expectation of God, but no expectations of what His goodness will look like.  This is because I don’t know what the circumstances of our life will look like and how His goodness will be displayed in those specifics.   

You all have continued to reach out and bless us.  We are still blown away by the daily love and support from those we know, and even complete strangers.  God’s network is so far reaching and humbles us to our core.  Thank you for helping us through this one day at a time.   

Love,
Bobbye Jean Manzari


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09/10/2014
by Marta Hartzog

Today is day 78 and it is a new chapter… We have moved from the Trauma Step Down unit to the Inpatient Physical Therapy!  This is a huge step forward for Matt and when we reflect on the doctor’s original timeframes for this step, we see how good our God is.  He is not bound by doctor timelines J  At this new facility, they will focus on giving Matt the most use of his arms and neck possible.  They will also help teach him alternative ways of using the left wrist that he cannot lift.  He is left-handed, so the loss of use in that hand has forced him to relearn everything right handed, but he is making it work! 

 

Emotions were hard to hold back as he got to leave the trauma unit yesterday.  There is a bell that patients ring when they are leaving, and we longingly looked forward to the day that it was Matt’s turn to ring it loudly.  Yesterday was his day and it was so symbolic of the miracle that he is.  All the nurses gathered around and cheered and cried with us.  There was a part of me that couldn’t believe we were blessed enough to experience this moment.  When we first arrived at the hospital, I was told so many horrible scenarios of what would happen:  There will be significant brain damage, his heart will be compromised, his kidneys will shut down from the toxins of the dead tissue, he might lose his arms, he will not be out in time for the delivery of our baby, and the list went on.  Somebody pinch me because the outcome feels like a dream come true! 

 

His pain has been decreasing with his walking and he is more mobile now.  Unfortunately, his sternum, ears and head remain a constant source of pain, as they all have open wounds and require dressing changes.  He does still have pain in his arms, shoulders, and neck due to the scar tissue bands that he must stretch to move.  Also, they still find leftover staples and stitches daily.  We are still waiting to hear when surgery to skin graft over his sternum will be.  Until we know, he is going to be working hard at rehabilitation. 

 

As we look at the reality of going home, we are beyond grateful for the support that we have had.  Going home is a big transition and it can be intimidating taking those next steps not knowing what the new “normal” looks like.  The prayers, help, and financial support from everyone we know, as well as the people we don’t know, help us to see hope and see God’s hand at work.  Thank you for the blessings.  Matt and I cannot wait to be able to bless others in hard times as we have been blessed.  We love you all!    


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09/02/2014
by Marta Hartzog

Today is day 70 in the hospital and we are 4 days post-op from surgery #10.  It has been a rough few days.  On Friday, Matt had surgery to his ears and to correct the hypergranulation on his body.  Hypergranulation happens when the body is trying to heal a wound and it goes into “hyperdrive” and the cells in an area will overproduce and create big bumps that cause slower healing and bad scarring.  This surgery went well, but Matt’s pain was unbearable afterwards.  They had to scrape away very sensitive tissue in his ears in order to place the dermis layer (Made from pig skin) overtop.  This layer will help the healing process, but the removal they had to do before placing it was excruciatingly painful.  They also stapled the dressings over his ears and the staples pulled every time he tried to move his head or chew, causing severe migraines. The ears were secondary compared to the pain he felt in his legs, where they had burned away the hypergranulation.  The dressings would stick to the new wounds and when it came time to change them, there was not enough pain medicine to stop Matt’s weeping and screaming.  It was horrible.  Thankfully, they have now changed some of the types of dressings on his legs and it has helped them not to stick and cause so much pain.  Since that change, there has been improvement in his ability to walk, as the dressings are not sticking and pulling on his wounds when he does so.

 Another struggle after surgery was the hard cast they put on his right arm.  The scar tissue bands in his arms are preventing full extension and it can become a permanent impairment if left on its own.  They decided to straighten his arm as much as possible under anesthesia and put a hard cast on it for a few days to stretch out the bands.  This cast made his right arm useless, and his left arm is unable to do very much at all right now.  He felt trapped and helpless again, as we had to resume scratching any itches on his nose, feeding him, brushing his teeth etc.  The pain and helplessness, along with being worn down from months in the hospital, brought his spirits low for a few days.  Now this is all starting to improve and we are hoping the worst is behind him.  God has blessed us that these are the only issues we are dealing with in light of what the outcomes should have been.    

There was a scare that his Integra over his sternum was not going to take, due to a small infection.  They are still monitoring this, but are hopeful as it is responding to antibiotic treatment.  There is discussion of moving Matt to the inpatient physical therapy center soon and having him come back in a few weeks to have his skin grafting done over his sternum.  This will be a huge step towards going home and we are eager to make that transition.    

The baby has been kicking like crazy!  Matt even got to be a part of an ultrasound thanks to thoughtful friends of ours J They brought an ultrasound machine from work and set it up in the room so Matt could see our baby boy moving around.  It was very special for him! 

We are still blown away by the outreach from people far and wide.  You all do not realize how much your encouragement helps Matt and I get through the sad days.  Thank you for taking the time to hold us up and provide hope.
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09/02/2014
by Marta Hartzog
Thank you to all of the wonderful friends and family Matt and Bobbye Jean have.  You have all been such a blessing to this sweet couple, soon to be 3 :)
Let's spread the word even further and continue the financial blessing for them.  God is so good and He loves them so much!!
Marta
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08/24/2014
by Marta Hartzog

We are two days post op from Matt’s sternum surgery on Friday and blessings continue! Matt was riddled with anxiety about this surgery and the possibilities of what they were going to do.  They were preparing to scrape most of his bone away, or even remove it entirely, then add a flap. The flap was yet another piece of deep tissue they were going to have to remove from Matt’s leg and reconnect all the blood vessels to the new location over his sternum. They were preparing for a long 5-6 hour surgery… Matt was out in an hour and a half! The doctors came out smiling and said that the bone had healed itself almost completely and all the damage was superficial. They began to scrape the black away and right under the surface was living bone. This great result meant that they did not have to do a flap, but instead, they put a very small layer of Integra on the bone. The Integra (The same synthetic dermis they put on his chest and arms) will heal over the bone so they can do a small skin graft over it in a few weeks. We were overjoyed that there was no more removal from Matt’s legs and the bone was healthy! The doctors were blown away and couldn’t believe the healing that had taken place… Once again prayers have been answered!  It was the best news for Matt to wake up to after all his concern! They are also planning on doing surgery to the burns on his ears when they graft over his sternum in a few weeks.

 The skin grafts on his chest and arms have been healing well for the last three weeks. He has been working hard on gaining function again in his arms. His legs, where they harvested the skin for the grafts, continue to be the most painful part of his recovery. He can barely walk without wanting to collapse from the pain, but he makes himself push through.

 I am at the halfway point in my pregnancy (20 weeks) and it brings much excitement! The baby has been making full kicks that I can feel on the outside of my belly!

 We have been in the hospital for two months now and it can take a toll on a person. Matt made a comment that he doesn’t remember what it is like to just be outside with the wind, so his nurses devised a plan to take him outside. Often times, burn patients are at too high a risk for infection and are not allowed outside of their floor. Despite this, they knew it would be good for him to be outside for a minute.  He was very happy to have the adventure. Matt has dreams of being able to use his arms normally and simply get out of bed without pain, and when he wakes, he realizes he is still a ways from that reality. There are moments of sadness for him, but the blessings still pull him through. He continually talks about the things we take for granted in life. I think we will walk away from this with a great appreciation for little pleasures.  Thank you for all your continued prayers and for joining together on our behalf. 


Love,
Bobbye Jean


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08/15/2014
by Marta Hartzog

We are 11 days post-op for Matt’s skin grafts and things are going well!  The doctors say that his skin grafts are taking 100% at this point!  It has been told to us that this kind of result is mind-blowing and not normal… We know that God is at work here and prayers are being answered.  With the success of his skin grafts, there has also been much pain involved.  His donor sites, where they harvest the skin for the grafts, have caused him pain beyond comprehension.  They scraped all the skin from the circumference of his thighs, as well as the skin on one calf.  This top layer that they scrape off is just deep enough to expose the nerve endings and cause severe nerve pain.  The location of the donor sites has been difficult because no matter how he lays/sits, he is pushing on the raw wounds and aggravating the nerves.  Where he was walking around before surgery, he can now barely move his legs without weeping in pain.  It has been a very tough process, but the important thing is he is healing and he won’t have to endure another major graft of this kind.  Praise God!  The next step is the surgery next Friday to repair, or possibly replace, his sternum.  The electricity has charred some of his bone and they are working on a plan of care to try and save parts of the bone, but if that is not possible, they will have to replace it with metal.  After recovering from that surgery, they are hoping to move him to a rehab facility to help him regain the use of his hands, arms, and neck.  There is still no timeframe for us to count on, but Matt has been healing quicker than they originally expected, and we are hoping to keep up the trend. 

 

The baby has been moving around and I am beginning to show a slight bump!  We have been blessed by so many with fun baby presents that help us to look towards the joy in the future.  Matt has been using presents as “occupational therapy” and opening them as much as he can with his limited hand mobility.  The baby clothes in his hands make it real to him and he loves it… We both do! 

 

I have been amazed at Matt during this particularly painful part of the process.  The nerve pain overtakes his body to the point of tears and violent shaking.  Even in the midst of this, he has found a way to be caring to others and never losing his temper in frustration.  I hear other patients trying to punch the nurses and yelling at them with much lesser injuries than Matt is experiencing, yet he remains kind in the worst moments.  Nothing about this process has been easy and Matt’s true colors are golden.  For me, the struggle of seeing my husband in this level of pain has given me times of brokenness.  Nothing could have prepared me for witnessing him in such suffering, and there are moments I simply don’t want to believe it is real.  Through it all, I couldn’t be more grateful for the blessings that God continues to pour out.  These blessings are not only in Matt’s healing, but also in the people surrounding us through prayer, support, and love.  Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but I say it anyways… THANK YOU!

Love,
Bobbye Jean

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08/04/2014
by Marta Hartzog

Your prayers continue to be answered as doctors explain they have rarely experienced such good results from an Integra surgery. With the positive results in the past few weeks of the healing of his Integra layer, Matt was able to have his first major skin graft surgery today. All went well and the doctors are optimistic for good reception of the skin transfers. They were able to cover almost all of his wounds with skin from his thighs and one calf. This is a huge step towards healing and we are grateful this part of the process has begun! He will be restricted in movement for the next week and will be in braces that will hold his arms in a safe position. We will know in about a week how much of his grafts were accepted, but we are praying all of it does!

We also found out a few days ago that we are having a baby boy! Our Popsicle gender reveal at the hospital was so full of excitement and Matt and I feel beyond blessed by our family, friends, and nurses who made it so special.

Life is very strange to me with the extreme lows intertwined with extreme highs all swirled in one lifetime, and often, sharing the same moments...In our extremely difficult time, there has been a consistent presence of blessings that overwhelms me with gratitude, peace, strength, and joy. These emotions share the same space with emotions of sadness and I am perplexed that one can feel the full array all at once... Our God is so caring and helps me through the complexities. You all have come alongside of us and helped in every way possible to bring hope and healing and I find it impossible to fully explain my thankfulness. I have learned more about God's goodness through people than I could've ever imagined possible. Thank you... Each and every one of you. We love you.

Love,
Bobbye Jean


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07/15/2014
by Marta Hartzog

Dear Friends, Family, and Kind Strangers,

Matt had his 7th surgery yesterday and it was a step in the right direction.  They applied a layer of material called Integra to his arms, chest, and stomach that will be the foundation for skin grafts to adhere to in the future.   Most of his muscle was removed and they cannot graft straight over bones.  We are grateful the removal process is diminishing and we are stepping into the rebuilding process.  The Integra will require a month of healing and adhering before they can begin to look into skin grafting.  They cannot give us a time estimation for completion.  The pain Matt is experiencing brings us all to our knees, wishing there was a way to minimize it.  Even through the pain that has been described to us as one of the worst things a human can endure, he continually prays with his medical staff before each dressing change and thanks God for his blessings.  Needless to say, there are not very many dry eyes when he does so.  He is a true example of faith in the storm and God is exemplified in him, even in his lowest moments.  Every medical person we have encountered explains that Matt is a walking miracle to be even at this point… and we know it is true.  God has heard the prayers you all have lifted and is working in a mighty way.  We ask for your continued prayers as we trek through this journey.  Specifically, if you could lift up in prayer some of the following things:  Peace that surpasses all understanding  for Matt, relief to his pain, healing to his bones that will need replacement without God’s hand, health for our baby as we push through emotional struggles, and a resistance of the attacks that are all around us during our weak moments.  Our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude for the selfless ways in which you all are helping us to survive, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.    We are humbled and cry tears of joy.  We see God working in each person He brings our way and we see answers to prayer.  God is so BIG and yet so concerned for the little things… He blows us away.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we love you all.

Love,

Matt and Bobbye Jean Manzari

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07/08/2014
by Marta Hartzog
Thank you to all of Matt and Bobbye's friends and family who have supported this fundraiser for them.  God is soooooo good as He continues to touch people's hearts for this precious couple.  
God bless you all!
Marta
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07/07/2014
by Marta Hartzog
Thank you for all of the prayer and support during this time.  Matt is defying medical timelines and it is only because God is hearing all of our cries for healing.  Today Matt had his 5th surgery and there will be many more to come.  He is no longer intibated, except during surgery, which gives him the ability to speak and eat, though he still has a feeding tube and will need it for most of his recovery.  His chest, stomach,neck, and arms have had extensive muscle and skin removed.  He is going to be receiving skin grafts in the coming months, but for the next four weeks they cannot begin grafting.  He continues to blow away the physicians with his attitude and his speedy recovery compared to others.  He is a constant example of how great our God is and the peace He can bring in horrible circumstances.  Your generosity, love, and prayers bring Matt joy in his most painful moments... You are doing more than you know. 
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