Since it is impossible to communicate with everyone personally about Emily's progress we will update this blog whenever there is anything new to report.

The Flake children are being cared for by Curtis' mom, Emily's mom, and Curtis's three sisters. The Relief Society is bringing them meals. Their needs are being met very well and Curtis is so grateful for all of your kind offers to assist their family. More than anything else, at this time, they need your faith and prayers.

If you need to communicate with Curtis or the family you are welcome to contact me (Curtis' sister, Angela) via email and I will deliver your message asap -



hello from Emily

Hi everyone.

First of all, some news about Angela (the sister who did this blog)...she had her baby! Oct. 30 and they named him McKay. Congratulations!

My EEG (brain test) showed no seizure-like activity. Very good news. It's pretty amazing that everything is going back to normal. Thank you all for your love and concern during this difficult time....I know I am better because of all the prayers that have been offered in my behalf. I am so lucky to know all of you! THANK YOU!!!!!

My mom came for a week. Then my sister, Julia, flew in from Washington (after finding arrangements for her five!) Now my mom is with me this week. I am so grateful for family. I don't know how I'll ever function without a "nanny" :)

Thanks again for all your emails and prayers, etc.

Love, Emily


A Message from Emily

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so lucky to know all of you! Wow...I feel more blessed than ever and have felt your love and concern. Thank you so much, Angela, for keeping everyone updated with the blog. You all know more about me right now than I do! I remember many moments in the hospital when Curtis would be reading me your emails...thank you for lifting my spirits and helping me get better. I feel the strength of all your thoughts and prayers.

Every day I feel a little better and it's great to be home.
Thank you all!
Love, Emily
The picture below was taken this past Friday as Emily was being prep'ed for her EEG.

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Saturday, October, 25

Emily had another EEG yesterday. The result will not be available until the middle of next week. We will update you as soon as we know something.

All signs are that Emily is doing very well but, she is still very restricted in what she is allowed to do. Her balance seems to be improving; she's able to walk with much less help and support. Her headaches are still present but are not as painful (these headaches are the norm for her situation and shouldn't cause a great deal of concern).


Wednesday, October 22

Emily is home!!! She was released from the hospital on Monday and has been doing well. It's really nice for her to be home with her family again. She's able to rest more than at the hospital (fewer nurses tests and beeping machines). The instructions from her doctors haven't changed - rest, rest, rest, and she's not allowed to do much of anything. She's also not supposed to lift more than 2 lbs.

Emily is disoriented some of the time and her equilibrium is off so although she's able to walk. She holds onto walls and people to help her maintain balance. This appears to be improving over time.

Curtis' mom and sisters are still staying with them so Emily can rest as much as possible. Luckily, McKenzie continues to be a near perfect baby, fussing very little, eating well, and sleeping a lot.

Emily tries to do too much during the days and Curtis says she really pays for it come evening time. He mentioned that yesterday was a great day, or so it seemed, she spent most of the day sitting on the couch visiting with family, by evening she was mentally and physically exhausted and ended up with a terrible headache.

Although Emily has been told a lot about what happened she doesn't remember much of what she been told previously. So, Curtis has been telling her about it again and she's been reading email from the past 11 days to catch up. Emily is now realizing how serious her situation really was and it scares her a great deal. So much so that Curtis says he hesitates to tell her too much because he just doesn't want her to get stressed about it. She worries that something could happen now to put her back into similar circumstances. Her headache last night really scared her.

Emily's mom will be coming on Friday to help care for her when Curtis' mom returns to California. Her sisters, Andrea and Julia, will also be coming soon for a visit and to help with the kids. This Friday Emily will be going back to the hospital for an EEG (some kind of brain test). We will post an update once we learn the results.


Sunday, October 19 (Afternoon)

Emily has been feeling so much better the past couple of days. The doctors are very hopeful that she will be returning home soon. Although her blood pressure is still an issue they are confident that medication will compensate for that over the next while until she is more fully recovered. Her kidneys are functioning better every day. Recently, Emily's had a steady headache and says that her memory is not as good as it should be (mainly short term memory). As her brain swelling goes down over the next few weeks we hope these issues resolve themselves. We are assuming a "time will tell" approach.

Yesterday the kids all visited Emily in the hospital. When it came time to leave, little Allison (3 yrs old) was devastated at having to leave her mom again. Today, Emily arranged to have Allie come to the hospital for her own little visit. She sat on Emily's bed and the two played with Polly Pockets until Allie fell asleep on Emily. Before Allie left she listed for her mom the things she's not allowed to do once she returns home (obviously, someone's been coaching her) it included things like, the dishes, laundry, cleaning Allie's room, etc.

Emily has been getting all of your messages and loves them. She's thrilled to hear from so many she hasn't had contact with for a very long time. She says it's just amazing how word has spread and the amount of support she has felt from all of you.


Flake Kids - Pictures

Grandma Flake

Happy Birthday Aunt Laurel!


Friday, October 17 (Afternoon)

Curtis stayed at the hospital again last night with Emily. He said they are both exhausted today because they didn't get any sleep since the nurses have to come in every hour and check Emily's blood pressure, etc. Her blood pressure has been keeping pretty constant but her kidney function has digressed a bit. The doctors do not think this digression should cause concern and they have not put her back on kidney medication but are monitoring it closely. Emily's platelet count is improving gradually.

Emily had an MRI yesterday. An MRI shows a much more detailed picture of the brain, specifically the soft tissue, as compared with a CAT scan. The radiologist who reviewed Emily's MRI lives just a few door down from Curtis and Emily. He was kind enough to visit with them following his analysis. He was really amazed at Emily's current motor skills and speech ability considering the level of trauma evident from the MRI. He told them to expect many long term ups and downs in regards to her progress. Curtis continues to be very careful with the amount of time she spends talking with family on the phone as this is quite a mental strain for her.

Emily is really bruised all over her body from the seizure and somehow low platelets contribute to ease of bruising. Besides that, Emily has always bruised really easily. So, between that and lying in bed for so long, she's really stiff and sore.

Even though Emily is now in an area of the hospital which allows visitors, her doctors strongly advise against it. When Curtis called me this morning he asked me to express appreciation to you for your concern. He realizes that many of you would like to come visit Emily, however, her condition is still too fragile. The doctors say she needs a lot of quiet time to just relax her mind and body so they can heal.

More McKenzie Pictures

McKenzie with her Aunt Laurel (Curtis' youngest sister).
Happy Birthday Laurel!

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Baby Pictures




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Thursday, October 16 (Evening)

This has been another day of great improvement for Emily. Her platelets are up to 84,000 and the doctors have taken her off all kidney medication. She is able to speak well, just not for long periods of time. She has been awake most of the day today and it's really worn her out. Curtis mentioned that Emily was on her feet earlier and walking a bit.

This evening we were surprised by a phone call from Emily and Curtis (we live in Oregon). It was wonderful hearing her voice. She sounds amazing! I was really surprised at how clearly she is speaking. She says she's feeling well, just tired and weak. All six of her kids were allowed in to visit her earlier today. I'm sure it was great seeing them after so many days. Emily is really anxious to be home with them and especially to be with baby McKenzie.

Emily loves receiving your messages of support and concern via email (, the hospital's messaging service(, and this blog. She has been amazed at the tremendous suport and is so appreciative. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, October 16 (Afternoon)

I feel terrible bad that I haven't mentioned much about Emily's parents and siblings. Gary and Janet Fawson (Emily's parents) have been at the hospital with her a lot of the time since this all started on Sunday. I'm sure they have been a huge help and comfort to her. They have also been helping to care for the kids, allowing Curtis to focus completely on Emily. Emily's siblings (Andrea, Rich, Julia, and Chris) all live out of state but they call Curtis daily to check on her. I'm sure it's been really tough for them to be so far away when all of this is going on

Thursday, October 16 (Morning)

I (Curtis' sister, Cathy) left the hospital this morning after spending the night there with Emily. Curtis slept at home and was able to sleep really well for the first time.

Emily is doing amazingly well! She is quite comfortable now that the breathing tube has been removed. Her tongue and throat do cause her minor discomfort, but other than that, she isn't in any pain. She hasn't been on pain medication since 7:00 yesterday morning. She talks with a bit of a raspy voice, but it is no longer just a whisper. The kidney specialist came in this morning and took Emily off the kidney medication. He indicated that her body is healing on its own. Her platelet count rises significantly with every lab report. Emily was excited to receive a visit last night from Elise. Her nurse was nice to let us sneak her in. We'll take all of the other kids, including McKenzie, for a visit today after she leaves ICU.

Despite all that Emily is going through, she rarely talks about her condition, but often expresses gratitude for everyone's help, concern, and prayers. We are so thrilled with her progress and thank all of you for your faith and prayers. It really is miraculous to see her from one day to the next. We will continue to keep you updated.


Wednesday, October 15 (Afternoon)

There's really nothing new to report about Emily's health but I thought I'd add a short note just to let you know that she has been awake and alert most of the day. The doctors are no longer sedating her, instead they are managing her pain with other medication. She has to whisper to communicate because her throat is very sore from having that tube in there. And her airway is still blocked somewhat by her swollen tongue. She's been emotional when Curtis tells her about everyone who is helping to care for her children and all of the people who have expressed their love and concern for her. Thank you all so much!!

The kids are doing great. Last night Curtis was able to spend some time with his two oldest children (Jared & Elise) and explain to them in more detail what has been happening. They are very perceptive kids and over the past couple of days have picked up on the seriousness of the situation. Jared told his dad last night that he knew on Sunday that something was very wrong with his mom. They are being a great help to their grandma Flake and aunts in helping to care for their younger siblings while Emily and Curtis are away.

Baby McKenzie continues to amaze everyone with how content she is most of the time. She loves her bottle and empties it very quickly. It appears her only challenges are a repetitive case of the hiccups, a grandmother who is trying to remember how to mother a newborn after a 23 year break, and diapers that are too big.

Wednesday, October 15 (Morning)

Curtis called this morning to report that the swelling in Emily's tongue had gone down enough that the doctors felt good about removing her breathing tube. She is breathing very well on her own and is SO much more comfortable. She's able to whisper now.

Her latest platelet count is up to 54,000; they would like it to get up to at least 140,000.

McKenzie spent her first night at home last night. Curtis' mom and sister, Cathy cared for her and say she was perfect; they actually had to wake her up to feed her. The only unfortunate thing about this is that Cathy (not a mother yet) is getting a very false sense of what having a newborn is really like.


Tuesday, October 14

Emily has been alert much of the day today. Curtis was even able to bring the new baby (recently named "McKenzie") in to the ICU for a visit. Emily hasn't seen McKenzie since shortly after her birth. She has been asking to see her for the past two days, mouthing the word "baby" to Curtis.

Emily's 3rd CAT scan from late last night came back with positive results. There appear to be no changes in swelling or bleeding. The doctors have said that this is as much as we can expect right now. The existing blood on her brain has nowhere to escape and brain swelling apparently takes weeks or longer to go down. So, as long as her CAT scans remain unchanged the doctors are happy.

Emily's platelet count was at 25,000 yesterday and today it's increased to 27,000. This is still far below the normal 200,000 but at least it's on its way up.

The doctors expressed concern today over her kidneys. They are not functioning as they should be. Although, this is something they are watching very closely they told Curtis it is not something that he should be overly worried about at this point.

When Emily had her first seizure on Sunday she bit her tongue badly. This may not seem like that big of a deal but it is causing her a lot of discomfort. When the nurses asked her about her pain she indicated that most of her current pain is from her tongue. It is swollen to the point that she needs a breathing tube. The doctors had considered removing the tube today but have since decided that isn't a good idea. They think her tongue is swollen so much that if they took the tube out they would never be able to get another back in, if needed. Emily’s communication has mainly been from head nods and writing words or short sentences.

Emily's blood pressure is much more stable now, but Curtis said the activity, excitement, and emotion of today had a very quick and negative impact on her blood pressure. They will have to be very careful with her over the next few days to make sure her blood pressure remains low. The concern is that too much of an increase in her blood pressure could lead to another seizure. Curtis indicated that once Emily is out of ICU and able to have visitors her blood pressure issues may still limit visitors to some degree.

All, in all, this was a very good day. With much more positive than negative. We are confident that through our and your continued faith and prayers this trend will continue.

Curtis & McKenzie

This picture was taken today. I hope we have some pictures of Emily to post in the near future.

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Monday, October 13th

I know you are all anxious to understand in greater depth Emily’s status and how it all came about so I’ll try to provide a brief summary. I appologize for my complete lack of medical knowledge

Emily has always had easy pregnancies and this one was no different, she had no signs of problems the entire nine months (her actual due date is, October 17th). When Emily and Curtis arrived at the hospital early Sunday morning she was experiencing a terrible headache, she described it as feeling like someone had hit her in the back of the head with a baseball bat. Her doctor recognized this and other signs as symptoms of Preeclampsia and was tempted to perform a C-section immediately. However, knowing Emily’s history of short labor times, he decided to give her a chance to have the baby naturally, giving her Pitocin (induction drug) to speed things up even more. A short time and two pushes later she gave birth without any complications.

To counteract the Preeclampsia (very high blood pressure and very low platelet count) Emily was given various drugs which made her nauseated and very tired. Her condition elevated quickly to a more severe form of Preeclampsia called HELLP (Hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), Elevated Liver function, and Low Platelet count (contributes to poor blood clotting)). This led to her experiencing a serious seizure. The doctors were extremely concerned about the possibility of her having additional seizures and the damage they could cause (potentially leading to a stroke) so she was moved to ICU and placed under heavy sedation. It was necessary for Emily to have a CAT scan to try and determine any damage which may have been caused by the initial seizure. The results showed swelling and bleeding on both sides of the brain. This is serious enough, but in combination with a low platelet count (inability for her blood to clot) it is so much worse. She was given a platelet transfusion in hopes of jump-starting her body into creating platelets on its own. A second CAT scan was done early this morning and no additional swelling or bleeding was detected (a very good sign). However, her platelet count is still not increasing so she has been given an additional platelet transfusion. The nurses continually check her count for changes and it appears they will performing daily CAT scans to make sure the swelling and bleeding remain the same (the next one is scheduled for late tonight). My understanding is that her brain is not currently bleeding there is just the same amount present as they saw in the first CAT scan.

The doctors have been very forthright with Curtis about the severity of Emily’s condition and their inability to predict anything at this point. They have said that the goal now is to simply wait, to keep Emily sedated, giving her body a chance to heal. They have said we may have to wait 48 – 72 hours before knowing anything more. Last night Curtis asked Emily to squeeze his hand, which she did; the nurses say this is a good sign and Curtis has felt some reassurance from it. Curtis is doing exceptionally well, he’s been staying at the hospital in a room they set up for him near Emily. He’s able to spend most of his time with her in the ICU and also visit the baby in the nursery. Of course their children are not allowed in the ICU so they haven’t seen Emily since shortly after the baby was born. Curtis hasn’t told them much about the seriousness of the situation, choosing instead to give them age-appropriate information. Thankfully, Emily's mom and three of Curtis' sisters, Christy, Cathy, and Laurel have been able to manage caring for the 5 older kids and trading off going to the hospital to be with Curtis. His mother will be arriving tomorrow to help also.

As I’ve been writing this email to you I received a great phone call from Cathy sister, reporting the following: While Curtis, Christy, Cathy, and Laurel were in the ICU trying to communicate with Emily around 5:30pm she was able to squeeze their hands, tilt her head in the direction of the person speaking to her, and attempt to open her eyes. They then noticed that she was fidgeting with her left hand (Emily is left-handed), when asked if she wanted to write something she indicated “yes.” They gave her a pen and paper and she slowly scrawled out “I want to nurse.” This is such great news!!! Her cognitive skills appear to be intact and her mothering desires ridiculously unstoppable (the nurse told her she’ll have to wait until she’s not on so many drugs). We pray this is a sign that things are on the upswing as we are all exhausted from the down. It will be a relief when the medical news (CAT scans and platelet counts) fall in line with this amazing event. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

The birth of Baby Flake #6

Below are pictures of Curtis and Emily's sweet little daughter. She doesn’t have a name yet but I’m sure will be given one soon. She is perfect in every way and will be going home tomorrow evening where Curtis' mom, 3 sisters: Christy, Cathy and Laurel, and Emily’s mom will help care for her. At birth she weighed 6 lbs. 8 oz. and was 19 ½ inches long. Curtis says she is the most calm, peaceful baby of all their 6 children. The nurses have been doing a great job caring for her while she’s been in the hospital and it’s be nice for Curtis to have her so close by while he stays near Emily in the ICU.

Baby Pictures

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