July 07, 2015

Treatment #40

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment has been a long and steady journey. Each day, 5 days a week, Garren and either I or Nancy have been sitting in that chamber for 90 minutes, while Garren breathes 100% oxygen. We have had lots of time for reading, napping, and watching the minutes tick by. We are often asked "How's Garren's treatments going?" I'd love to have a definite answer, but the truth is, we don't really know for sure.

Originally the doctor recommended 40 treatments, followed by a reassessment to determine whether or not to continue. As treatment #40 approached, we were able to discuss things with the doctor. He relies very much on our observation of Garren. Has anything change? Do we notice anything new? What does Garren think?

We have seen some improvements, small but profound. I mentioned earlier the healed lip which had been unable to heal for almost 2 years. The left side of Garren's face has lifted, making his smile more symmetrical. Garren says he feels more energy, and that he can tell a difference in his balance. Small things like this tell us that something is happening. But it is difficult to determine how much.

Our biggest prayer for Garren is that he would regain the ability to swallow. A close second is the ability to balance and walk by himself. We are setting up an appointment with Garren's speech therapist to perform a swallow test. It's been over a year since we've had this done. The last time we did this, his therapist had seen some small changes over the previous swallow test. We are hopeful that there will be more improvement this time.

Garren 40th treatment was today.  We have decided at this point, per the doctor's recommendation to take 3-4 weeks off from the oxygen therapy. This will give Garren's body a chance to "catch up" to the treatments and continue to heal. After that we will probably continue with 20 more treatments.

We want to thank you all so much for your continued support, prayers and encouragement. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you!

June 12, 2015

Garren's Walk

Yesterday Garren took the walk he's been waiting to take for 18 years: high school graduation! We are so proud of him! We are so thankful that we were able to witness what we saw yesterday.

There was a time when we didn't know if it would even be possible. Garren has spent his 4 years of high school in a wheelchair. Freshman year it was a motor chair, controlled by moving a joystick with his right hand. By his senior year Garren was able to move himself around in his manual chair. In class he often transferred from his wheelchair into a desk like everyone else. He even took weightlifting, bench pressing up to 200 lbs by the end of the year!

Garren has been using his walker more and more around the house. He has really seen improvement recently. We are certain that the hyperbaric oxygen treatments are having a positive effect. Garren even said that he can tell that he has better balance.

A couple of months ago when we had a conversation with the school about how to get Garren across the stage for graduation, we told them that Garren wanted to walk. Of course they were elated at the idea. The staff at Piedmont High School has gone above and beyond to make sure Garren has had everything he needed to complete his high school career. They wanted to see him finish big.

As the graduates lined up to receive their diplomas, Garren rolled his chair to the bottom of the stairs. With the help of Mr. Capers (Garren's assistant throughout high school) he made his way to the top of the stairs where his walker was waiting. Garren grabbed ahold of his walker and paused while the vice-principal announced his name - "Garren Michael Janes." Then he started his walk, one step at a time, until he reached Mr. Tyson, the principal. After about 3 steps, people began clapping. Then more joined in. One of the seniors sitting on the front row stood to his feet. Then several more joined him. By the time Garren reached the center of the stage where he would shake hands with Mr. Tyson and receive his diploma, every person in the arena was on their feet!

It was an amazing moment, a moment that could not have happened apart from the generous grace of our God in heaven.

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support. We would not be where we are without you.

May 27, 2015

Hyperbaric Treatment Update - Day 16

We are continuing our journey of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. We just completed day 16 today. Garren is adjusting well to the treatments. We are now consistently at 2.0 atmospheres (equivalent of approx. 34 feet under water) for 1.5 hours (up from 1 hour when we first started). We are experiencing very little issues with ears clearing.

We are not expecting to see any significant changes until after at least 20 treatments, but to date here are some observations:
  • Garren had a split in his lower lip from a fall 2 years ago that just would not heal. Since beginning the treatments his lip is completely healed. 
  • Garren said that he has noticed more awareness of his balance (or lack thereof).
  • We see more symmetry in his face, blink and smile. His left side used to droop slightly and the blink was slower on that side. 
  • He has noticed his energy level and stamina have increased.  
We thank God for this progress and wait expectantly to see what's next. We continue to be so thankful for your continued prayers and financial support.