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.

May 13, 2015

Week 1 Complete

We made it through the first 5 treatments. After taking one day off, the doctor felt like the twitching was not even related to the treatments, and was comfortable with allowing Garren to continue. On day 5 (yesterday) Nancy was introduced to the chamber for the first time. There are a couple of days that I will not be able to get in with Garren, so yesterday was Nancy's opportunity to get in and start getting used to it.

While in the hyperbaric chamber, air pressure is increased in order to simulate being under water. The deeper you go under water, the greater the pressure (remember your high school physics class?) For the first 4 days they took us to a pressure of 1.3 atmospheres, which is the equivalent of about 10 feet underwater. Yesterday they took us to a pressure of 1.5 atmospheres (about 17 feet). Tomorrow we are going even deeper, to 1.75 atmospheres (about 25 feet). The deeper you go, the greater the pressure, the more effective the treatment.

They say it usually takes 15-20 treatments before we will begin to notice any significant changes. So we will continue to go through the treatments, trusting that God will use this to bring healing to Garren's body. So far we are thankful that we are able to tolerate the pressure and have had no issues with the treatments.

Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement!

May 06, 2015

Good Twitch? Or Bad Twitch? - Day 2

Day 2 in the chamber went according to plan. That is until we got out. As we were leaving, the technician who has been working with us noticed Garren's left cheek was twitching. (You know how sometimes your muscles will spasm? It was doing that).  Not constantly, but enough that she saw it and started asking about it. Nancy and I had noticed it after the first day. We assumed it must be something happening as a result of the treatment.

The technician wanted the doctor to see it, so he came it to take a look. His first response was that it could be the onset of a seizure. After talking some more, he decided that it could possibly be a nerve responding to the treatment (good news) or it could be the result of a nerve being damaged (bad news).

The doctor wants to review some more of Garren's medical records before we continue with the treatment. We will skip today, and hopefully resume tomorrow.

Thanks for all you continued prayers in this.

May 05, 2015

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - Day 1

Yesterday we began Garren's newest therapy: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). We had heard about it a couple of times over the past several of years, and recently we came across it again. Nancy looked into it, and found a place in Matthews that offers this treatment.

HBOT is the use of oxygen under pressure to facilitate healing. You can read more about this amazing treatment here. While the treatment looks promising, there is a cost, as insurance companies do not yet cover these treatment for brain injury recovery. God is good, and through the generous gifts of many, we have raised the funds needed to cover the first round.

After an assessment a couple of weeks ago, Dr. Speight determined that Garren is a good candidate for the treatment. So yesterday we began with the first of 40 treatments. We will go every day, 5 days a week. After the first 40 days the doctor will re-evaluate and determine whether or not more treatment will be beneficial.

Here are a couple of pics from our experience yesterday.

The Hyperbaric Chamber
Ready for liftoff!
Garren wears an oxygen hood while he is under pressure.
We both crawled into the chamber, and got as comfortable as we could. They sealed the door, locking us in. Then they began pressurizing the chamber. As we are "diving" we have to continuously "clear" our ears, as the air pressure is constantly changing. Once we are at our target level, I then put the oxygen hood on Garren. This hood allows Garren to breathe 100% oxygen for the time we are in the chamber.

The reason I ride along is to assist Garren when he has to clear his secretions. As you know, he is not yet able to swallow, and in order to spit we have to remove the hood. During our 1 hour dive yesterday we only had to remove the hood 1 time.

Thanks for your continued prayers for Garren. We are excited and hopeful to see how this new treatment works for Garren. We continue to pray for swallowing, as well as progress in his walking.