Some Heroes Come in Small Packages
Preparing to move your family across the country because of a new job opportunity can be a very stressful time. Doing so while your newborn son, delivered after only 24 weeks, is fighting for his life in the NICU adds a whole new level of stress to the situation.
After a seemingly textbook pregnancy, Seryna went into labor at 22 weeks as her husband was in the process of relocating their family from California to Ohio. She was rushed to the hospital where they were told that her son, Caleb, had very little chance of surviving. They were strongly urged to abort the pregnancy as their son was not considered viable.
Despite having what appeared to be insurmountable odds stacked against him, Caleb held on in the womb for another two weeks. At first, it appeared that he was doing very well for a preemie born so early. Then one night, Randy and Seryna received devastating news that Caleb had contracted a deadly virus and was in renal failure. The doctors explained that they had done everything they possibly could to save Caleb’s life. They were told that there was nothing left to try.
Refusing to give up hope, they had Caleb transferred to the highest-level trauma center in California. As the doctors treated Caleb for the infection that was causing his kidneys to fail, they discovered that his left lung had completely collapsed and his right lung was beginning to disintegrate due to the added stress. They were again cautioned that Caleb’s chances for survival were extremely low. If by some chance he did manage to survive, they were told that the trauma he had endured would leave him neurologically devastated.
Randy and Seryna refused to give up hope. They were committed praying and advocating for Caleb as long as he continued to fight… and fight he did. Caleb’s lung miraculously reopened on its own without the need for surgery. Just as Caleb began to stabilize, Randy had to make the move to Ohio on his own to start his new job, leaving Seryna to watch over Caleb and oversee the final sale of their home.
After nearly seven months in the hospital in California, Caleb and Seryna were Angel Flighted to Toledo, Ohio where Caleb spent yet another four months in pediatric intensive care before receiving the long-awaited release to go home. While it was a tremendous blessing to finally be able to take Caleb home, the road ahead of Caleb was still long and full of many challenges. Losing the amazing team of nurses, doctors, therapists, and specialists was overwhelming. They had to quickly learn how to work with his ventilator, air concentrator, suction machine and pulse oximeter in addition to the around the clock trach changes, feeding tubes and medications.
Over the next few years, Caleb continued his heroic battle to defy the doctors’ original prognosis for his development and quality of life. He grew bigger and stronger and fought through all of the scary moments involving calls to 911 and hospital visits. Randy and Seryna never stopped researching therapies and interventions that would provide Caleb with the best chance of overcoming the challenges before him. Their journey ultimately led them to Sara’s Garden. They were encouraged to learn about the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and believed this treatment could be crucial for Caleb’s healing and development.
Seryna was thrilled to notice that throughout Caleb’s hyperbaric treatments, he began developing improved language, eye contact and focus. He started asking for things when he wanted them. His spontaneous language, which had been limited to only a few single words, increased dramatically and began expanding into phrases. Seryna stated that “It’s like he finally launched and everything he has been working on his entire life is now connecting and making sense to him.”
Since completing hyperbaric treatments, Caleb’s teachers also noticed significant changes in him. He began responding appropriately to needs and questions with no prompting or scripting. He started trying to solve problems on his own and no longer needed hand over hand correction in order to follow directions from the teachers. Additionally, his attention span for playing games, exploring toys and working on tasks went from only 1-2 minutes to over 20 minutes. According to the LaDues, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden has provided them with a “whole new level of hope.”
No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.