The Journey to Discovering HBOT

Bacteria called group B Streptococcus (group B strep, GBS) commonly live in people’s gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Most of the time the bacteria are not harmful and do not make people feel sick or have any symptoms. Sometimes the bacteria can invade the body and cause certain infections. How people spread GBS bacteria to others is generally unknown. However, experts know that pregnant women can pass the bacteria to their babies during delivery.

Doctors worked to treat Kara’s GBS infection while she was in labor. Unfortunately, they did not realize that the infection had already spread to her baby’s placenta until it was too late. While she was giving birth, Kara’s baby girl, Melody, became stressed and she lost oxygen to her brain as her heart rate dropped from 140 bpm to 30 bpm. Kara’s OB was not yet in the building and by the time they got a specialist to her, Melody had been without oxygen for over 20 minutes.

Due to the trauma from the delivery, Melody has had to deal with a host of conditions and setbacks; most notably that of the condition Lissencephaly. Lissencephaly is a rare, brain malformation characterized by the absence of convolutions (folds) in the cerebral cortex. The word lissencephaly literally means “smooth brain.” Lissencephaly is caused by defective neuronal migration during embryonic development, the process through which nerve cells move from their place of origin to a permanent location within cerebral cortex gray matter.

The Lissencephaly caused Melody to have severe seizures resulting in respiratory distress affecting her lungs. She has difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, slow physical development, and significant psychomotor impairment. Melody is not able to do daily tasks and is dependent on her parents to help her with all her physical needs.

Melody’s journey to discover Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) at Sara’s Garden happened completely by accident. When Melody was six years old, her parents began searching for possible schools that could meet Melody’s needs and help in her continued therapies, intervention, and development. They arrived here to check out the school, New Horizon Academy. While meeting with the admissions coordinator, they learned all the services that were available between the school and Sara’s Garden. They were intrigued upon hearing about the benefits that HBOT treatments could provide. They were willing to try anything if it would help alleviate Melody’s seizures, improve her muscle tone, and reduce her muscle spasms. Little did they know how much it would help her.

By the second day of treatments, they started noticing significant changes in Melody. The muscle spasms and twitches that she had plagued Melody her entire life began subsiding. Melody’s muscle tone had always so tight and caused her so much discomfort that she would fight her parents to wear her AFOs or even sit in her wheelchair. By the end of the first week of treatments, they noticed a complete change. Melody was now wearing her AFOs 5 hours a day.

Melody did 20 treatments during her initial visit to Sara’s Garden in October. They returned a few months later in February for an additional 10 treatments and followed up with 20 more treatments the following June. Her family cannot believe the amazing results they saw in her. Even her therapists back home were shocked at the results upon seeing her again. She is now thriving at accomplishing tasks. Before coming to Sara’s Garden, Melody had never walked, talked, ate independently, or played with objects. This was the first school year where she has accomplished virtually all her IEP goals. Her motor skills have improved to the point that she is now pulling objects out of a bucket and making purposeful movements in her gait trainer (even moving it on her own). She no longer has severe muscle tone issues and has been using communication boards to effectively communicate with those around her.

Her sleep habits improved as well as she began sleeping throughout the entire night. This was the first time in her life that she had ever slept so well. Melody is now more alert and awake throughout the day. Most exciting, is that Melody had experienced multiple seizures leading up to her time at Sara’s Garden. She has now gone six months without any seizure activity after completing her treatments.

Melody’s mom stated, “The staff here at Sara’s Garden has been hands down amazing and supportive. Trusting them to take care of my baby girl was so hard because she had never away from us. They understood our fears and accommodated our needs. They were so easy to talk to and made the whole process so much easier for us. I appreciate everything they are doing at Sara’s Garden and will continue to come back to keep pushing our daughter to advance even further. It’s so worth giving HBOT a try!”

Thanks to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden, Melody’s family now has hope for a more independent future for their daughter! 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.

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