UPDATED: FEBRUARY 2010
1. We would find a very good preschool program for Zachary
2. He would make big new strides in his physical capabilities now that he has botox and phenol again
3. That we can keep him off of spasticity medications for as long as possible (maybe forever)
4. Zachary would start making leaps and bounds with his verbalization skills
5. We would be able to raise enough funds to get him adult stem cell treatment
1. Zachary learned to say "Car"
2. Zachary can blow air out his mouth on purpose - was able to make a recorder whistle
3. We found a wheelchair on Craigslist that was adjusted for him and "will do" for preschool
4. We are next on the Medicaid waitlist (and may be approved for Medicaid soon - also prayer request that we will be)
Five and a half weeks before his due date, Zachary became extremely stressed in the womb and ceased to move. Renee had complications (high blood pressure, onset of preclampsia) toward the 33rd - 34th week of gestation. On March 8, 2007, at the 35th week of gestation, Zachary was born by emergency c-section weighing only 3 lbs 7oz – extremely small for his gestational age. He was near heart-failure and could have died if he went one more day in the womb. Doctors said his measurements were that of an 8-weeks early baby, not 5-weeks due to in-utero growth retardation.
Unable to breath on his own, doctors rushed him to the Neo-Natal-Intensive-Care-Unit and put him on a ventilator. It took an hour from birth until he was properly intubated with oxygen with his lungs opening correctly. That night, he was transferred to the NICU at the Denver Children’s Hospital. For the next 30 days, Zachary stayed in an incubator and slowly began growing stronger and healthier every day.
In the beginning of April, Zach came home to us weighing only 4 lbs. 5 oz. He was beautiful and healthy. As time went on, we began noticing concerning movements and behavior – poor head control after three months of age, arching of the back, stiff muscles, pointing his toes downward all the time, crossed eyes, clenched fisting of hands, scissoring of legs.
These symptoms built up to a parents’ worst nightmare - spasm-seizures that began on Oct. 3. They were jack-knife convulsions that forced his hands up, his eyes to roll back, and his torso to collapse forward. It was called West Syndrome, a form of infant epilepsy, and the seizures would happen every 5-10 seconds for 5 minute sessions. An MRI revealed severe brain damage and Zachary was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy – it was the cause of the seizures and the beginning of our ‘special needs’ journey. Because of the brain damage, Zachary has a considerable amount of disruption between his cortex and nervous system communications. It is a significant neurological problem and it is life-long – it cannot be cured.
After two months of intensive medication treatment, including another 8-day hospital stay, Zachary stopped having seizures. To this day, he has remained seizure free. But he still has many other obstacles to overcome – many therapies, special medical equipment, much special attention, many doctors’ appointments ahead, and a lot of intense learning. However, the Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ, has been with us every step of the way, listening and answering prayers throughout this time. And with Him, all things are possible. As parents, we intend to get Zachary all the therapy and treatment we possibly can to help him in all ways during his growth and development. It is our goal to provide him with the best quality of life possible given his condition.
Today, Zachary goes through a regiment of Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapies along with Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Treatment, Chiropractic care, Botox & Phenol treatment to help his stiff muscles, and eye surgeries to correct his strabismus. He's approaching 2 years old in March 2009 and he's a happy little boy full of joy.