Swallow study coming up!

This guy right here has a swallow study coming up this month. Hopefully he doesn’t end with any respiratory problems between now and then. We was told if he does have any respiratory issues the appointment would be canceled. His study is on July 19. So please keep Superman in your prayers and positive thoughts that he stays healthy between now and his appointment. This will determine if the ng tube can be removed. Now all we have do is get him up on his feet and walking on his own.

Superman is bad!

Superman decided he didn’t like the tube down his nose anymore so he removed it. He is getting a break from it right now, but at five it has to be replaced for for his feeding. I hope it goes well, because he he getting back to his bad self again. I can say one thing, I’m proud of how hard he is working in therapy. Please keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming.

đź’śUpdate on Superman đź’ś

So, Superman had his breathing tube removed today but it didn’t last too long they had to put it right back in because he wasn’t ready for it to come out. They took him off his rubinol which is for drooling. They put him back on it today. To help with all the secretions. They said they would try again in a couple days. We have been here since Halloween so that makes it twelve so far. I wish they figure something out. Especially what is causing the fevers. Still no explanation for them. They have done almost every test they can think of. They are calling him a mystery. I don’t know what to think about that. I wish they would figure something out and bring my Superman back to me. Please continue to pray and send positive thoughts. Thank you!

Another update on Superman!!!

He is starting show signs of waking up. His right pupil is responding to light finally. His left pupil is still a little dilated from them checking his eyes to make sure it wasn’t bleeding behind it. He has been having spikes on the eeg but they still seem to be seizure activity. I will know more once neurology team does rounds. One again thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts. I just ask for continued prayers and positive thoughts. đź’ś

Bus training!

The bus is coming to the house tomorrow to train me on how to put Dylan on the bus. I don’t think I have a problem putting him on the bus. I have a problem with the bus aids who just stand there and do nothing. They should already be trained to handle special needs children since they are working on a bus that transports special needs children.

The Real Superman Part XVIII

By Jeff King

Charlotte is a little girl that suffered the same intractable seizures that Dylan has, but quite possibly worse than what Dylan has. She was having up to 300 seizures in a week, and she was incapable of doing anything, but having seizures. Her parent’s the Figis tried everything possible to give their little girl a chance at a normal life. They even tried the ketogenic diet, which actually was spear-headed by Dylan’s neurologist, Dr. James Rubenstein. We actually considered this diet for Dylan, but Dr. Rubenstein didn’t think Dylan could benefit from it, since Dylan loves to eat. That is one thing that he loves to do. His favorite food has got to be egg salad, but he loves any bread, therefore, the diet would be very hard and expensive to implement, and we just don’t have the finances to incorporate it into Dylan’s diet. That being said, the Figis tried this diet, but it didn’t work for poor Charlotte, then they discovered a something that seemed to prove very promising to them. Charlotte’s parents found out that there was a boy being treated for Dravet syndrome (Intractable epilepsy) with a form of Cannabis oil that was low in tetrahydrocannabinol, but high in cannabidiol. This was actually working for this child and it had reduced his seizures by half. Charlotte’s parents found a dispensary in Denver and paid for a high strain of Marijuana and employed a friend to extract the oil for them. They tried it on Charlotte and immediately they began to see results. Charlotte went several hours without any seizures and then several days went by; still no seizures. They had discovered a medical miracle. Charlotte’s life was forever changed. She is able to walk, talk, and do all the things a normal child is able to do. To read more about Charlotte’s amazing story please go to this link http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/. Upon reading little Charlotte’s story I was so overwhelmed with joy. For the first time, I felt like there is certainly hope for Dylan. I shared the story with Terri.

We both did more research and found hundreds of cases like Charlotte where this CBD oil was working wonders on people with intractable seizures. Where other medications wouldn’t work, this stuff was working, and without all the negative side effects that these man-made poisons were causing in our children. There is only one problem, medical marijuana isn’t legal in the state of Maryland, at least not at the time that we were researching it. They have since legalized medical marijuana in our state, but, the oil is still not legal.

We even considered selling our house and moving to a state where it was legal, however, I am a permanent substitute teacher and I only make 22, 200 dollars a year. Terri doesn’t work, because someone has to be home at all times in case Dylan gets sick and needs to stay home. We do get about 650.00 a month in social security for Dylan, but that is based on my income. The more I make, the less that they give him. It is a vicious cycle and they have put us through the wringer at least once a year since we have started getting it for him. The actually act like the money is coming out of their pockets. The social security administration is the worst government entity that I have ever had to deal with. I will explain that in a later post though.

Anyway, we decided that it just wasn’t feasible to sell our house, which our mortgage is only 650.00 per month, because it is a town house that I bought as an estate sale. We bought what we knew we could afford at the time. We only had two children then and this is the only house that Dylan has ever known, unlike our other two children, but anyhow, my two other children were in high school, so we really didn’t want to pull up roots and move them somewhere else; let alone another state.

My daughter Destiny graduated with honors this year and wants to be an early education teacher, which she decided since she has had to learn to help take care of Dylan at an early age, so she feels drawn into the education field. We are very proud of her. Our son Dacota will be a senior when school starts again in August. He is thinking about taking up graphic art and design. He is actually good at this already. We are also very proud of him. These two children have grown up knowing what it is like to love and care for a person that has special needs. It has helped them to develop real compassion and ultimate character traits. We sure didn’t want to move, because it just wouldn’t have been fair to them. So for now, we have been writing letters to state and local legislators trying to convince them to champion our cause to get this Charlotte’s Web oil legalized here in Maryland. I am even thinking about including a poll on the blog and asking people to vote, so we can present it to our congressman.

I recently became concerned with another issue that we were facing with Dylan. He is a growing boy and he is very solid. The last time he was weighed he already weighed 95 pounds. This may not seem like a big deal, but our room is upstairs, and yes, he still sleeps with us, because as I said in an earlier post, that we became concerned that he may stop breathing in his sleep, so Terri and I decided that it would be best for him to sleep with us, so that we can monitor him through the night. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about these sort of thing, but, it is what it is. I have been obese for the past two years and hadn’t been really strong enough to continue to lift Dylan up to take him up to bed when he fell asleep downstairs, so in February of this year, I began a diet and exercise program in which I have lost over 30 pounds. I have gained more muscle. I have recently contacted some companies to see if they wanted to exchange products for a review on my blog, so I will be adding those reviews whenever I receive these companies’ products. I figured I needed to get stronger and healthier so that I can do everything in my power to be around for Dylan as long as I can possibly be. As I stated in a previous post. I made a promise to him, that as long as I had a breath in my body and a beat in my heart, I would never place Dylan in a healthcare facility. I will continue to keep everyone updated about the Charlotte’s Web oil and these companies’ products. I am also interested in other things which could be helpful for Dylan and would appreciate any ideas, or feedback that anyone may have! Thank You! Please continue this journey with us and as always we appreciate your comments and feedback. (The Real Superman will as always be continued.)

The Real Superman Part XVII

The Real Superman Part XVII

By Jeff King

Whenever Dylan gets sick, he usually has increase seizure activity. That is one way we know that something is wrong with him. Since he can no longer speak we’re unable to know how he is feeling. He cannot tell us if his tummy aches or his head is hurting, or he has an earache. We’re always worried if something major happens, how we are going to know what’s wrong with him. For example, my appendix burst and I had to be rushed to the hospital and have an emergency Appendectomy. I knew something was wrong because my right side was in excruciating pain, and I was running a fever, but sometimes when Dylan is sick, we don’t even know it, because he never cries. He had quite a few ear infections where he ran a slight fever, but he didn’t really show any indication that he was in pain. He started having an increase in seizures, so we decided to take him to the doctors. When his pediatrician examined him, he discovered that he had an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics to clear it up. This has happened around twenty or more times when he was a little younger. We tried to have tubes put in his ears, but the hospital that we took him to refused to do it until he was seizure free for a month. This is impossible, he hasn’t been seizure free longer than a few weeks, and that was right after he started taking Vimpat, which was probably do to a combination of the Vimpat, Keppra, and the VNS. We thought that the Vimpat was going to be the magical cure for Dylan’s seizures, but, as usual once his body was used to the medicine, the seizures returned. Anyway, Dylan slept for about 12 hours one day. We knew something was wrong and we checked him out. He had a fever and we decided to take him to a local clinic to get him checked out.

We arrived at the clinic and checked him in. We waited about half an hour until he was called back to be examined by the on call physician that day. She checked him over and afterwards informed us that Dylan had an ear infection. She prescribed Bactrim which is a sulfur type antibiotic. We took him home and began to give it to him. The next morning Dylan was on fire his temperature was 103 and he had hives all over his face and body. We took him back to the clinic to see what was going on with him. The physician on call was a different one than the previous day. He looked at Dylan and said that they were going to call an ambulance and have Dylan transferred to the emergency room to the hospital where my wife had her surgery, where the doctor butchered her. I yelled at the physician, “Hell no, I am not taking my son to the butcher shop! I wouldn’t take my enemy there, or even a dog!” He looked surprised and asked if I was refusing to have him transferred there? I told him, “Hell yeah, I am!” and grabbed Dylan off the examining table hoisted him over my shoulder and carried him out to the car. I buckled him into his seatbelt and he, Terri, and I drove up to John Hopkins Emergency children’s center. They quickly took him into an examining room and immediately a doctor came in to examine him. She took one look at Dylan and said, “He looks like he has Stephen Johnson Syndrome and he would need to be admitted right away. A nurse came in and started an IV drip which had an antibiotic in it.

Dylan was hospitalized for a week and we were told he did indeed have Stephen Johnson Syndrome which was caused by the Bactrim. The time Dylan was in the hospital he lost some weight, because he had lost his appetite. This all took place right before Christmas, and Terri had to stay with him for the week while I worked and had to be home to take care of my other two children. I contacted the clinic and told them that they nearly killed my son and that I was going to put in a complaint against them. We had told them that Dylan had some allergies to certain medicine’s and the doctor at John Hopkins told us since Dylan was allergic to Trileptal then the doctor at the clinic should have known that Dylan would have been allergic to the Bactrim, because it had a similar chemical compound.

Dylan always seems to get some kind of sickness around the Christmas holiday. I mean I know he doesn’t intentionally make himself sick, it just seems like that is the times he is most likely to get sick. The worst thing for us is the fact that he can’t come up to us and say, “Mom, Dad, I am not feeling well.” The fact is most of the time when he does get sick, we don’t know he is. This little boy can be sick, or even have a fever and the majority of the time, he will still be running around between the living room and the dining room playing with his toys. We have to have great discernment skills to find out when he’s sick. As I said before, one way we know something is wrong with him, is he often has more seizures, but what we would give to have Dylan become seizure free. There is some hope we feel available and it is called Charlotte’s Web. (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part XIII

By Jeff King

December 22nd, 2011 was finally here. We took Dylan to his surgery appointment early that morning at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. We had to be there by 6:00 AM to get him prepared for the VNS. My wife and I was quite nervous about this procedure. We had researched it and we knew that he was at the top hospital in the world. With the top neurological surgeon for children, George Jallo. Who is also the Clinical Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and a Professor of Neurosurgery. This guy is the best in this field and he has the credentials to prove it. We were still very worried. We prayed and waited with Dylan until the anesthesiologist showed up. He had his own team that he brought with him. They assured us that Dylan was in good hands. Of course we were concerned after what Terri had went through, but this was the hospital that I had taken her to. This was where the surgeon who had put her back together once practiced at. He had moved on to another hospital, but he had designed the surgery that saved my wife’s life Dr. Charles Yeo was a miracle worker and we were sure that Dr. Jallo was cut from the same cloth. He worked at the same hospital. The hospital that people from all over the world come to when they want to get well! Dylan was in good hands indeed.

The surgery took about three hours and the Doctors assistant kept us informed throughout the surgery. This is definitely a first class hospital and they deserve every award they receive.

After about three hours the Doctor came out and told us himself that everything went well and that they were getting ready to transfer Dylan into recovery. It took about a half an hour before a nurse came out and got us and took us to Dylan. He was out like a light and we examined is tiny body. He had a scar that ran up the left side of his chest to just under his chin. It looked like someone had cut his throat. It was a little disturbing looking to us. Dylan was out for about an hour before he finally woke from his drug induced slumber. We thought he would wake up crying or screaming, but, no, he didn’t. Like some sort of Friday the 13th movie Dylan sat up like Jason Voorhees. He was ready to get up and go. We gave him some juice and he drank it down like it was nothing.

Almost immediately we noticed a difference in Dylan. The first few weeks we almost had the old Dylan back. He was more alert and for the first time in over a year he was seizure free! Our thoughts were, “finally, we have found the magic bullet. This would surely be the golden cure that we were looking for. We took him to Dr. Rubenstein over the next several weeks so that he could adjust the stimulator. He was amazed how well the surgery went and how well Dylan was doing. He witnessed Dylan trying to communicate again. He wasn’t talking yet, but he was definitely more vocal and we truly believed that soon, he would talk once again. Finally our son had returned. How I missed that boy.

Dylan was more animated than he had been in over a year. He was walking around and moving at will. He began to play with some of the toys that had been lying dormant for the past year. We were definitely witnessing our second miracle; the first one being the day he started running. What we didn’t know that this too was only a temporary fix and that the seizures would be back with a fiery vengeance in about 4 months. (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part X

The Real Superman Part X

By Jeff King

Over the next several month’s Dylan continued to have seizures he had Grand Mal, Absence, Myoclonic, Clonic, Tonic, atonic. You name it, he had it. The seizure activity was so frequent, my wife and I often wondered how long can Dylan survive like this. These dark, demonic beast had taken control over my son’s body and mind. Between the Clonazepam, and the seizures, this little boy was absolutely fried. I remember crying leave him the hell alone! After he would shake and violently convulse. I felt like Father Damien Karras in the Exorcists when Regan was convulsing and being distorted by the demon that had possessed her! I to screamed out “Take me! Come into me!” Leave him the hell alone!  He doesn’t deserve this! He hasn’t done one thing to deserve this! He is an innocent child! This demon was slowly consuming my baby and I felt powerless. I couldn’t do a damn thing to help him. What a dark feeling. I felt like the Devil himself had come to dwell in our household. This sinister being that held my son hostage had made me realize that this was indeed a dire situation. I started remembering the scriptures “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Acts 19:15 I felt just like one of the Seven Sons of Sceva, because this beast didn’t know me, but it sure was very acquainted with my son and this demon wasn’t going anywhere. I remember the words that Jesus had spoken in Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” I had prayed, I had fasted I had done everything that I could possibly think of doing, but this one wasn’t going a damn place. It sure wasn’t going back to the hell that it came from, but it did bring hell with it and it was unleashing every dark power it could unto my son and all we could do is watch helplessly! “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I cried those very words. It stung my heart. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness had taken control of me and my wife. We weren’t just walking through the valley of the shadow of death we were neck deep in the mire of it!

We went back to the neurologist who now prescribed another medication that was supposed to be great for seizures. It was called Keppra and it isn’t a good drug either.  Some of the side effects are horrible and Dylan was becoming more and more non-verbal so he didn’t have a voice to tell us how he was feeling, or what this poison was doing to him. Just some of the side effects were: Hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, suicidal thoughts, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness; feeling very weak or tired, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat, problems with walking or movement

Imagine your child taking a medication approved by the FDA that can cause hallucinations or suicidal thoughts and your child cannot tell you how he’s feeling? Over the first several weeks on this poison Dylan began to bruise more easily every time we turned around Dylan had a new bruise on another part of his body. This certainly wasn’t the worst of it though. Dylan became weak and very lethargic. He would simply lay on the couch and didn’t do anything. He didn’t even enjoy watching any of his cartoons anymore. The little boy who was once so happy and lively had become a shell of his former self. I cried often. As a man society seems to believe that if you cry then it is a sign of weakness. I didn’t give a damn about what society thought about me. My son who once was filled with such joy and love was now this empty being that was now impassive and cold. His beautiful voice was now gone and would never return. The singing had stopped, the laughter had stopped the joy ceased to exist. We were left with memories of a different Dylan. A Dylan that used to run and play and joke and sing and talk and laugh. These demons had robbed his very soul. Between the poisons we were pumping into his body and the seizures which still had control over him, my little boy was gone! Terri and I went through the 5 phases of grief all over again; only this time it seemed much worse.

This had an effect on the entire family. The kids stopped playing with Dylan, because, he wasn’t interested in playing or really doing anything. He would just lay around. At school he regressed and no longer did anything that he used to. The teachers let him sleep most of the time, because the seizure activity was so bad that he would seize sometimes up to fifty times a day and that was with the two medications that he was on. We now had gotten him a wheel chair, because he could no longer walk. Just a few short years ago, Dylan ran in the Special Olympics. This child couldn’t even crawl, let alone walk!

This was indeed one of the darkest times in our lives. The journey we were on had driven us across an arid desolate wilderness. There were no oasis in site and we were getting ready to climb the highest mountain facing the toughest terrain that we would have to encounter yet. If there were a light at the end of this tunnel we had not spotted it yet. We were left forsaken and alone, but we had to continue to trudge on.

The Real Superman Part VIIII

The Real Superman Part VIIII

By Jeff King

We made an appointment to see a Neurologist at Sinai hospital in Baltimore city. The Neurologist was supposedly one of the best around. We met him and he had all of Dylan’s hospital records from the previous seven years. Our first impression was a good one of this gentleman. He seemed very knowledgeable and genuinely caring. He played with Dylan and made us feel at ease. He talked about a treatment program that we should start and the first medicine he prescribed for Dylan was a seizure medication known as Lamictal. Lamictal would have the least effect on Dylan’s cognitive skills, so the neurologist explained. We began to give him this new medicine and right away, the seizures stopped. He was doing so well on this medication. We felt like the seizure activity that he had been experiencing was just a little hic up in his overall health, but now with this new medication, he would be back on track.

He continued to make progress and the seizures hadn’t effected his cognitive skills as of yet. He was loving on a new show Yo Gabba Gabba and his favorite character on this program was a little fuzzy monster-like dude named Broobie. Dylan quickly learned the songs on this show and began to sing them. His favorite was called “Party in my Tummy” I still remember Dylan saying, “Does the green beans want to go to the party in my tummy?” He would wait several seconds before answering that question, “Yeah” then he’d break into the song, “There’s a party in my tummy, so yummy, so ,yummy, there’s a party in my tummy!” You get the gist of it.

We weren’t really concerned about Dylan’s cognitive skills. He continued to learn how to say words and use sentences. We understood that most of his language was mimicking what he heard, but, he did know and understand so much. Maybe we should have been more concerned, but at the time there was no indication that he would regress and become nonverbal.

After about two weeks of taking the Lamictal Terri noticed a slight rash around his mouth. We weren’t sure what it was so she called the neurologist to voice our concerns. He asked us to watch him overnight and see if the rash got worse. He never told us to stop giving Dylan the Lamictal. The next day the rash had spread all over his body and he was covered in big blotches. His skin looked as if he had an extreme sunburn. We called the neurologist and he told us to bring him into his office right away. We took him into his office and he said, “I was hoping that this wasn’t going to happen? He’s having an allergic reaction to the medication. He then prescribed some antibiotics to begin giving to Dylan right away. He told us to discontinue the Lamictal. We took him home and gave him the antibiotic. It was about a week before he was better. The neurologist then prescribed Clonazepam tablets to begin giving him. These things would begin to have Dylan spacing out. He slowly began his dark decent into an abysmal place where we weren’t sure if we could ever get him back from.

We had gone through some very tough times before Dylan began to have these seizures. I have already mentioned how Terri went into the hospital to have surgery to remove her gallbladder. It was supposed to be a very quick and easy procedure; a same day procedure. It would be done with the doctor using endoscopic surgery. This minimally invasive surgery was supposed to be an easier and safer way for Terri to have her gallbladder removed, however, the surgeon ended up cutting a bile duct and bile from her liver began draining into her stomach. She nearly died and she had to be transferred to John Hopkins Hospital where a well renowned surgeon who had invented the surgery to fix her practiced at. He saved her life. I touched on this just a little, because about three years after Dylan was born, Terri developed a pretty big hernia, most likely from carrying around Dylan. She had to schedule another surgery with the doctor who had created a new bile duct using part of her large intestine to do it. He would perform the hernia operation, because, we didn’t trust any other hospital or doctor around. She had complications and ended up in the hospital for two weeks. She was so upset, because she kept thinking Dylan would forget who she was. He slept with me on the couch for those two weeks, which was a binding experience for the both of us.

When Terri was released from the hospital, I tried to take some time off the job I had been working for the last ten months, but, because I hadn’t been there for the entire year, I was told by their HR department that I could not do it. I had no choice to resign to take care of Terri and the children. It was a tough dark time in our lives. I can’t mention the name of the company I was working for at the time, because they may sue me if I was to, but let’s just say that they were an up and coming Baltimore Clothing company that has ties to the NFL and whose clothes can now be seen in movies, and even other sports franchises. They were not very family friendly and it is sad that the owner got rich off the backs of his workers and didn’t care if those workers had families or more important things to attend to. I could say Karma is well you know. I know I am being so cliché. Anyway, it is my sincerest hope that the owner will one day reap what he has sown!

I mention these things only because it sets the events in the story of what troubles we would have to face next. We as a family had continuously walked through the shadows, but each and every time we came out holding tight to the light of a promise. A promise of a new and brighter day. Little did we know that this struggle was just getting started. (To be continued.)