Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oliver's Story

Oliver's Story:
This is a long one, with many details... so I'll do my best to keep it short and succinct, and without crying on the keyboard!
Oliver was born on Memorial Day (May 25th) 2009. He was born a few weeks early, and born really fast. He "shot out" head to toe on the 2nd push from his amazing mother who delivered him naturally (thankfully) with no drugs to suppress his system.
Unfortunately because he was a bit early and premature, and was delivered so fast (midwife did not catch him, instead he landed on the bed on his head and neck)... he had major breathing issues right from the start. He was not breathing, and was blue and cyanotic.
After all sorts of panic and emergency as you can imagine... Oliver received his first adjustment from me, his dad and a Pediatric Chiropractor, about 2 minutes after birth. It was to his upper back and it allowed him to expel the fluids from his lungs and take his first breaths.
Fast forwarding, after an hour of working to get him better and nursing and working on his own... he crashed again. Once again he stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. CPR was done and he was rushed away by emergency providers. He would end up being life-flighted to a Level 3 NICU in Rockford, IL.
There it was confirmed that Oliver had PPHN, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension, meaning that his lungs weren't getting enough blood through them (too constricted) and therefore his brain and body weren't getting enough oxygen to function. They immediately put him on all sorts of respiratory support and oxygen.
Again unfortunately, at the same time the Neonatalogist at the hospital convinced us to also try a pretty unknown and experimental treatment on him - whole body cooling. The goal of this would be to try and protect his brain from oxidative damage when the oxygen flow was restored. At first, it made sense so we consented.
There is absolutely nothing worse in the entire world than for 48 hours seeing and feeling your tiny little infant son lying not just helpless, but freezing cold. The first picture below is of me providing non-stop chiropractic adjustments and work to him during that first 48 hours, while he was freezing. I hardly ever left that position for 2 straight days. The worst 2 days of our lives.
As those first 2 days went by, Oliver's lungs never got better and wouldn't respond. He then ended up needing to be transferred to Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago for a surgery and procedure called ECMO - meaning, putting him on a heart-lung bypass machine where blood would be taken out of his body, oxygen put into it... and then put it back into his body... so he could get oxygen, and his lungs could heal and rest.
An important note is that in order to go into surgery he had to be warmed back up and the whole body cooling stopped. Once he was warm his lungs started to respond so fast, they almost didn't need the surgery.
We would later find out that PPHN is a MAJOR contraindication to whole body cooling procedure (when you're cold, you constrict MORE)... and that the MD in Rockford was good friends and classmates with another MD in Michigan who was trying to pioneer this new procedure and do research on it.
So yeah, we saw the best and worst of medicine during this time. While trying to save his life, they also experimented with it. Thank God for the doctors at Lutheran General, and if I ever see the one from Rockford again... she better hope God is on her side. Sounds harsh yeah, but that was my baby, not another statistic or research metric.
Final fast forward... They told us Oliver would likely need 2 weeks on ECMO. However, like always, I was adjusting and working on him the whole time to continue to stimulate and maintain full neurological function and communication between his brain and spine... keeping his brain "fed" and able to heal and connect. So instead of 2 weeks, he was rocking and off in 5 days!
After that, he needed one more surgery to close the tiny hole in his heart that let blood flow properly as it hadn't been properly stimulated at birth due to his challenges... and after that, he continued to heal big time with his heart and lungs! The surgeons who saved his life are some of the most incredible and impactful people I will ever meet. They did their job with full confidence and certainty, and saved his life. Amazing!
The final hurdle Oliver had to get through was that because of all this oxygen challenges, and in spite of the whole body cooling... his brain had suffered a lot of stress and damage, and his EEG his first day at LGH showed "Burst Suppression" findings.
These are about the worst findings you can ever have on a brain EEG other than no activity at all, and in fact... most kids with this level of damage do not even live. And those that do, are "guaranteed" to have a life full of severe disability... seizures, major delays, don't talk, don't walk.
That's what we were told would be Oliver's life. We were told Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy were his "best bet" for sure. So we were supposed to keep him on all sorts of meds, mainly Phenobarbital... and anti-seizure med that also basically acts as an anti-life potential med. We had to fight, and we did...
But here's where the story turns... From the ambulance ride and throughout the whole time, I was adjusting Oliver. I was sending afferent (incoming) input through his spine, to his brain and nervous system... and I was confident and certain his brain would heal from the tsunami of a "perfect storm" it had been through.
I told the MDs and nurses the whole time what I was doing, how I was doing it, and what I expected. I spoke to them in "their language" explaining all the neurological connections and pathways. They looked at me like I was clueless and had two-heads. Turns out unfortunately for them, they were the clueless ones.
By the time Oliver checked out of his room at LGH 6 weeks later... these things had occurred:
- His EEGs were almost completely clear and no seizure activity at all. Burst suppression findings - GONE.
- Off ALL medications.
- Nursing, eating like a champ.
- Head shape (had been very deformed because of being stuck sedated in one position for so long) - perfect.
- Prognosis: Epic Chiro Kid.
Fast forward to today, and look at the pictures below... Oliver turns 5 next week and has lived 5 years of full out, Epic Chiro Kid style life! He's the model of pure health, happiness, joy... and epic awesomeness!
He is an Epic Little Brother, and an Epic Big Brother... and he LOVES life like none other! No seizures, no meds, no vaccines, no sickness ever at all...
He wasn't 1 in a million who "got lucky" - he was in 1 in a million who got adjusted.
It's now my life's work to change that metric so that those other thousands and millions of kids get the LIFE that Oliver has!
Please share!
Dr. Tony Ebel and Kristina Ebel 

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