Tim Chandler, Cerebral Palsy treatment with hyperbaric

Kathi Chandler writes a letter which talks about how helpul Hyperbaric Therapy has been helpful for her son Tim's cerebral palsy.

Summary of the testimonial

Dear Hyperbaric Team,

 I would like to thank you for all of your support in searching for help for our son Tim.  Two years ago, Tim walked with a forearm crutch due to his cerebral palsy.  Without his crutch he could walk very short distances typically in our house only.  He could only stand without support for maybe 10-15 seconds if he was really lucky.  The muscles in his legs were just way too tight and his balance was off.  After years of therapy, botox treatments, oral baclofen and even muscle lengthening surgery, I was starting to lose hope that he would ever walk independently.  You can imagine how disappointed we were after trying so many options that although he had made progress we just could not get rid of the reliance on an assistive device.

 Then, my mother-in-law recommended that we try hyperbaric oxygen therapy, HBOT.  I was very skeptical.  I thought if it really worked everyone would know about it and everyone would be using it.  Despite my better judgment, we went ahead and tried it.  I felt like it would be like opening our car window and throwing $4,000 away. 

 The only reasonable cost center we could find was in Cincinnati , Ohio .  We sent Tim up to stay with his two sets of grandparents who are retired and were willing to dedicate the 5 hours a day it would take.  The center had a hospital size unit with pure oxygen.  So after a 45 minute drive to the center, Tim would receive an hour treatment, (as they were using 100% oxygen he had to take the hour off between treatments and could only receive treatments for 20 days in a row and then take at least a month off due to worries of oxygen toxicity), then receive another hour of treatment.  After 40 treatments in 20 days, he could walk much farther without his crutch.  Although he still fell often, his balance was definitely improved.  He went from standing for only 10-15 seconds to 1-2 minutes.  Another side benefit was he used to having a few times a day involuntary shudders, these had gone completely away.  We really could not believe it! 

 Obviously with so much success, we decided we had to try it again.  Unfortunately, since it required so much of a time commitment and my husband and I both work, we had to wait until the next summer when Tim was out of school so we could send him back up to his grandparents.  I was much more optimistic this time around but still wondered if it would be possible to continue to gain additional functionality.  Again we saw huge improvements, after that round of treatments he gave up using his crutch almost completely except on un-level ground and stand for up to 3 minutes at a time.  We decided that every summer from then on, Tim would be going to Ohio and we better plan for $4000 a year in treatment.  Before HBOT, I had been an inch away from giving up hope and was planning on trying additional surgeries on Tim.  I was finally accepting he would never walk without a crutch.  After HBOT, he had thrown away the crutch and could stand independently for 3 minutes at a time.  This was huge to Tim and to us.  The hope was back!

 We had planned to send Tim up to Ohio during the summer of 2004.  We hated the fact that we had to wait that long to get him back into the sessions but did not want him to miss school to get the treatment.  Then at a Cub Scout camping trip with Tim, one of our friends, remarked on how well Tim was doing since the last time he had seen us at a camping trip.  He asked what we had done.  Thinking he had probably never heard about HBOT, I explained that over the last two summers he had been receiving this untraditional treatment.  Luckily for me, he knew about your center and he pointed us to you.

 I still cannot believe all of the time Kevin spent answering my questions on how the in home chamber  worked.  I was so scared after using this hospital size unit that we would be able to handle it ourselves.  To be honest, I also could not believe that it would work as well.  However, after about 3 weeks of treatment, Tim went from standing for 3 minutes at a time up to 5 minutes.  You cannot imagine how important being able to stand independently is.  Of course, at that point, we bought one for our home.  We wanted to be able to give Tim consistent treatments for life instead of once a year and only if we could afford it that year.  We did refinance our home to help us afford it but with the results we have received over the last two years it is really worth it.  I really believe I would have put Tim through another surgery by now if it was not for HBOT.  We cannot say enough about what it has done for Tim.  Now do not get me wrong, I still continue with therapy and other traditional treatment options, but I definitely believe his progress is so much more significant because of HBOT.  And his physical therapists believe it too.  They are now encouraging it for other patients of theirs.  I am so happy that we know have it at home and can give him consistent, year-around treatment.

 The other surprise for us (even though you told us it would help) is the positive impact it has had on the rest of our family.  I have other sons that play a lot of sports and one with some focus/behavior issues at school.  They both really enjoy using the chamber.   The one with behavior issues went from receiving the worst behavior scores to the best everyday almost immediately upon starting treatment.  I used to have trouble sleeping and used to take Tylenol or Advil all the time for headaches.  About a month after having the chamber at home, it dawned on me that wow not only was I sleeping better I just was not using that stuff anymore.  I can tell you it has definitely also helped me in my work out regime.  I ran 5 out of 7 days a week for a year and could not run more than 2 miles at a time.  I started using the chamber and even though I had taken some time off of running, I was able to run 3.5 miles on the treadmill.  I really could not believe it.  I thought I would never run more than 2 miles at a time.   So now my older boys try to use it before their sporting events and my husband and I before our tennis matches.  I find it helps my endurance level during the matches.

 I am also glad that we spent so much time at your center before buying our chamber.  I would have bought the mid-size unit initially.  But then when we realized how much we would use it and the whole family liked it, we decided to get the larger size chamber.  We have 1-3 family members in it at a time, we do homework in it, we read books, study flash cards and it is really comfortable.  Sometimes we fight over who gets to use it, occasionally even my older boys fight to see who gets to go in with Tim.

 So I cannot thank you enough for answering all of our questions on how the home unit worked, discussing financial options for purchasing one and for just being you.  You two are amazing.  You really, truly care about the people that can benefit from these chambers.  I can see it in every interaction you have with us as a family and our son Tim.  You have been so awesome to come out and visit us at our home to bring us supplies and to make sure it is going well.  I just can’t believe your dedication.  It is awesome.

 Thank you for everything!

 Kathi Chandler

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