Stem Cells for Optic Nerve Hypoplasia

⏲️6 minutes read
Gibson with his mom at Hyperbaric Chamber

Tell us about Gibson’s condition. How did you find out and what were your first thoughts?

At my 18-week ultrasound, the anatomical measurements showed the baby’s head was a little larger than normal. My OBGYN sent me to a specialist. She ordered multiple tests and concluded that there was a high possibility that the baby had fluid on his brain, diagnosing him with suspected hydrocephalus. His specialist said the baby could have some very serious disabilities and said: “If you want to terminate, we need to set that up soon because there is limited time”. To remind you, I was already halfway through my pregnancy, with a belly that popped immediately and a precious miracle kicking and moving around 24/7. I told her I would consider that option, no matter what. So pushing on forward, we did weekly ultrasound checks. I researched a Pediatric Neurosurgeon in Dallas, TX, scheduled an appointment, and met him in preparation for Gibson’s arrival. He agreed that it appeared to be hydrocephalus, but we wouldn’t know until an MRI confirmation after birth.

On January 11th, Gibson came into this world fighting. He needed help breathing and his heart rate was inconsistent. Gibson was fed via ng-tube with my breast milk. After a couple of days in the NICU, the neonatal specialist ordered an ultrasound of his brain due to suspected seizures. The diagnosis was presented as devastating and hopeless, according to this particular physician. He was born with multiple birth defects, all within his brain. He was diagnosed with Septo Optic Dysplasia (SOD), Bilateral Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH), Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, Hypothyroidism, Hypotonia, Ectopic Neurohypophysis, midline fusion anomaly of the hypothalamus, neonatal subclinical seizures, and grey matter heterotopia. What this diagnosis basically means, is his brain didn’t form in utero the way it was supposed to. Due to ONH, he has visual impartments with an unknown future of what his vision will be.

Gibson has had so many doctors, specialists, and therapists that I can barely track. I know in my heart that no matter what, I would go to every length to advocate for my child. That was the beginning of a lot of research, which included stem cell treatment in Thailand.

How did you hear about Beike’s Stem Cell therapy? What were your expectations?

I met another mom in a Facebook parent support group. She has a son with the same condition as Gibson and had brought him to Thailand for the same treatment.

I honestly didn’t have any specific expectations for Gibson. I believe that God’s plan is so big for our son that I knew there was a reason we were connected to these people and sent on this journey across the world. When your son has so many diagnoses, your hope is for any improvement in any area. Every little bit is huge for him.

How was Gibson’s condition before stem cell therapy? What symptoms was he experiencing?

Gibson had a mild vision prior to the first stem cell treatment. He definitely had to light perception, but his ability to track and see objects was mild to nonexistent. His feeding patterns included mainly breast milk, purées, and very soft fruits. That was one of the bigger challenges, encouraging him to eat different textures. He wouldn’t eat any meats, and hardly any vegetables. His hypotonia was a challenge, making him “floppy” and difficult to work on anything physical.

After arrival, how were the first days? What do you think about the facility and staff?

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing the facility and staff were throughout the entire process. We were comfortable through all things. It was very organized and a “well-oiled machine”. Even with a bit of a language barrier, there wasn’t anything that left me feeling uncomfortable. They became family to us, and I already miss them.

What were the results of Gibson’s first treatment? How long later?

I encourage anyone who is considering stem cell treatment, especially for ONH and SOD, to go to Gibson’s Facebook page. It has every single possible detail from beginning to end of this incredible process. I documented every detail of his progress.

It is truly a miracle what the stem cell treatments did for our son. He is now eating everything when prior it was barely purées, bananas, or soft potatoes. He is now seeing objects. He is seeing objects without light or sound for the first time and tracking them. We have a sensory brush that is literally clear with nothing to make it visually obvious, and he was tracking that in every direction the other day.

Gibson’s tone is 1000 times stronger. His physical therapist at home was so happy with his progress, and he is now independently standing with us spotting behind him. He is sitting for long periods of time, and pushing up into a crawling position more and more every day. He is rolling all over the place, sometimes triple times back and forth, which he never did before. Overall, Gibson improved in every possible area you could imagine, even his cognitive skills have skyrocketed.

What made you think stem cell treatment would be beneficial to your son?

I knew from the moment he was willing to try different food textures and started eating meat after the first treatment that there were so many great things about to happen. I have already begun the planning process to hopefully make it back to Thailand next year. If God willing, I would like to do this yearly. Honestly, it’s half because of Gibson’s progress, but also because of the people. I can’t imagine it being the last time we ever see them.

They are huge blessings to our family. If there is anyone considering stem cell therapy with Beike, I highly encourage you to just go for it. I was hesitant in the beginning, but I would never regret any part of it. I am a mother of 3 children in total. My husband stayed back in Texas with our other 2. I went across the country to Thailand with a 1-year-old, by myself, on a 24-hour flight for a 3-week stay. If you are hesitant, just do it anyway. If I can do it myself, anyone can!

Go to Gibson’s Facebook page for more information.

Gibson’s treatment