Our daughter, Sophia, was born perfectly healthy and lived the first six years of her life as a very active, outgoing, adventurous little girl. We had no idea that there was a ticking time bomb in her brain that would change our lives forever.
In November of 2017, Sophia woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible headache. After taking her to the ER that night, we learned of the Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) that had ruptured, which caused a hemorrhagic stroke. She later had an ischemic stroke, which affected the entire right side of her brain.
The following five months were a nightmare as we watched our little girl spend four weeks in a coma, go through four brain surgeries, endure medication withdrawal, and wake up as an entirely different child than we’d had before.
Every day was a battle she had to win, and I was so thankful she was still the determined little girl she’d always been. Slowly but surely, she learned how to breathe on her own, eat, talk, and walk again. In time she was happy and healthy despite everything. Still, she had lost all function in her left hand, wrist, ankle, and toes. She also had many mobility, learning, memory, and speech disabilities.
Almost two years after her AVM rupture and strokes, my aunt read about a new stroke recovery treatment in a magazine. She told me about the Cord Blood Center Group in Germany, leading the way in cord blood stem cell treatments.
We have always been open to trying new treatments and therapies to give Sophia the best chance at a successful life, so we eagerly went to the CBC Health website and, shortly after that, consulted with Dr. Thoennissen on the phone.
Once we decided to go through with the cord blood treatment, we planned for the trip, which would take place about three months later, in January 2020. The day we arrived, we met with Dr. Thoennissen and his staff, who were so lovely and helpful. Dr. T got Sophia’s medical history and answered all questions we had, including explaining the cord blood transplant process. The second and third days were spent doing the cord blood infusion, which went smoothly.
At the time of writing this, it has been eleven weeks since her cord blood transplant, and we have already begun seeing some good progress in her, mentally and physically. For example, she can walk without her AFO brace, which was nearly impossible before. She has new purposeful movement in her left toes and ankle. Her speech therapist has noticed gains during her outpatient treatments. And, as a family, we feel her personality has become more vibrant and like her old self. We are confident that even more success will appear in the next few months.