For More information about Shannon Kentiz please visit:
In 2006 (Gianna being 2 ½) I got a call about a mom, Shannon Kenitz who just was featured on the Montel Williams show talking about a new therapy they called Hyperbaric Oxygen, that helped her daughter Grace. I mentioned and showed the video to my doctors who said that it could cause more seizures, was a waste of money, and "it wouldn't make a difference for the money". I like the fact that Shannon Kentiz had been doing Hyperbaric with Grace for over 5 years with no side effects which encouraged us to try it for Gianna. We were researching medicines/therapies that could help decrease inflammation and build immunity because Gianna was always getting sick and couldn’t handle any illness/vaccines, etc.
With feeding and swallowing issue, it was more important than ever to continue HBOT for Gianna. Going to the Center was becoming more difficult as we were traveling back and forth doing therapies. We got a home chamber and use it consistently to treat Gianna's inflammation issues. Sadly, when we don't use it, we notice Gianna has difficulty swallowing and frequent illness issues.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Finally even having all these seizures, Gianna was sitting up for the first time on her own. We couldn't believe that her muscles were weak. We didn't understand how this could be possible with with all the vital stim therapy we did for all those years, and these recent improvements in sitting up. We requested an endoscopy/biopsy of the Esophagus. The result was that Gianna had Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE). EE is an inflammatory condition of the esophagus due to unknown allergies. It was explained to us as having eczema in the throat.
This entire time, I thought that the swallowing was a cognition improvement for Gianna. I knew Gianna had inflammation in her body but never thought that would contribute to her eating and chewing improvements.
We notice when we stop treating Gianna with HBOT, Gianna would get's sick again. She also would become lethargic and tired during therapies. It was especially noted when we came back from Chile in 2010, Gianna started having difficulty swallowing. We stopped doing HBOT when we came back from being gone for over a month and then we were busy traveling to/from Orange county/LA doing CME therapy. Gianna's swallowing became so severe, her GI doctor told us that it was not safe feeding her by mouth and to feed her by G-tube only. Doctor explained to us that sometimes the muscles just become weak. Anyone that knows Gianna, knows how much she loves to eat by mouth and at that time she was only motivated by food.
We started Gianna with 40 sessions Hard Chamber doing 1 treatment daily Monday-Friday. Gianna would cry going in the first week and we almost stopped the treatments until at 27 Gianna started to respond to the TV and was looking at us!
Within a few months, we got Gianna off all meds but 1 (phenobarbital) and put her on a strict Adkins diet. Gianna‘s seizures changed from all types of seizures all over the brain to just these absence drop seizures all over the brain. She would have a drop every few seconds but remarkably was learning through them. She would only get the grand-mal types when she was sick. Her average on good days would be a drop every 2 minutes. This was the first time we could even try other therapies because before, it was difficult to even leave the house. I think we have blocked out the times before age 3, when we would have to ditch the grocery cart to call 911 because Gianna was in a seizure over 10 minutes. The times where Natalie had to wear a stopwatch because Gianna was becoming immune to the diastat given to her so often from seizures over 5 minutes.
For more information on Gianna's home chamber please visit:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the medical use of oxygen in a pressurized environment, at a level higher than 1 ATA. (atmosphere absolute). Increased pressure allows for oxygen to dissolve and saturate the blood plasma, which yields a broad variety of positive physiological, biochemical and cellular effects. Hyperbaric increases the amount of oxygen carried by the blood, enabling the oxygen to dissolve into the hard to reach plasma, lymph and cerebrospinal fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord, providing a greater opportunity for healing. HBOT stimulates the growth of new blood vessels to locations in the body, reduces swelling, decreases inflammation and strengthens the immune system to stimulate the release of stem cells. A hard chamber is pressurized from ranges from 1.3 ATA to 2.7 ATA. Typically you use a mask that delivers 100% pure oxygen. These are hard chambers that fills the cabin with oxygen. Soft chambers/Mild hyperbarics or “home chambers” only go up to 1.3 ATA and use the ambient air. You can use a concentrator but does not pump in pure oxygen.