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Drake was born on May 21, 2009 in Sioux Falls, SD. Prior to Drake being born, an ultrasound diagnosed Drake with a condition called Gastroschisis.
Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which an infant’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord. Immediately after Drake was born via C-section, he was taken to surgery to have his intestines placed back inside his abdomen. Drake’s first surgery did not go well. The intestines were very swollen and put too much pressure on Drake’s other organs. Drake had to have a second surgery eight hours after his first surgery. This second surgery required removing Drake’s intestines from his abdomen and placing them into a silo bag above his abdomen. By doing this, it would relieve the pressure being applied on Drake’s organs. The goal was to push a small amount of intestines back into his abdomen, with it all eventually being back inside him. On May 22, after 12 hours of Drake’s intestines being in a silo, we were given the most difficult decision in our lives to make. Drake’s intestines were dying off and were poisoning him. The doctors told us we should let Drake go. We were given an option by a surgeon to try to remove as much of the dead intestines as necessary to try to save Drake’s life. The doctor told us Drake had less than a 10% chance of making it through the surgery and did not know what the future would hold for him.
We made the decision to take Drake to surgery. After 3 hours of surgery, Drake came out fighting. He made it through the surgery, having to lose all of his small and large intestines. Drake continued to fight and after three weeks, we were able to take him to the University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital to get evaluated for a small and large bowel transplant. Drake was accepted, and is currently on the waiting list. Drake had to remain at Sanford in the NICU for just over a year. During that year, Drake had many procedures and had a lot of challenges to over-come. Drake left the NICU on June 14, 2010.
Drake currently lives in Sioux Falls, SD with his father, Jeremy. We had to keep Drake in Sioux Falls because we could not find a doctor in Aberdeen, SD that was able to take on Drake’s situation. Drake is currently on 24 hour TPN IV nutrition. Drake is always attached to a 10 foot IV tubing and pump. He has never eaten anything. Drake does get to drink water occasionally but it has no nutritional effect on him. Drake does have to be very isolated from people because with no intestines he has a very low immune system. Drake has been doing great out of the hospital. He is growing well and had no major illnesses.
Drake’s mom, Kelsie, sister, Sierra, and brother, Christian, live in Columbia, SD. Kelsie comes to Sioux Falls every weekend and Sierra and Christian come when they are not sick. We hope that someday, we can all be together back home in Columbia. We are very thankful for the family, friends, doctors and strangers that have helped Drake in so many ways.