Created on Tuesday, 30 December 2014 00:00 |
8. Stryder has a big year
Stryder Doescher turned 7 this past November, and for most kids that wouldn’t be a big deal but, for Stryder, every birthday is a big deal.
For a number of years Stryder, his parents Angela and Warren, and his sister, Kasiah, have been told by doctors that he might not make it past his sixth birthday.
Styder’s young life has been filled with terms like retroflexed odontoid, clivo axial angle, basilar invagination, uneven tonsils, diffuse cervical bulge, levoscoliosis, and pansinusitis. The list goes on to include epilepsy, Landau-Kleffner syndrome- PFO (hole in the heart), and an aortic root dilation (aneurysm).
As 2014 comes to an end, Stryder is at home recovering from brain surgery to correct Arnold-Chiari malformation type 1, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal.
Throughout his challenges, Stryder has enjoyed the support of a community that has worn purple shirts emblazoned with the words “We Love Stryder,” and held Zumba classes, golf tournaments and numerous other fundraisers.
That community support has seen the family through and, in large part, enabled them to acquire Keebler, probably the most recognized service dog in Crook County. With Keebler by his side, trained to detect seizures in advance, Stryder now sleeps in his own bedroom and Angela simply gets some sleep.
Checking in with the Doeschers this Christmas season is met with the, unfortunately, expected response — there is good news and there is bad news.
First, Angela terms Stryder’s latest brain surgery as a “huge success!”
“He healed extremely fast and the scar even looks great!” she said. “Everyone at school saw dramatic changes in his personality, most likely due to less pain and sensory issues he was silently enduring.”
But, as Angela has come to expect, Stryder’s challenges continue.
It’s Stryder’s collagen deficiency that is the root cause of many issues due to weak connective tissue, now apparently failing to support his lungs, causing dangerous drops in his oxygen levels.
“We were unsure if it was caused from the hole in his heart, but after some pulmonary testing, we found that his lungs are not doing great,” said Angela. “We will start the new year off with appointments and testing at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.”
Angela said that testing for this latest challenge is in the beginning stages, but is still tough to deal with.
“It was hard adding another organ, I was really hoping it was his heart, since we already knew the problems and that surgery would fix the hole,” she said. “I was hoping it would have been ‘that easy,’ nothing I would have said prior to brain surgery, though. I have no idea what this means for his future, yet, but I am hopeful and he is still smiling, as usual!”
Angela’s thoughts quickly turned to Keebler, a dog that has been a member of the family for almost one year.
“Keebler is doing great! I am going to start working with him on some new tasks, not that he doesn’t have enough to do already,” she said. “But he is doing such a great job and we love him so much.”
Through it all, Angela has always felt blessed by a community that has helped, loved and prayed for Stryder.
“Stryder would not be where he is today without the support of everyone in our town,” she said. “He wants to prove to everyone how strong he is and make his story a happy story! Keep praying for him as we go through this (never-ending) journey.”