19-month-old with congenital defect has life-changing surgery

19-month-old with congenital defect has life-changing surgery

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Like most year-and-a-half-old babies, Jed is a happy one.

"He's always like this," Jed's dad Joe Bankston said. "You'd never know anything was wrong with him," his mom, Cyndra Bankston said. "He was in renal failure and we didn't even know anything was wrong with him," Joe said.

He was born with one kidney the and a congenital defect, esophageal atresia.

"His esophagus is not connected to his stomach," said Cyndra Bankston, "never was," said Joe Bankston.

And hydrocephalus... 

"You have spinal fluid, cerebral spinal fluid around your brain and that's absorbed by your body. The hydrocephalus is your body it doesn't drain properly so it just swells around your brain, it makes your head bigger," Cyndra said.

His first surgery at just five days old and he's had 12 since.

"Four surgeries for the esophagus part, five surgeries on his head for his hydrocephalus and the infection," Cyndra said.

Now... the main focus is finally getting his esophagus attached.

"In the current process of stretching his esophagus to bring it closer to his stomach so they can connect them together it's a series of surgeries that he has to have," Cyndra said.

Because of this condition, he's spent his whole life with a feeding tube.

"Believe it or not that's a very hard thing to teach a child to do at 19 months is how to eat when he's never eaten," Joe said.

So Cyndra and Joe Bankston are having to teach their child something that most of us don't think twice about. 

"It's called sham feeding and we're teaching him how to eat even though it just runs right out his little fistula," Cyndra said. "Yeah he's just got a hole right here in the middle of his chest and it just runs right out everywhere," Joe said.

Despite many messes over the past 19 months, they've had some help every step of the way. 

"They're so compassionate here," Cyndra said. "Covenant Children's is just been a blessing it's they've saved our son on so many occasions, I can't even express it, It's just amazing. The staff here is great, the people are wonderful. It's just a great place," Joe said.

Their advice for families going through similar situations,

"Just take it one day at a time, that's all you can," Joe said. "It's hard but if you take it one day at a time it's not as overwhelming," Cyndra said.

After 19 months the Bankston's can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We can get his esophagus done then we have months and months of physical therapy to teach him to eat, and hopefully we can get all of that stuff behind us and get him to eat like a normal child," Joe said. 

And taking their own advice, moving forward one step at a time.

"Looking back at it I would have never thought that we could come this far, you know he's been through so much," Joe said. 

Jed had one more surgery this weekend and the doctors were able to connect his esophagus to his stomach. His mom said surgery was successful with no complications. Jed is still intubated and sedated in ICU for healing and rest.

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