Meet Marco, a Small Child with Neural Development Problems

/ / Featured, ECHO Families

Marco Rivera | Neural Development Problems

When doctors told Juana and Jose Rivera their son was in a vegetative state, would probably only live a few months and suggested they sign a do-not-resuscitate order, they started looking for alternatives. What they found in CBD exceeded their expectations and improves their son’s life daily.

“Basically they told us Marco’s never gonna walk. Marco’s never gonna talk. Marco’s blind. Marco’s deaf. I felt like what they were handing me was a corpse,” says Jose Rivera, looking back on the dismal diagnosis doctors gave him and his wife Juana for their newborn son Marco.

As prospective parents, Jose and his wife Juana were focused on the joy, mysteries, and anticipation of welcoming their child into the world. Those mysteries turned out to be heartbreaking for the Rivera family. From birth, Marco had no gag reflex or control over his secretions. His body could not regulate his temperature. He had scoliosis due to brain injury. He could not move. Marcos essentially lived in a vegetative state.

“At the beginning when he was born, it was very difficult for me. I was always depressed and I would cry a lot,” Juana remembers. Traditional medical treatments and protocols offered little hope but to keep Marco as comfortable as possible for the rest of what doctors expected to be a very short life — but Juana and Jose resolved to do everything they could for little Marco.

“From day one, it’s been a battle…because they (doctors) had the intention of ‘Well, Marco is only gonna’ live 6 months…DNR.’ And I’m thinking a whole other route. You know … small child. We’ve got a big problem, but it can be fixed.” That was the focus of Jose Rivera for his baby boy.

These brave parents never lost hope and refused to give up their search for alternative measures to save their precious baby’s life for at least as long as they could. Exhausted but determined, when Marco was just months old, they reached out to Dr. Kathleen Smith. Having spent years as an emergency room and family practice physician, Dr. Smith eventually began investigating healthy alternatives to traditional medical treatments.

Dr. Smith sees cannabinoids as a viable alternative for many patients, including Marco. Hemp and Cannabis are cousins and both are classified as cannabis, but CBD hemp oil is non-psychoactive and doesn’t give patients the high that comes from THC.

Dr. Smith believed that little Marco would benefit from the anti-inflammatory, calming effect, and neuroprotective properties – among others – of CBD.

“I was not willing to put him on medical Cannabis. I did not want the euphoric and sedative effects of the THC.” She explained that CBD could aid in the neural development Marco’s brain needed to help him develop overall. On Dr. Smith’s advice, the parents got in touch with a manufacturer of CBD hemp oil.

After only five months of using the CBD hemp oil, Jose, Juana, and Dr. Smith saw remarkable improvements in Marco’s development. Knowing from research online that CBD has been shown effective in reducing and even stopping seizures, Jose expected to see an improvement in his son’s motor skills. The CBD oil exceeded his expectations. “I’m getting his motor movements and a lot more!” says this proud dad.

“I have to say, even though I believed in the company we were calling and even though I believed in the CBD to do some healing, in four months, I never expected this kind of progress,” said Dr. Smith. “The [CBD oil] is helping his brain develop.”

And Marco’s proud parents could not agree more. They get to experience their son growing and changing with each passing day. “I see he’s learning more. I’m seeing that he’s able to process things. He’s more responsive now,” says Jose.

Dr. Smith realizes that for someone on the outside, Marco’s progress may look minimal. But, she says, for a very small child who had only random eye movement and couldn’t move his body or respond to stimulus, she is seeing “extraordinary benefit with the CBD oil.”

These parents are thrilled to see their search for alternative methods for their son and their faith in the journey all paying off. “It’s a struggle but at the same time, it’s all worth it. We have our child!” says Jose. “The list of things they said he’s never gonna do…I’m checking off those things one by one!”

Marco is steadily gaining muscle strength and control of his movements. He can respond when spoken to and focus his sight. This little boy is not deaf and blind, after all. And he is definitely no longer in a vegetative state. The corpse-like infant that came into this world continues to amaze his parents and Dr. Smith with his steady progress.

“I have to be strong for him because he is my life,” says Juana with absolute conviction in this path they have chosen for their family.

“Every time we get a case of a child who was written off by the medical establishment as basically a vegetable and we see them develop into a human being that has a life, you can’t ask for more,” says Dr. Smith with a smile.

Marco’s treatment with the CBD hemp oil is ongoing, as is his parents’ devotion to using CBD to help his development and improve his quality of life.

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