Today I'd like to introduce you to one of our best friends.

In February of this year Brandon had a feeding tube surgically placed. The technical name for it is a Gastrostomy Tube - its like a little 'blow up valve' on a beach ball, implanted just below his ribs, directly into his stomach, so we can feed him when he's unable to eat.

(what you see in this picture is the button (the 'blow up valve' with the flap opened up) with the extension (tube) plugged into it - the extension is held in place by a fancy tape/rubber grabber thing called the Bone - this just holds everything in place while hes hooked up - when he is not 'hooked up', that flap on the button closes, and the tubing and such is gone - all he has is a small flat rubber button against his skin)

Because of Brandons disease, his swallowing muscles are seriously affected, and while he can eat alright currently (thanks in part to some new medications we are trialling), he cannot eat enough to gain weight, and as soon as he becomes ill in any way, he cannot eat much at all... indeed we spent many weeks in the hospital last year because he was unable to eat at all and needed IV support... not a fun way to spend Christmas break let me tell you.

So in February we made the decision to go ahead and have the tube placed.

As much as we hated this initially (and we still hate the reasons for it), it has been life changing for Brandon. He has been in the hospital only once since having it placed, and has finally started gaining weight.
We are able to blend up food in our super blender (Vitamix - there are only 2 blenders on the market with enough oomph to blend food to a fine enough liquid that they can be tube fed through a button like this - the vitamix and the blendtech - both ringing in at 500$+ and seriously making every other blender on earth look like a cruddy spatula at best), and blend up anything and everything.

Brandon gets hooked up to 500ml's of 'supper' when he goes to bed, usually containing about 400-500calories total. It is pumped through this button as he sleeps, and by midnight he is done.

Since we started the blended food Brandon has gained 2lbs (after about 15 months of not gaining anything!), and his overall health and energy has increased tremendously.

this extremely difficult step for us to take ended up being one of the best decisions we have ever made, and we are so thankful to have it now.


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