Editor's note: Last Thanksgiving, staff writer Mary Arata profiled the plight of a 7-year-old Ayer boy who was dependent on a feeding tube and the family's struggle with its insurance company to provide expert help to wean the boy to self-feeding. This fantastic update came this week from Amy Gebru, mother of Yaacob Gebru. Amy says Nashoba Publishing's coverage of her son's plight helped convince the company to reverse course and cover special services.
I thought I would send along our latest update. A year later Yaacob continues to do very well with eating and drinking. This past July we went back to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore for a three-day visit to help Yaacob transition off of pureed foods and onto fork-mashed foods. This was after we exhausted all our options here in Massachusetts.
In three days Yaacob was able to eat fork-mashed foods with the help of KKI staff. Now Yaacob can eat many items off a menu when we go out such as macaroni and cheese, pasta, bananas, pears, peaches, squash, potatoes, and the list goes on, as we don't need to puree his food. It is a wonderful feeling to see him eating at the table with his family and know he can sustain himself.
On Aug. 10, Yaacob finally had his g-tube site surgically closed. The same surgeon that placed it years ago was the one to close it, so we had come full circle.
It was so funny to see him wake up from surgery and realize the tube was gone. He kept trying to touch his abdomen. He now enjoys being on his stomach to sleep or play the iPod.
Yaacob has been at a new school since April and is thriving there. He is still nonverbal and continues to need many supports at home and in the community.
Everyone else is doing well and I think we are all still amazed at Yaacob's feeding progress. Thank you very much for sharing our story last year. Due to our story being shared I have had some local families reach out to me as they have kids on tubes, but most importantly, it put the pressure on the insurance company.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. I have a feeling Yaacob will be feasting on mashed turkey with gravy with cranberry sauce (he loves this stuff) and squash, as he is still not a fan of potatoes. For dessert, he would most likely choose his great grandmother's apple crisp. I won't even have to puree food this year.
Amy and family