ATLANTA - Playing is work for 2-year old Kason Choice.
“He’s tough,” his mom Kendra Brown said. “Oh, my goodness, he’s tough!”
Kason has had to be, this boy, born during a February 2014 snowstorm.
His mother said the delivery room was “chaotic.”
Because Kendra Brown’s second child was big, 10 and a half pounds.
He was so big Kason’s shoulder got caught in the birth canal.
When the obstetrician finally got him free, Kendra heard something troubling.
“I heard the delivery doctor said, ‘Watch his arm. Look at his arm. Check his arm out, check his arm out,” she remembers.
Kason’s left arm hung limp.
He’d suffered a brachial plexus injury, damaging the network of nerves running from his cervical spinal cord down into his arm.
80 percent of babies injured this way recover the full use of their arm with time.
But not Kason.
“Even when he cried, at his most vulnerable moments, his fingers, his shoulder, his arm, nothing moved,” Kendra Brown said.
At 12-weeks, Kason underwent exploratory surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
It showed nerve damage so severe, a doctor told the Browns there was little that could be done.
“I was devastated,” she said. “I was destroyed.”
With Kason’s arm paralyzed, his hand unable to move, the Browns briefly considered amputation.
“His father and I, we decided, to give that decision to Kason,” Kendra Brown said. “Let him make the decision. And, by golly, are we glad we did because look at where we are today.”
Because the tide began to turn when Kason underwent a second, more successful operation at six months.
Now, doctors were hopeful he might be able to one day flex his elbow.
Children’s occupational therapist Megan Carroll began working with Kason every Monday.
“We always tell the parents, in terms of the path, this is not a sprint,” said Carroll. “This is a marathon. So, don’t think that as soon as they have the surgery that they are going to get better immediately. They need time. Lots of time.”
But, each session leaves Kason with a little more function, and Kendra with a little more hope.
Because of the extent of his injury, he may never regain 100 percent function in his left arm.
Still, he may be able to play sports, and do many of the things kids his age want to do.
“Everything is going to be okay,” she said. “Kason will be just fine. And kids are resilient, they’re adaptive.”
Today Kason isn’t just using his once-paralyzed arm, but his hand, even his fingers.
“One day I saw him open a Tootsie Roll,” his mother said. “It took him about 55 seconds. To open a Tootsie Roll. He got so frustrated. But he managed to get through it. So he’s resilient. He’s a fighter. He’s tough.”
And Kendra Brown believes one day, Kason will get his happy-ever-after.
“I could not have written this story better, two years ago, no way,” she said. “I didn’t see it. No one could have told me that we’d come this far.”