It has been a little over three months since Kaden Miller flew to Toronto to undergo surgery on his tongue.
The 13-month-old lives in Conception Bay South with his mother Krystal VanKoesveld, sister Kristiana and father Corey Miller, who is originally from Marystown.
Shortly after his birth, Kaden was diagnosed with Beckwith-Weidmann Syndrome (BWS), a rare overgrowth disorder. As a result, his tongue was enlarged on one side, which made it difficult for the infant to drink, chew and breath at times.
His mother said she has seen an improvement since her son’s tongue has healed.
“His stitches fell out about six weeks after his surgery, and slowly he started to get back into being able to eat again, and he moved onto solids which he was having issues with before,” VanKoesveld told The Southern Gazette on Feb. 7. “So, he is doing great that way.”
She added that Dr. Christopher Forrest, division head of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, will see Kaden again in a year to reassess his tongue.
VanKoesveld said there was one issue during the surgery when the oxygen tube became kinked.
“He was able to get oxygen into his lungs, but he wasn’t able to release anything,” she explained. “So they had to quickly figure out what was going on to address that.”
The family returned home to Newfoundland in early November, and VanKoesveld said Kaden was fussy for a time when he first tried to eat because of the pain in his tongue.
“He has been doing great with his feeding since the surgery, and we couldn’t be happier,” she said.
VanKoesveld said she and Corey are happy to see the improvement in the quality of life for their son.
“He’s a lot happier now,” she explained over the happy squeals of her son, who was playing near the phone. “He is able to do more with eating and not just roll it around in his mouth and spit it out.”
VanKoesveld said it’s hard to put into words what it means to see the improvement in their son.
“It is unbelievable,” she said. “To be able to kiss him on the lips without his tongue stuck out, people don’t think that is such a big deal, but when you’re not able to do it, it’s a big difference.
“Even the look on his face is totally different — you’d see the larger tongue, and that was our normal for him, but to see him now and see him grow — we couldn’t be any happier.”