A Smile is Worth a Thousand Words

A few days ago, Mark and I stepped out to grab a coffee while one of Theo’s nurses sat with him. When we returned, she and Theo’s OT (who was also huddled next to his bed) turned to us grinning. He smiled, she said. I skeptically looked at his OT who nodded in confirmation.

Theo smiled. Theo smiled. THEO SMILED!

Theo’s multiple cardiac arrests had left his brain deprived of oxygen for close to 30 minutes. The MRI, conducted five days after his arrests, revealed significant and global brain damage. We were given a range of possible interpretations for this, with each Neurologist aloofly providing a likely list of extrapolations for Theodore’s life: He will never be able to live independently. He will never have a meaningful life. He will never be able to smile.  He will never be able to coordinate breathing on his own.

Children can surprise us, they added, as an insignificant afterthought. The brain is capable of regenerating itself, they added. But with the damage to Theodore’s brain, the probability of this happening is slim to none, they added.

At this time, Theo has limited neurological function. We are being told that based on clinical assessment, he is cerebrally blind, which means that his vision is normal but because of damage to his brain’s occipital cortex, the processing of visual information is impaired.  His brain injury also means that he is susceptible to seizures, which could cause further brain damage.  And, because of the necrosis to his limbs – which is causing him significant amount of pain – therapy, at this time, is limited.

But the probability of slim to none is enough for me to believe that there’s some hope. Theo didn’t fight his way back from death twice to stop fighting now.

Theo has been successfully breathing on his own for over a month now. And now, a smile! I have to believe that this is only the beginning for our little warrior.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try to catch my little boy’s precious smile.


  1. Way to go Theodore! This news is amazing, it has made my day!! Can’t wait to see him smile again! I miss seeing his beautiful smile everyday!!

  2. I seriously have goosebumps as I sit here reading this. God is working a true miracle in Theo! We will pray that you will continue to see more and more precious smiles. 🙂

  3. I am so happy to hear your son smiled! I hope the next one is with you by his side. What a courageous little warrior you have. My prayers are with you him and your family for his improvement into the future.

  4. I think of Theo often through the day and keep him in my prayers! Keep smiling Theo it means you’re moving your mouth more! Yay!!!! Believe that everything begins with a smile!!!!! Believe!!!

  5. Theo keep it up little buddy! You are such an extraordinary little guy who just doesn’t cease to amaze me with every post I read. Never give up the faith Mark and Ashlee you guys are such wonderful parents, I can feel the love between the 3 of you with every post. I am just moved to tears every time.

  6. I find myself rushing home every day to check to see if there any new updates on your blog. This update, is inspiring. Theo. Is inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing. Theo’s smile has probably made a lot of others smile.

  7. Theo’s smile has warmed many hearts today including mine.
    I often wondered if miracles were real and after all that has happened
    to your family, I now know they are. Thank you for all the updates and
    we’re hoping to see you guys soon

  8. I cried as I read this. They say the possibility of many things for little Theo is slim to none, but I remember reading that they said the possibility of him getting this horrible infection was something like 1 in 300, 000? I believe statistics mean very little in the case of this remarkable little man. Furthermore, with God by his side, all things are possible. I truly believe that this is only the beginning for little Theo. My family, friends, church and myself of course, are praying continuously for full recovery because no matter what the situation, God is bigger, and He will have the final say! May God Bless you and your little boy and may there be many brighter days ahead:)

  9. I am so glad to hear that Theo smiled, I am sure there will be many more smiles. Miracles happen all the time. You are in my prayers.

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