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Toddler Finds Healing Treatment In Denver 'Space Ship'

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - A toddler from the Seattle area is spending two months in Denver getting healing treatment.

She has been battling brain cancer and has had serious complications caused by radiation.

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Teagan Fettig (credit: Tatum Fettig)

The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children is one of the few places that offers children hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the technology that may help 3-year-old Teagan Fettig.

Everybody loves the little girl known as "Sweet Tea."

For seven weeks now, little Teagan has been coming to RMHC. She heads straight for the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

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"They don't have that at Children's in Seattle," said Tatum Fettig, Teagan's mother.

So she and Teagan are living in Denver to get therapy she hopes will help heal her little girl.

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(credit: Tatum Fettig)

"She had a brain tumor. It was about a quarter the size of her head," explained an emotional Tatum.

Teagan was diagnosed with cancer, medulloblastoma, at age 2. She had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. And then she had a complication.

"Her eyes started to cross and then she couldn't even sit up straight," said Tatum.

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Teagan had radiation necrosis, radiation had killed healthy brain tissue. RMHC is one of the few facilities that treats children with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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"Intense concentrations of oxygen under pressure ... it helps the healing process," explained Dr. Reginald Washington, Chief Medical Officer Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center.

"Want to put on your space helmet?" a technician asked Teagan.

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The toddler fusses when she first gets suited up in what she thinks is her space ship. The tiny astronaut then spends two hours with a technician breathing pure oxygen inside the pressurized chamber.

"The energy she's gotten here is just amazing," said Tatum.

She says Teagan has gained strength and stamina. The little girl is even dancing again.

"Not only does she get to enjoy life more, but we also get to enjoy life with her with this energy," said Tatum choking back tears.

After 40 treatments, the Fettigs will go home. They'll hope for more healing for Sweet Tea's brain, and they'll keep their Colorado crew in their hearts.

The Fettigs are not ruling out coming back to RMHC if they need to.

Tatum is developing an app to connect parents who have children with pediatric cancer.

LINK: Sweet Tea Connections

Additional Resources

The following information is provided by Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center have the only hyperbaric chamber in the entire Rocky Mountain region that can accommodate several patients at once. The hyperbaric therapy team treats both adults and children.

For more information on understanding hyperbaric therapy click here. Or you can call 720-754-6900 to speak with someone from the hyperbaric oxygen team on the different types of conditions they treat.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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