Mikey Tucker, 10, is getting what he wants most this holiday season: a pain-free Christmas, thanks to the International Foundation of Lymphology, a Sandy-based clinic. A nonprofit organization, IFL is dedicated to providing treatment to people suffering from lymphatic malformations.
In Mikey’s case, he was in constant pain from an arteriovenous malformation, or a lymphatic malformation of the face. A lymphatic malformation is caused by an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in certain tissues, which results in swelling.
Mikey Tucker received a lymph drainage treatment using the Godoy-Godoy method at the Foundation of Lymphology in Sandy in late September.
In addition to the lymphatic malformation, Mikey also suffers from Down syndrome, which challenges his family even more because he struggles to communicate. Due to the mass on his jaw, Mikey suffers from limited range of motion, pain, swelling of the face, sleep apnea and runny eyes. He would also routinely bite the inside of his cheek. He had three surgeries in the past year to remove the mass on his jaw, but it continued to come back.
“His parents were thinking that the doctors would have to remove his jaw,” Foundation president Gretchen Givone said. “When [the lymphatic malformation] is a part of your circulatory system, you can’t really just remove it. You can remove the main mass, but the fluid from the circulatory system will force it to continually come back.”
Instead of operating again, Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City decided to refer Tucker to IFL. He underwent a 10-day treatment, which uses the Godoy-Godoy method, despite his parents’ initial hesitation.
After the 10 days, Mikey’s pain level and swelling had been reduced, his range of movement had improved, he could breathe and speak better and his attitude had become more positive.
“His mom just basically said, ‘My gosh, you just gave me my son back. I can’t believe it. He’s not the same boy.’ But when we’re in pain, that’s what happens. We just close in ourselves, and we’re not really up for anything,” Givone said.
Givone formed this nonprofit group in early October. In just a few short months they have treated at least five children from the Sandy area alone that were all suffering from intolerable pain and swelling, she said.
“We’re working hard. . . I mean, [this disorder] is not something that’s a real specialized field, yet we’ve already had like five patients uniquely from the Sandy area. Obviously, there’s a lot more children affected than we imagined,” she said.
After becoming certified as a complete decongestive therapist in 2009, Givone began to treat people suffering from lymphatic malformations of the arms and legs, but it bothered her that there was no effective treatment for people, children especially, with a growth on their tongue, cheek or throat.
“I stayed up all night for a lot of nights doing research online, and I found Dr. Godoy in Brazil. I contacted them, and they invited me for three weeks to go stay in their clinic in Brazil. It was a life-changing event.”
Dr. José Maria Pereira de Godoy, from São José do Rio Preto, Brazil, is an anthologist and vascular surgeon. He became interested in lymphology after he realized that there wasn’t a proper treatment for the disorder. He has helped develop new techniques and devices for lymph drainage, which includes his Godoy-Godoy method.
Godoy trained Givone in this method, which is a non-invasive way of treating lymphatic malformations. It utilizes neural muscular massage, myofascial relief, and lymphatic drainage to achieve its dramatic results.
The International Foundation of Lymphology is the only accredited treatment center in North America using the Godoy-Godoy method.