HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Xander Cabales was an active and energetic child. But when he was 7 years old, he got sick. Very sick.
“I started to feel feverish and my mom gave me some medicine to stop the fever. But after the medicine I started to feel tired, exhausted and just overall hot,” he said.
Xander experienced a severe allergic reaction to the over-the-counter medication. His fever spiked, rash and blisters spread over his body and formed in his mouth.
Specialists at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children diagnosed his condition as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
“Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is basically a very rare skin disorder that can be fatal,” said his mother, Laura.
The illness affected Xander’s eyesight and mucous membranes. The disorder burned 60% of his body from the inside out.
“Just a simple touch to the skin and the whole area of skin would just slide right off,” Laura said.
Kapiolani physicians placed Xander in a medically-induced coma.
“I didn’t feel a lot of pain,” he said. “All I remember is being stuck in the hospital and being unable to speak and interact. It made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated.”
He was on life support for four weeks.
“He was that critical that they were basically monitoring him not day-by-day but hour-by-hour,” Laura said.
Healing came slowly and steadily. Although the illness damaged his vision and affects his breathing, he has made a remarkable recovery.
“I can monitor when I do need to take care of my body and when I’m good,” Xander said.
He is now 14, a freshman at Campbell High School, and a jiu-jitsu athlete. He wants to someday work in the health field, partially because of what he endured.
Laura said the Cabales ohana is whole again.
“There’s five of us, and it doesn’t function if we don’t have all of us together,” she said.
She is especially grateful for the expert care he received at Kapiolani.
“You knew you had staff and a medical facility that knew exactly what needed to be done,” she said.
Later this month, Kapiolani holds its Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser. Donations support Kapiolani’s programs and help kids like Xander.
“I can’t thank the hospital enough,” he said.