Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Little Girl's fight...

There is nothing sadder then a sick child.  Fever.  Cough.  Runny nose.  With the underlining cause being, Asthma.  My youngest grand daughter has Asthma.  The slightest thing can trigger it

 Poor little Arianna.  She did not want the mask on, so this was the next best thing. She sat there, taking in the only medication that will open up her lungs, and make breathing easier. 

There is a story I would like to share with you.. A little girl who, thus so far, has surpassed everything a physician has told her and her family...

The baby was born early, her little fingernails weren't fully developed yet.  Her mother, was seeing the OB/GYN often, getting hormone injections while she was pregnant, in hopes that her baby's lungs would mature, be strong enough for when her daughter arrived.  There were so many complications during the pregnancy,  when it came to the point where bed rest was the only answer to ensure a full term pregnancy, she knew this child would be her last. 

The decision was hard, she knew later in life she would regret signing the papers, but she also knew her body would not be able to handle another pregnancy like this one.  It would cost her dearly if she didn't sign, and would cost her dearly if she did.   Test were preformed, Amniocentesis, which would tell the physician if the baby's lungs had matured enough for delivery.  The test was painful, caused cramps and contractions, the very things she feared, and fought hard to stop.  Once the lab could run the test, an emergency cesarean section would be scheduled, and her baby would be delivered under the hospitals best. 

The Baby girl
As her daughter grew, and months passed, a few health issues arose.  Asthma was always the biggest fight.  Allergic reactions became another problem, for each outbreak there was.. an Asthma attack was right behind it.  The Asthma attacks became stronger and stronger, causing fluid to build in her daughters lungs.   "Testing on an child could not be done until said child is three or four", are the words she heard from the pediatrician. One time during an Asthma attack, the baby was placed in her infant carrier, and the carrier was placed in the crib.. this kept the infant child's head up enough for easy breathing, and allowed the baby to continue sleeping.  The brother of the mother heard a funny noise come out of the baby girls room, he entered the room and walked over to the crib, and learned the baby had quit breathing.  His swift movements and quick reaction startled the baby, and triggered something inside; soon the baby girl began to cry.  He had saved her life that night. 

Until the baby girl was old enough, there were nebulize treatments, visits to the emergency room, steroid shots, liquid proventil, and I am sure others that aren't listed.  When the time came for testing, doctor visits were set twice a week.  Set of 4 trays, each tray contained 8 needles, each needles contained a form of liquid product.  On the first visit to the physician, two trays were used in each arm, a total of 32 shots in a day... the object is to pin point what the little girls was allergic to.  Just what was triggering her Asthma attacks.  The posses, very painful for the little girl, and heartbreaking for her mother.  As the liquid product set in, red blotches formed... streaks... itching.... and pain.  Through it all, the little girl could not touch the area.  Cries filled the room, and the itching would turn into burning, still the area could not be touched, not even cleaned off.  Epinephrine shot awaited, close by, just in case the reactions closed off the little girls air way.  At times, the little girl had to be held down, the itching and pain were so bad.  Other times, pulling into the parking lot of the physician office, triggered an attack.

The little girl

The testing went on for 6/8 weeks.  The months brought on Easter, and the little girl prayed "Please God, not chocolate"  as her mothers heart broke a little more, again the little girl asked "Not horses either God, please not horses."  When the test were finished, the last appointment wasn't in a patient room but rather in the physician office.  As the mother awaited the results, the little girl sat in a chair holding on to hope, Easter was in a few short days.  The physician entered, sat at his desk in his big black chair, the mother suddenly felt like she was shrinking, the fate of what will be; in the hands of her little girls doctor.  Soon the silence was broken "Do you like the stars?" the doctor ask the little girl "Yeah, I want to go to the moon one day" the little girl answered.  With a smile on his face, the doctor turned to the little girls mother and said "That is where she would be safest."  The mother just looked blankly at the physician, letting the words sink in, what was he talking about she thought, what does that mean?  Soon the words found a voice "I don't understand.  Is she allergic to alot of things?" The mother asked.  "Everything" the doctor said. 

There were three options given to the mother.  1. To move to a place so cold that, anything lingering would not grow, and the few months spent without winter would only bring on Fall.   2. The little girl could live her life in a bubble.  Protected from anything and everything that is bringing her body and lungs harm.  3.  A treatment plan.  One that involves injections.  Killing the little girls entire system, in hopes that a new one is rebuilt; a stronger one.  Giving the little girl the chance to have a normal life.  One that would allow her to play, run, and eat what ever she wanted.  With any luck, the little girl would never suffer from Asthma Attacks as she faced just days before. 

The risks if the injections were great.  Possible organ damage: the kidneys, heart, further lung damage, and others that were listed off to the mother.  "Risk, doesn't always mean everyone" the physician said "it is a possibility,  there have been cases in the past.  But I feel this is the bast way."  He ended his consultation with these words "The injections will kill what immune system your little girl has, and I feel she is strong enough to handle that.  Her body had been dealing with all that she is allergic to now, it will rebuild it's self."  The mother sat quitely listening to the doctor talk, yet as his mouth was moving she only heard the words he said at the beginning... possible organ damage to the Kidneys, heart, lungs... over and over again it replayed in her head.  Not my daughter she thought.  Not my little girl she begged.  "Ms. Little Girls mother, do you understand what I have said?"  he asked  "What?" the mother replied  I'm sorry, what did you say?"  "During the treatment, your daughter will not be able to go outside.  At least for the first few injections.  No contact with anyone who is sick or has been around anyone who is sick.  She must wear a mask to keep from catching anything.  As the injections get stronger, and her immune system dies, she will be weak and tired all the time, but it is important once we start the injections, that we finish them.  Understand?"   The mother could see his mouth move, the words float through the air and feel them enter her ears; but it seemed like hours before the registered in her brain "Yes, I understand.  Just how strong are these injections?" the mother said just above a whisper  "She is thin, small, and frail.  For her body size, and the damage already done to her lungs and airways.  It would be, like a patient with cancer who is getting chemo and radiation.  Very much like that."  He said.  The mothers eyes swelled up with tears. "It will work" the doctor added with a smile.  "I am going to give you my direct line, and the phone number of the physician assisting me with this.  Feel free to call at anytime.  If anything should come up, or happen during these injections, do not hesitate to call either one of us."   With the personal phone numbers of Dr Nadal and Dr White, she set the first appointment; treatment would begin during the summer.  

First year at school
Getting through the injections was a job.  Painful.  Itchy. The poor little girl wasn't allowed to go outside for the first few weeks.  Interaction with some one who was sick, or being exposed to germs could have been very harmful.  She visited with her friends through the windows of the house, traveled to and from the doctors office wearing a 3M mask.  In the end, it would be worth it all.  Retaining the family went hand in hand with the treatment.  Zip lock baggies were filled with ketchup, mustard and mayo packets for the little girl, she wouldn't be able to use the bottles of these products; due to mold.  Relaxing on the carpet wasn't allowed either, unless there was a blanket between them, she tested positive for that as well.  There wasn't much she didn't test positive for, but there was always a way to make her feel apart of what the family was doing. 

Just before the little girl turned 15, there was a scare.  It was thought that the little girl had ovarian cancer, a few test were done, one doctor thought it was the end for the little girl... and told her so.  In fact, even told her, she would never be able to have children.  With support, and a second opinion,  that theory ended right away.  That was a happy time for the little girl.  On the drive from the doctors office the little girl told her mother, "I am so happy.  I'll be able to have children.  I want to buy everything for a baby right now." and they both started laughing.  

The little girl, seen here holding her nephew
So far, everything a physician told the little girl, she wouldn't be able to do.. she has.  To me, she is a walking testament, with everything she has over came, it is clear to me that God has other plans for her.  Though, it may not have been made clear to her yet, I trust it will.  

Today the little girl lives in the same apartment complex as I.  She has given me the most beautiful grand daughters... she still battles with her allergies, can't eat bananas yet {they slice the inside of her mouth}, and she doesn't roll around in the grass or climb trees.  Instead of white blotches on her skin from the sun, and allergic reaction, she now tans and enjoys being out doors more then anything.   Living life to the fullest.

The little girl ~ My daughter Ashley and her love.  Winter 2011

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