Tag Archive | medical conditions

Our CF journey so far…

On the 16th May, it will be seven years since our family was completed. On the 12th June, it will be seven years since our family member’s lives were irreversibly changed by two little letters.

Cam funny

Cam- our little joker!

The last seven years has had its up’s and down’s. Cameron is a vivacious little boy who lives his life to the fullest. He doesn’t walk, he runs through life (literally and figuratively!) If there is a joke to be found…Cam will find it! His diagnosis has not dragged¬†him down in the slightest.

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been hard times.

In the last seven years, Cam has been admitted in to hospital four times. There was one when he was diagnosed, sick with double pneumonia and underweight due to malabsorption.

The second time was when he was two years old. A bronchoscopy at annual review that year showed he was growing the dreaded super-bug Pseudomonas in his lungs, which is an instant minimum two-week admission into hospital for intravenous antibiotics.

Cam sick

Hospital is never fun ūüė¶

The third time was unrelated to his cystic fibrosis. He had severe tonsillitis and his throat closed over. It was a scary 24 hours! We were more worried about that than anything he had gone through with his CF by that point.

The fourth time, he was five years old, and another routine bronchoscopy showed Pseudomonas again, which resulted in a gruelling two weeks in hospital and another week of treatment at home. We were all exhausted by the end, and it was a rather traumatic experience for Cam which resulted in a slight fear of needles.

Over the years, he has also had a staph infection twice. The first time, we discovered he was allergic to one of the antibiotics they used to treat it.

Cam nebuliser

He hates nebulizer treatments

He currently has about 30-35 tablets a day to keep him healthy. This includes Creon tablets (which help him digest his food), salt tablets (as salt loss is massive with CF-ers), a multivitamin, Vitamin D tablets (to ward off osteoporosis, which is high risk in CF-ers) and antibiotics to prevent infections. This doesn’t include when he has a moist cough, where we treat him with two weeks of nebulizer antibiotics at home. If there is no improvement after that time, it requires a hospital admission for IV drugs.

Cam Pep

Cam using his PEP mask. He will try anything to get out of doing it

He has progressed from percussion physiotherapy to resistance breathing techniques using a PEP mask and “huffing” through a wide pipe to help move any mucous around in his lungs. He is now in charge of his own physiotherapy (of course, under close watch by us, as he is well-known for trying to worm his way out of it!)

His high fat, high salt diet is now easily maintained. It was a massive learning curve when he started solids, but now we just add the “goodies” to meals once separated from the rest of the family’s meal, or add a few extra high-calorie snacks to his lunch box, and extra helpings whenever he requests. Cam is a little on the shorter side, but in terms or weight and build…he is actually a little Buddha for a CF kid , who are generally notoriously lanky/skinny.

Cam eating

This kid LOVES his food!

He is pretty good about dealing with his condition. About two years ago, he had a little breakdown. He suddenly didn’t want to do his physio. He didn’t want to have his medication. He didn’t want needles. He didn’t want to see doctors. He didn’t want to have cystic fibrosis anymore. There was a bit of focus on him at school as he was in pre-primary, and the other kids were taking notice that he was a bit different. In the past, his outlook was “I am different, and that makes me AWESOME!”…suddenly, it was “I’m different, and I don’t know if I like it anymore…”

We decided to just pull back a bit and allow him to work through it on his own. We didn’t push him in to anything he didn’t want to do (with¬†the exception of physio and medication…sorry buddy…no escaping that!) We let him talk things out. I spoke to his teacher, and they tried to make things as discreet as possible at school (ie. having medication away from the rest of class)

I have to admit, I was a bit surprised at how young he was when his “breakdown” came. I am sure that many more are expected over the coming years, but I’m sure we can work through it.

We don’t stop Cam from doing anything. We want him to experience everything he can. He recently started sword fighting classes, which he loves considering he loves pirates and ninjas! He has a great circle of friends who understand his condition, but don’t see him as his condition. He plays pranks on his family, much to our chagrin sometimes. He also gives the best cuddles (but not in front of anyone….of course!)

Silly Cam

Nothing is going to stop this kid!

Life certainly isn’t easy when you live with cystic fibrosis, but it certainly isn’t as bad as what I envisioned it would be when he was first diagnosed. I’m not making light of the condition….CF sucks…it truly, truly sucks. But we have been lucky with our experience so far….a lot of other families haven’t.

May is CF Awareness Month. 65 Roses Day is on the 27th May this year. All I ask is that you take a moment to familiarize yourself with the condition. I’m not going to push for donations (though it would be awesome if you could) but the whole focus is awareness.

I just hope that sharing our experiences, it sheds a little light.

 

Bella ūüôā

 

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CF annual review-July, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took Cameron on the long trip back to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth for his annual CF review. We also had our daughter, Eva, in tow so that she could be reassessed for her respiratory issues.

Our first appointment of the day was for Cameron’s lung function test.
He had just started doing this new type of lung function test at his last clinic visit only 3 months prior as he was now at an age to start using the testing machine, “Mr. Wobbly” (called so because of the way it makes your cheeks wobble during the testing phase)

Cam's stage one lung function test- "Mr. Wobbly"

Cam’s stage one lung function test- “Mr. Wobbly”

He aced it on his first go, and had no trouble completing it again this time around. He also did this new test that they have started doing on younger kids where they breath in pure oxygen for a short period, then test how long it takes for the carbon dioxide levels to go back to normal. This apparently helps to indicate if all areas of the lungs are being used. He did very well and completed this task without an issue. Very proud mumma right here!

Cam during stage two of lung function test. I'm sure there is a proper name for this particular procedure, but I missed what it was...

Cam during stage two of lung function test. I’m sure there is a proper name for this particular procedure, but I missed what it was…

We had a quick look at the results on our way back to the clinic area, but could not make heads or tails or what the figures meant. But since nothing was highlighted in red, we assume everything is still going really well.

Then he had to be measured, as is routine at the start of every clinic. The little fatty boombah put on another 300-400g in the last three months, putting him just under 20kg. This puts him on about the 80th percentile for weight.
I can’t remember how tall he is (110cm rings a bell…) and I’m not sure how much he has grown recently, but they are happy that he is steadily travelling along the 25th percentile for height (which is great, as I was told that height can quite often be stunted in CF)

The first CF team member we saw was the physiotherapist, who makes sure that he is still undergoing his physio techniques properly. This meant watching him use his PEP mask, doing a few percussion motions and making sure we are still using the correct hand motions. She also checked his shoulders. Apparently his left shoulder is a bit “tight” which can cause a hunch. This stops the chest cavity opening up properly and the lungs don’t take a full breath. So we have to get him stretching and hanging (like on monkey bars or tree branches, etc)

We then saw the dietician and gastroentologist together. They were very happy with his weight gain and his dietary intake.

Cameron has an intolerance to fresh dairy (milks, yoghurts, cheese…etc…but once cooked, it’s not a problem…so things like cakes and sauces aren’t a problem!) It’s more of a dairy protein intolerance. We figured it out when he was about a year old and we were trying to make the change from formula to cow’s milk. I tried everything under the sun….goat milk, oat milk, rice milk, lactose free milk….everything….and soy is the only thing he could tolerate. Apparently the protein levels in these other types are very similar to cow’s milk….which is how we came to the dairy protein intolerance diagnosis.
We were told that if kids couldnt tolerate these foods by the time they were about 5-6 years old, they probably would never be able to,

dairy free
So the team were very happy to hear that is starting to tolerate fresh dairy a bit better. He has normal dairy yoghurt, custards, a bit of cheese (though not too much in a day, or it sets him off all bloated, gassy…and well…messy!!) We havent attempted cow’s milk yet, but he is still happy enough on soy milk. When he has normal dairy foods, we find it helpful to give him an extra Creon tablet (enzyme medication which helps to break down the fat in his foods during digestion) So if he were to have some yoghurt, and fat content requires him to have 2 Creon tablets, we give him 3 instead….which works well.
They told us to keep trying to introduce dairy to his diet and see how he goes. Soy doesn’t have the same calorie and fat content of dairy, which makes it more difficult to boost fats in the CF diet, but we obviously seem to be managing!

They also told me that they now require all CF patients to take Vitamin D supplements as the multivitamin (VITABDECK) was not substantial enough for absorption levels. Since Cam was already on Vitamin D levels, and on a higher dosage than what they normally make standard for everyone, he is to remain on this dosage as it seems to be working for him.

They were going to take some blood samples during his bronchoscopy later in the week to test for other things, like salt levels (which there was a slight increase in his daily intake of sodium chloride solution) and iron levels (which have been borderline needing medication for a long while now, but they are hesitant to prescribe medication for it as it can cause constipation, which can already be a major issue for CF-er’s with their digestive issues)
I havent heard anything since returning home, no phone calls about needing extra medications, so I can only assume that they were nothing to worry about until we see them again in three months.

We then saw the respiratory doctor. He was very happy with Cam’s progress, especially since he has managed to escape all the winter bugs so far (wish I could say the same about the rest of the family though!!)

I'm sure there are plenty out there who can relate...

I’m sure there are plenty out there who can relate…

When we arrived at the hospital (since we had just gotten off the highway and went straight to the hospital for appointments) I realised I made a MASSIVE mistake…..I had left ALL of Cam’s medications at home, including his Creon!! I can’t stress how much an issue this was. Since he had only eaten things in the car which didnt require any medication (fruit, etc) we didn’t realise until then that we had no medications so that Cam could have lunch!
We sucked it up, and gave Cam a sandwich anyway, thinking we would just have to deal with the mess later (without Creon, food passes straight through, undigested. It makes an almighty, smelly mess in its wake ūüė¶ )¬†
We got a doctor to quickly write a prescription for all of Cam’s medications and handed it in to pharmacy at the hospital, hoping it would be filled quickly.

But no, we spent more time waiting for the medications than we did seeing specialists. Normally, to avoid the wait, we hand in the prescription and pick it up the next day, but due to the urgency, we had to wait around. That was more exhausting than seeing the team!

There is a lot more to write about, such as Cam’s bronchoscopy, and Eva’s check up…both are long stories that can be set aside for another post. So keep an eye out!!

Bella ūüôā

GIANT decisions

Howdy readers,

Tonight’s subject is a bit of a touchy one. I have been wanting to write about this for a little while, and after a couple of glasses of wine, inhibition have flown out the window, allowing me to write about a bit of a taboo subject.

I am constantly asked one of two questions. “Are you going to have more kids?” or “You aren’t having anymore kids…are you??

My answer is always the same: While I feel like my body has the ability to have one more child (and I would love to have another child, especially another little girl) My husband and I have enough factors against us to not have any more.

The movie the inticed my husband and I to have a large family

The movie the enticed my husband and I to have a large family

My husband and I had always decided to have a big family. Hollywood effected us a bit in this department due to the movie Cheaper by the Dozen. While we knew that no way in hell were we going to have twelve kids, we agreed (for a while) that seven was going to our magic number. This was taking into account “whoops” babies, and the high possibility of twins.

Our first child was planned, although he came along a lot faster than we intended. We were expecting to by trying to conceive for a while….it only took about two months of some-what trying (not exactly trying, but not exactly stopping it either) A few false negative home pregnancy tests left us shocked at our first ultrasound when I was seven week further along in pregnancy than we thought. Though, we were excited. We had recently bought our first home together and were ready to start a family.

But then I fell pregnant again six months later (whilst I was on the pill)….then amazingly, I fell pregnant within seven weeks of giving birth to my daughter! Just a year after giving birth to my middle son, I fell pregnant again (and again, while on the pill!)

Four single births in four years is a damn good effort!! But this is not the reason why my husband and I have decided not to continue on to our goal of seven children.

As you all know, my eldest two have significant development delay. It is something that seems to run in my family, with other family members that have had development issues as well. But most significantly, our youngest son has cystic fibrosis. If you have listened to me ramble on enough, you would know it is a genetic condition that has to come from both parents. This is the main (and its a very big one!) reason why we aren’t having any more children.
We have had such a good run with my youngest son.After he was diagnosed,  I was expecting to be constantly in and out of hospital. We have been incredibly lucky to have only had two CF related hospitalizations (one other was due to a bad case of tonsillitis)

What if we aren’t so lucky with the next child? What if that child is very sickly and has a lower quality of life? Since two CF people aren’t meant to be in close proximity of each other due to a high risk of cross-contamination….what if the new baby (if it had CF) makes my youngest son even more sick. Since we have already had run-in’s with CF-super bugs, Pseudomonas, what if my youngest son makes the new baby very sick?
Development delay is so predominant in our little herd, what if the next baby has issues as well? That would be another strain on the family. To be constantly one step forward, two steps back. It’s hard enough already!

These are all very important factors my husband and I have discussed about a lot since my youngest was diagnosed. Please do not judge us, but we have decided that should I fall pregnant again (since contraception quite obviously doesn’t agree with me) we would undergo an¬†amniocentesis( or whatever test they do for this sort of thing) and if test results come back positive for CF, we would terminate. I know it would be an exceptionally hard decision for my to make, and will create a lot of emotional turmoil….but it would be the best thing for our family in the long run.

However, we have been blessed with four children already. It was easy for us to be able to say “NO MORE” (even if my biological clock is still ticking for one more…I know it isn’t the right thing to do for us) It was our fourth child that was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition.

But what if it was your first child, or even your second…and you wanted more? Or if you met a new partner, who was also a carrier, and you wanted to have more children with that person? These are the people I feel for as they have so many emotional, and moral, questions to ask themselves.

To quote someone who I spoke with about this issue a while ago….the following questions are the sort of thing that come to mind (and I am just using CF as an example here. Any medical condition can be placed here):

Do you or don't you?

Do you or don’t you?

*What are the issues of having more children with CF? (eg. financially, mentally/emotionally, physically) especially when there is a 1 in 4 chance. (Or if you have CF yourself, and your partner is a carrier, you have a 75% chance of having a CF child)

*Do you have kids knowingly that you risk creating a child that will suffer all its life?

*Do you conceive, then terminate if it is discovered it will have CF? Then does that diminish the value of life for those who already have CF?

* If you go through IVF and discard the embryos that have CF, does that make it any different to an abortion?

* If you already have CF and your partner is a carrier, will you be able to care for the child when you are sick? Do you take the chance knowing it will be a huge toll on your body (as a female with CF)? Do you have children knowing the risk that there is a chance you may die young?

There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. The love for family can overcome all of these issues, but then again, it might be too much than you can deal with. Don’t ever feel pressured into such a big decision. It all comes down to what is best for YOUR family!!

I hope I have given you some food for thought.

Bella ūüôā

****EXTRA NOTES****

This post is not about trying to stop people from having children, but more to bring attention to the thought process that plagues some people about extending their family when they know a medical condition is possible.

I know this is a bit of a controversial subject, as it touches on pregnancy terminations, so while comments are encouraged, I will delete any nasty ones!

The “Mara” family’s story- part 1

Some time ago, I put the call out into cyber space, for any parents of children with special needs to share their stories.

It wasn’t only limited to Cystic Fibrosis or Global Development Delay. Anyone who wanted to share their experiences as a way to vent, or hopefully help someone in a similar situation, were (and still are) invited to tell their stories.

The wonderful Carly Mara accepted the challenge ūüôā

Her daughter, Ava, not only has CF, but was also born with a cleft lip, and was also dealing with hip dysplasia. While all this was going on, Carly’s father had a stroke.

Her story has touched me. I can relate to so much of it (well, the CF side of it anyway!) I found myself nodding along as she describes her emotions. She has explained them so much better than I could!

Thank you so much, Carly, for sharing your family’s experience¬†(and providing pics)

Follow her story. We will be publishing it in installments.

Bella ūüôā

¬†Here is part one of Carly’s story….

 

Meet baby Ava. Isn't she adorable???

The 14th September 2010 was just like any other day.

We had a 3 week old baby girl who was born with a Cleft Lip and was also in a froggy brace for Hip dysplasia. Her cleft was discovered at my 20-week anatomy scan(another day I will never forget!)

¬†I was devastated.¬†I just couldn’t believe this had happened to our baby girl’s face! It was hard enough getting her here to begin with, being that she is our IVF miracle I was sure that was the biggest hurdle we were going to have to overcome! So once I got those¬†two little lines, and the confirmed blood test, I thoughtWOW. We did it!”

Little did I know there were three things waiting for us around the corner, the biggest blow coming to us last.

I remember the midwife coming to check on Ava. and also to do the Guthrie Test. It’s funny. you¬†know, cos when I think back, the midwife handed me a pamphlet explaining the Guthrie Test, how it was done and what it screened. I had a really quick look at it and placed it on the table. My mother-in-law said “Have you read through it?” I said “Yeah” quickly, then the midwife said I should sit down and have a read.

Once again, I just flicked through it thinking to myself “Nah it’s all good. We’ve got the cleft lip and the brace (which was fitted at¬†three days old)…there couldn’t possibly be anything else.”¬† So the whole thing just left my head. Test was done, Ava was looking well and doing everything a newborn should be doing so all was great. I never gave that Guthrie test another thought.

We knew Ava’s Cleft would be repaired at 3-months-old, so we were concentrating mostly on that, trying to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally. So the morning of the 14th September, I was sitting on my bed, Ava was asleep and my hubby was out in the kitchen. The phone rang, he answered it. I could hear him talking for a while but couldn’t hear what was being said. Didnt really think much of it. Then he hung up walked in and said to me ” That was a lady from Princess Margaret Hospital. She said Ava has tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis”

I just looked up at him and said “What?”

Ava in her brace for hip dysplasia

I was dumbfounded! Mostly cos I wasnt too familair with CF. I knew it existed along with a million other diseases. I knew it wasnt a nice one, cos I remember a conversation with my mum years ago talking about her nursing years. She said that from things she saw she never wanted to have a baby with four particular diseases, one of which was CF.

I asked hubby to tell me the whole conversation, so he repeated what he just told me. I demanded more information, but I think he was stuck too, not knowing exactly what had just happened. But luckily he wrote down¬†a phone¬†number, so I called and got Liz on the phone. She explained that the Guthrie test had come back positive for Cystic Fibrosis. She gave me a rough run down of what it was. I just kept asking her if they were sure, like, really, really sure. Is it possible they’ve made a mistake? Are there any other tests Ava has to do to further confirm it?

Liz told me about the Sweat Test. I think I was on the phone to her for about twenty minutes, going around in circles pretty much, trying to comprehend what was being said, and at the same time flat-out rejecting it. I wanted to scream and cry. I also felt totally numb and angry and confused.

I think about a week or¬†two later we had to go to PMH for CF Education, woah! What a head spin that was! So many people, soo¬†much information. All so scary, confusing and overwhelming. I think it was even harder for me at the time, because¬†the same day as Ava’s diagnosis, my dad had his second stroke, so we were between Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital & PMH for quite some time.

Thank God we were given so much literature, cos there is no way in hell I could have retained much information. Everyone time someone walked into our little room to talk to us about their part in CF treatment, I felt defensive and a little stand-offish, like it was their fault we were there. I felt some kind of resentment towards Liz for calling us that day too. Every time we would get a phone call or appointment letter I would feel angry because I just wanted us to be left alone. I had waited sooo long to finally have my little baby, and I was having to share her with all these people.

Being shown all the physio positions and all the medication Ava would be on was very overwhelming. Where physio was concerned, for a few months, it wasnt at the top our priority list because Ava had to be in the froggy brace for 23 hours a day (it could only come off at bath time). Our physio understood, so that was one less thing taking up space in my head.

¬†Our first lung function test was a whole lot of drama for nothing. Very stressful the first time around. The sedative didnt do¬†its job. Ava was screaming and crying, which was upsetting me. I hated seeing her have to go through all this stuff. At one point, hubby was holding Ava in one arm and vacuuming the main desk in Respiratory Department, trying to get Ava to sleep (she was a white noise baby for quite a few months. I spent many hours with the blow dryer going or the vacuum putting her to sleep, even at 3am!) But unfortunately this day at PMH it just didn’t¬†work. So after an hour or so, we decided it was time to go home, thank God! Once home, Ava slept soundly -of course!

Our first Bronchoscopy was an experience too!

Fasting a baby is horrible. Being in the waiting room with other parents and their children, waiting to be called in, while your walking the floors with a screaming baby is no fun at all! Plus being a bag of nerves knowing what is going to happen, your mind going over what they might find in those little lungs, it was really starting to do my head in! Then finally we were called in. The walk down the corridor felt so long, cuddling Ava soo tight and giving her the biggest kisses as I hand her to my husband, Chris, so he could be with her when she goes to sleep.

I just felt sooo helpless and guilty, and wishing I could take it all away from her, or that I could go through it all for her. We waited in the Friendship Room. I finally sucked my tears up and it was all over. Into recovery and there she was, my tiny baby, sound asleep. So the tears started again. The results from the bronchoscopy came back fine.Yipeeee!

 One bronc down, Cleft lip repair to go!

To be CONTINUED……Keep an eye out!!!

 

 

***Extra Notes***

¬†The nurse mentioned in this installment, Liz, will be known by West Australian CF families. To those who don’t know her, she is a clinic nurse on the Princess Margaret Hospital CF team. She is the “guru” CF nurse.

The” Friendship Room” mentioned, will also be known to families who have been at PMH. It is a waiting area for parents to sit in while their children are in surgery. It is run by hospital volunteers who serve tea/coffee, provide plenty of magazines and conversation. They receive the call when your child is out of theatre, and escort you down the passages to where your child is in Recovery.

Good news

We finally got¬†the¬†phone call with ¬†results of my son’s bronchoscopy. He doesn’t¬†have Pseudomonas anymore!

YAAAAY!!!!

 

 Yesterday passed by without a word from the hospital, and that little knot of worry started forming in my stomach. If results come back clear, we normally find out by Monday afternoons. I was already forming plans in my head of how I was going to get to Perth with my son so he could go into hospital, what I would take, and mentally arranging a car for my husband to stay home with the other three children.

The wait must have been getting to my husband, as when I came home from work early this afternoon, he had called the hospital himself to ask for results. A couple of hours later (after being told that they would call him back) the phone rang. The Pseudomonas have been eradicated.

However…he does have another (different) bacteria growing in his lungs, but they aren’t¬†terribly worried about it. He is to go on Tobramycin¬†nebulizers for at least two weeks to kill his current chest infection.

So while it wasnt all great news, it was still a relief.

Life continues as normal…well…as normal as normal is in this crazy household!

Bella ūüôā

 

We are home…again!

I seem to get a lot of people who think Albany is in nothern WA...so here is a map!

We are home again from yet another trek to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.

The young one had to have a follow-up bronchoscopy to make sure we have eradicated the Pseudomonas from when he was hospitalised with them back in August.

We left Wednesday morning on the 450km trip to Perth to be at the hospital for specialist appointments that afternoon.

When we arrived, we found clinic to be very quiet. Turned out the respiratory doctor we were due to see was away on maternity leave, and the replacement doctor was off sick, so they had cancelled respiratory appointments. But since we (and one other patient) had travelled considerable distance, they kept our appointments, and found us another respiratory doctor that was floating around.

You would think that since there was only a couple of us waiting for appointments, that we would be over and done with fairly quickly…but no. It took the usual amount of time and we didn’t walk out of the hospital until nearly 5pm. But back to the main story…

My son’s lungs apparently sound pretty good, which is good to hear¬†considering he had a nasty cough that was starting to worry me!) but that is what they said when they discovered Pseudomonas¬†the first time, so I’m¬†not holding any stock in that assessment. But due to that cough, he has to start on Tobramycin¬†nebulizers¬†now that the bronchoscopy¬†is finished and we are home (he isn’t allowed to have nebulizer meds¬†for four weeks before a bronchoscopy¬†as the drugs can affect the results) But everything basically rides on the results from the bronc.

The doctor has also agreed to put our daughter on six monthly visits now (YAAAAY) They are extremely confident now that she does not have CF, but because of her history of chronic coughs (she gets croup at least every one to two months, her latest bout of croup lasted about five weeks) they want to keep an eye on her for a couple of years. They are considering the possibility that she may have weak lung/throat muscles (something she should outgrow in the next few years) and that is why she snores while sleeping, and breathes so heavily when awake. We havent been able to get a result from a lung function test from her, but hopefully the next time she does one, she will be able to do it properly and can get reassessed then. They have also said that they will give us some help with her worrying eating habits (but that is a long subject suitable for another blog post) which is a relief.

Vitamin D...main source? The sun...

Back to my son though. Once finished with the respiratory doctor, we saw the gastroentologists. At the last clinic visit, my son had to have some blood work done to check his vitamin levels. It turns out he is very deficient¬†in vitamin D, enough so that a “bit of time in the sun” wont be enough, and he has been prescribed a new medication, Cholecalciferol¬†(or Bio-Logical Vitamin D3), to help boost levels. He will have to have blood work again in six months to see how his levels are going then.

After that, we went on to see the dietician. They were very happy to see that his weight has improved greatly, as the little porker has put on nearly a kilogram in the last three months!! But they had a little bit more “bad” news (I guess you could call it that), my son is also anaemic. Thankfully, he is only slightly anaemic. They aren’t¬†worried enough to put him on iron tablets, but the main reason for that is because they are worried about the constipation¬†side effect of the tablets. It’s a bit of a surprise that he is anaemic as he absolutely loves¬†his meat. We can only try to add more leafy green veggies¬†and eggs to his diet I guess. The dietician did say that it could be due to the fact that he has a dairy protein intolerance, as anaemia¬†is something they see in people who¬†don’t¬†consume enough (or none at all)¬†dairy. But they will keep an eye on it and will give him tablets when/if they become concerned.

Doesn't look like much fun, does it? ūüė¶

A couple of days later, on Friday, the young on went in for his follow-up¬†bronchoscopy. We still don’t¬†know results yet, and we weren’t really given any indications of what his lungs looked like. We were kind of busy afterwards dealing with the aftermath of the anesthesia. Apparently the procedure didn’t¬†go quite to plan, it sounds like he kept somewhat waking, or moving, during the procedure. He also didn’t¬†wake very well, and especially didn’t like it when the nurses came near him. As only one parent can go in to a child in the first stage of recovery, my husband went this time. I could hear my son screaming in the corridor. I could tell he was having a rough time coming to again. When they walked out to go into second stage recovery, I noticed blood over my husband and son. Yep, my son has ripped the canula out of his hand and blood went squirting everywhere, apparently. He lost a fair bit of blood, but is doing ok.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long for him to be¬†“awake” enough for us to leave, but we still had a rough night that night as he suffered spiking fevers and incoherence, something he seems to go through after having anesthesia these days. Two days on, his appetite is still suffering a bit, but he is happy and playful again, though nap times are probably a bit longer than usual still.

For now, we wait on the phone call from the CF team with the results from his bronchoscopy. I have to admit, I’m¬†not confident that we have gotten rid of the Pseudomonas, but I’m trying not to think about it for now. At least we have plans in place should he have to back to hospital to have intravenous drugs for two weeks again.

Please keep your fingers crossed for us for good results!

Bella ūüôā

The Blame Game

A fellow CF mum contacted me recently about an interesting topic that I thought I would write about.

DNA- it's a complex thing

How would you feel if you knew that you were directly responsible for your child’s medical condition? This is something every parents who has a child with a genetic condition will surely think about. A part of the emotional processing is wanting to blame someone. It’s completely normal to feel like someone is at fault.

 

With cystic fibrosis, a patient needs to have the defective gene from both parents.

 

My husband and I had no idea that we were genetic carriers until my son’s diagnosis. I didn’t really give it much thought at first about the fact that a part of me was to blame. My son was extremely sick at diagnosis, so it took my focus away.

 

In all honesty, I have never really blamed myself for my son’s CF.¬† As far as I am aware, neither has my husband (hard to say, as he is one to keep thoughts like this close to the chest) There was no way of preventing it from happening, and I was accepting that it has happened, we just need to deal with it now.

 

I have other family members who, despite the fact¬†they aren’t going to have more children,¬† have considered getting themselves tested to see if they are genetic carriers, just so they know where it came from. I honestly feel that if these people were to undergo the testing, it would be giving them fuel to blame themselves, when there is no reason to. What happened, has happened. There is no reason to go around pointing fingers.

 

Easier said than done, but try to strip yourself of the emotional burdens!

At the time of my youngest son’s diagnosis, my older children were starting the process of being diagnosed with Global Development Delay. This is when I started wondering what was wrong with me. I had three children who were having development issues (and I have a history of development issues in my family). While the doctor isn’t considering it, surely there is some sort of hereditary reason for it? One child with problems, it happens. Two children, that’s really unlucky. Three children…there has to be something going on! A lot of these feelings¬†are because of the frustration of not being able to find a diagnosis (there are names for everything these days…cant we find something?) therefore, we can only access a limited amount of resources to aid their development…but that is another subject.

 

I have said these to a lot of other mums¬†who have gone through similar things (such as premature labour, gestational diabetes, children with medical conditions) there is nothing that you could have done. Unfortunately, the odds and percentages sometimes don’t work in your favour. You just need to put aside the guilty feelings and concentrate on what is important…the small humans that create chaos in your life!

 

I hope this makes sense to you readers, and you own opinions/experiences are encouraged.

Bella ūüôā