Update & prayer request

Here are our highlights:

  • Faith had another MRI today (with and without contrast), as well as an MRV.  These were ordered for the severe post-infusion headaches she’s having as they want to rule out a blockage in the blood vessels in her brain.  Her headache pain is currently rated at a 6 on a 1-10 scale.
  • Her Immunoglobulin levels have dropped too low again; we’ll be at the hospital all week for another high dose IVIG infusion (# 11), running over 4 days this time, in hopes of decreasing the side effects.
  • She continues to struggle with the P.A.N.D.A.S. symptoms, most challenging the last couple years are the anxiety, emotional lability (strikes out of the blue) and obsessive bad thoughts, although there are many others.  We hope this will dissipate as she heals (it takes up to two years with each exacerbation – this is # 3), as they have in the past.
    • She’s never had a full two years to heal as she has so many strep throat infections, that she winds up back at square one each fall/winter for the last three years every time she gets another one.  Thus, she’s pulling out of this one more slowly than previously; however, we trust in God’s divine healing power.
    • Did I mention that we went Gluten Free in November… a week before Thanksgiving?  Ha!  It’s actually going quite well and we’ve had a lot of fun trying new things!  I absolutely believe this alone has had a very positive impact, not only on the PANDAS, but on the migraines as well.  Most PANDAS children struggle with rage, thrashing (severe tics… looks like a seizure, but if you’re familiar with those, the movements are different), unconscious episodes that can last up to several hours (and they do not remember afterward… a blessing as our kids are so guilt ridden).  While Faith never had tantrums as a child; she has a severe case of PANDAS and experienced these episodes during her first two exacerbations… however, those have been completely absent this past year!!  Praise the Lord for this blessing!!

Also, a young person dear to my heart has just been diagnosed with cancer and has started aggressive treatment for it.

I’ve been feeling the strain myself recently of too many medical challenges (and drama) in recent years, overwhelmed and tired.  I’m sure I’ll be fine with God’s help, but I do need to make some changes to take better care of my own needs on a regular basis.  I don’t tend to excel in that area.

Please keep us all in your prayers; thank you.

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State academic tests

As of today, Faith has completed all of her state testing for 7th grade. Although she missed an enormous amount of content this year due to hospitalizations, IVIG infusions, medical appointments, etc as she battles PANDAS, we have worked very hard for her to learn the content, even as she missed about half the year. Thankfully, God has blessed Faith with a strong desire to learn & succeed and she’s worked very hard to master the material.

Thank you for all your prayers for her; they’re deeply appreciated! She passed proficient in all subjects, and even passed advanced in English… stunning, given how far behind she was. God is so good!!! Eighth grade, here we come!!! Faith is glad to have this year completed & behind her… we hope to give her some hard earned down time soon. Take that, PANDAS! You will never have her!

She is continuing to have severe headaches following her IVIG infusions. This one has lasted three weeks… constant pain rated at 8-10. We see her PANDAS specialist Thursday; please pray for wisdom and guidance for her entire medical team and us, as we seek solutions to regain health and reduce these side effects. NIMH indicates that once a child has had three exacerbations, PANDAS-PITAND becomes chronic. This year has been her third. We continue to trust that we are in God’s hands, as we seek any and all solutions to reclaim her health.

I also now have a teenager, but we’ve been too busy to post about that. I’ll try to update & posts pics soon.

Our children need help NOW! PANS: PANDAS-PITAND Legislation

People sometimes ask me how they can help in our journey with PANDAS. Please read this and take a few minutes to write your representatives on behalf of children who desperately need medical care for these autoimmune conditions. Thank you!
Do you have a child or know a family who has been impacted by PANS: PANDAS-PITAND?

I encourage everyone to contact their state representatives in support of similar legislation!  This will only take a few minutes of your time and will do so much to help a child whose life has been turned upside down.

See this link: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to contact your representatives!  It’s imperative to share with them the devastating impact this has on children and their families and the urgent need for additional research, as well as ICD listing and insurance coverage!
Please, be clear that high dosage IVIG *has* been shown to be helpful for these autoimmune conditions and should be covered by insurance for all PANDAS-PITAND (PANS) children.  Each treatment costs $ 10,000 – $ 12,000 and many children (such as Faith) require ongoing infusions.  Often, they are not covered by insurance.
The NIMH page is clear and they are currently conducting another study to demonstrate the benefits of IVIG.  See: http://intramural.nimh.nih.gov/pdn/web.htm and refer your representatives to this page as well as this 1999 study: Therapeutic plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin for obsessive compulsive disorder and tic disorders in childhood. Perlmutter, S. et al. 1999
Also, direct them to our website:  PANDAS-PITAND Awareness & Research Supportfor additional information. Review the list of symptoms on our home page.  Imagine your previously normal child suddenly becoming gripped by most, if not all of these symptoms at extreme levels of intensity.  These children know there is something very wrong with their brains… they live with sudden onset

  • phobias,
  • obsessions,
  • contamination fears,
  • anxieties,
  • separation fears,
  • school refusal (yes, even children who loved school and were in gifted classes),
  • incontinence
  • sleep difficulties, including fear of sleeping in their own room
  • academic decline & loss of previously acquired skills, especially Math
  • uncontrollable movements
  • emotional lability, including rages (even in children who previously did not have temper tantrums)
  • ADHD
  • Major Depression
  • Relentless unwanted “bad thoughts” (this can range from thoughts of harming others to thoughts of suicide)
  • compulsions
  • memory loss
  • inability to trust your own brain and body that are suddenly turning on you in dramatic ways

The lives of your family change, literally overnight and are never the same… unless you can get this monstrous auto-immune disease into remission.

I co-admin a group of hundreds of PANS: PANDAS-PITAND parents, that grows daily.  These families are in crisis, desperate to find help for their seriously ill child(ren).  There are only a handful of physicians in this country who are currently experienced in treating these conditions.  If you have any questions about these conditions, please message me through this blog or our website: PANDAS-PITAND Awareness & Research Support Contact page
Our children can’t wait.  They need help NOW!   Thank you for helping a child… please share this post.
PANDAS & PITAND Awareness Ribbon

PANDAS-PITAND Awareness Ribbon

Schoolwork!

Faith’s severe headache continues as the phlebitis slowly improves.
She continues working hard to complete her schoolwork in preparation for the state tests she must take. Even with the lack of sleep, bad headache & phlebitis, she completed what she knew of a 12 page Math packet this weekend. Her homebound teacher will review any weak areas on Monday.
I’m so proud of her amazing steadfast determination and continued high personal academic standards for herself. What a courageous and tenacious person! She continues to demonstrate that God is preparing her for great things! What a blessing!!!
We appreciate your continued prayers… wanted you to know how our ever faithful Lord is answering them!

ER again…

ER… I suspect Faith has phlebitis or thrombophlebitis at IV site from IVIG infusion this week. I called our Peds after hours line & was told to bring her in to be evaluated. We just got home from Children’s Hospital around 1 am due to the side effects post-infusion. All three infusion days were about 14 hours … each. She remains in severe pain (rated at 9 on 1-10 scale) from the post-infusion headache.
#canmommysecureabedandsleep

Hubby has been working extended hours for work project; thankfully, the pressure on that seems to be easing now.

Prayers requested that this won’t be serious and for plenty of restorative sleep for all of us this weekend. We walk on faith that God holds us in His hands & take things moment by moment.

UPDATE: It is phlebitis, but thankfully, there is no blood clot. Rash on torso non-issue. Simple tx should resolve phlebitis at IV site within a few days. We’ll follow up with Ped to re-check in a few days.  When Faith left the room for a few minutes, her nurse said she wanted to tell me that she noticed how elegant she is and how poised she carries herself… even with headache pain at a 9 on a 1-10 scale, she was still engaged with the ER staff and smiling… what a positive sign God gave me that healing is underway and her true personality is shining through.
#soblessed!

Rough week; please pray

We’re in the midst of a very difficult week & we’re all feeling the strain. Please keep us in your prayers.

Still at hospital, day three of #10; almost 11 pm.

Still at hospital. Headache up to 9.5 with nausea. Several calls to doc & we’ve tried all we can safely do. Running fluids now (poor child is going to float away!) & another anti-inflammatory. Hoping we can go home & try sleep next.
Please pray for these side effects to diminish such that she can complete her schoolwork to master the state tests next week.

10th IVIG infusion … 3rd & final day

It’s been a long week … construction right outside our window here, cut her rate in half… helped a lot with headache, but took hours longer to run. I anticipate it will take even longer today.
Headache started spiking as she went to bed … hate to wake her. I’m feeling drained & weary from all the traveling … need rest. Hubby also working very long hours. We’re all exhausted. We’ll be home tonight & praying it’s a quiet weekend for all of us.
Faith is in a strong push to complete half a year of missed content (due to illnesses) and take state tests, starting next week; I’m overseeing that and helping her through it. Please pray she is well enough to do this.
Please pray for us… for stamina, good spirits, good rest and peace… and for all these issues to resolve smoothly.
UPDATE:  Infusion is running, headache at 7-8 (I had her nurse give an anti-inflammatory, hoping that will help as nothing else is helping), we will only go up to half of max rate today, which we hope will help with the several days of post-infusion side effects (severe headaches & vomiting) she has been having.  Here’s a pic of today – PANDAS girls can change the world!!!  All PANDAS-PITAND boys & girls can… and I believe, will change the world!!!  These children are amazing & have enormous  intelligence, tenacity and courage!!

IVIG # 10 - PANDAS girls can change the world!

IVIG # 10 – PANDAS girls can change the world!

IVIG infusion # 10… part one of three

Very long day.. Infusion is done for today… left the hospital around 11:30 pm; we are in our room to sleep now.

Please pray for restful sleep for both of us and for things to go smoothly the rest of the week, as well as endurance for the long days. Please also pray for continued healing for Faith … today was especially difficult with a lot of PANDAS symptoms of anxiety, emotional liability (sad & teary, with no idea why) and difficulty processing academically. It took several hours to start the IV.

We go back first thing Weds & Thurs mornings for part two and three of this infusion.

Please also pray that she will be able to complete her schoolwork in preparation for the state tests she must take, starting next week. TIA!

High Dose IVIG Infusion # 10

High dose IVIG Infusion # 10 starts today (Tuesday, May 15) & will hopefully, be done by Thursday evening.  She’s in good spirits, after being able to participate in her worship dance recital last night.

We’ve been making dietary adjustments.  We removed gluten in mid-November 2011 and her migraines (that were severe, not responding to medication & were the catalyst for two back to back hospitalizations at the time) improved three weeks later… to the day.  She does still get them sometimes, but they respond to medication now.  Also, since going gluten free, we’ve lost count of how many times we’ve walked out the door and found that it’s raining.  This is of huge significance for both of us as our migraines have always been so strongly triggered by weather that I stopped checking weather years ago, since my migraines were a more reliable predictor that rain was on the way.

Because she had a dairy intolerance as an infant, I also removed dairy from her diet a few weeks ago as a trial to see if it helps – like gluten, removing dairy does help a lot of kids with neuro-immuno issues.  I also started her on daily green smoothies… and… the Blendtec Total blender (with the new Wildside jar) my husband ordered for me just arrived!!!  This is a pic of one similar to ours… and yes, we’re blending most, if not all (& more!) of the items you see in the pic in our green smoothies:

Photo from: http://www.terawarner.com/blog/2011/03/meet-our-st-pattys-green-smoothie-challenge-blendtec-winner-jean-guerini/

I was only able to use it one time before we headed to the hospital last night for her infusion today.  The blend was amazingly smooth!!  It was neat to see how much smoother than our regular blender was. What a delicious way to eat our greens & other nutrition!  The last couple of weeks, I’m seeing her slowly start to improve… she still has a way to go, but we’re thankful for all improvements, no matter how small.  🙂

I’ll try to check in later… prayers are very appreciated that this infusion will go well as she has consistently been having severe headaches (sometimes with vomiting and fever) that last for nearly a week following these infusions.

Thank you for following her story and praying for her and our family… you’re each a blessing to our family!

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