Friday, August 31, 2012
WARNING!!! This post is about to greatly improve your day. Proceed with Caution!
Let me start by saying a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have prayed diligently for Ella’s iron levels. It has been a long and stressful road.
Let me start with the end of February. That’s when we started going to the local Children’s blood clinic to get Ella iron infusions. On our first visit her hemoglobin level was 6.1. Just for comparison sake, the “normal” level for a 5 year old child is around 11, so Ella was almost half what she should have been.
We started with iron infusions every other week and were seeing little, if any, improvement. We then tried doing them every week to 10 days, and still weren’t seeing the kind of improvement we had hoped. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for us to go in a week after an iron infusion and for reasons no one could explain, her iron would be LOWER than it was before the iron infusion. It was frustrating to say the least.
Finally, when Ella went in for her g-tube surgery we talked to the doctors and decided that it was time for a blood transfusion. This was not a decision we made lightly. It was made because what we were doing wasn’t working, so we had to take things up to the next level. The blood transfusion bumped her hemoglobin up significantly, but she still wasn’t within the “normal” range. On June 8th, one week after her second blood transfusion, Ella’s hemoglobin was up to 10.9 which was the highest it had been since she was a baby! Unfortunately just a couple of weeks after that she dropped back down to around 9. Not nearly as bad as it had been, but still not ideal.
On August 20th, after returning from Wyoming, we went to get Ella’s blood checked. The nurses could not get an IV started. Ella’s veins were shot. After about 5 tries they finally decided just to see if we could get a small blood draw and just check to see if her hemoglobin was at least at a level where we could wait another week to do something. Since it had been over a month since her last blood work, we all were under the assumption that she was going to be low. After they got the little blood draw, I went into the exam room and started praying for a miracle. That was the only thing that was going to help at this point…a miracle that her hemoglobin would somehow be at a decent level. A few minutes later the nurse came in and showed me the results of Ella’s blood work…10.7!!! God had answered our prayer! I did what any mother would do in that situation…I burst into tears. The doctor came in and I got a great lesson on high altitude and its effect on red blood cells and hemoglobin levels. I now understand what they mean in the Olympics when they talk about “blood doping.” When Joe came home from work that night he immediately started looking for the highest altitude in Virginia. In case you were wondering it’s a little town called Monterey, VA, population around 200.
Today we went back to the doctor again to see how things looked. We didn’t even try for an IV this time, and just decided to check her blood and see where things were. I prayed all morning for a 10…just a 10 was all we needed to avoid getting an IV. Ella’s veins need a break, and as selfish as it is, I didn’t want to spend my day sitting in a blood clinic all day (and when I say all day, I mean ALL DAY…we got there at 8:45 am and in the past when she’s had a blood transfusion we’ve left around 4pm). After the labs were drawn we went into the exam room and I just prayed and prayed. A few minutes later the nurse came in with a smile on her face…this was a good sign. 10.6! Amazing! Ella and I were so excited that we both stood up and did a happy dance! And we happy danced our way right out of the office.
We are, by no means, out of the woods. Ella is constantly losing iron through her wounds, so we have to go back in a few weeks to get things checked again, but I have to say that for today I am rejoicing! Ella’s little body has to endure so much, and sometimes I just feel like the kid doesn’t get a break. Well, today she finally got a little break. We went to Target to celebrate and I told Ella she could pick out any prize she wanted. She chose a pack of Kleenex with jack-o-lanterns on it from the $1 section. I love this kid!