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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another answer to "Why Did I End Up Here?"

So many times I wonder why things happen the way they do.  This summer was one I will always remember.  My previous blog entries explained how I took a vacation and ended up relocating to another state.  The series of unplanned and unpredictable circumstances left me feeling confused at times.  I had to push away moments of self-doubt and feelings of guilt that I had disappointed my family.  Challenges have a way of doing that to a person.  Here's what I hope to share with you today...

There is usually a plan and reasons behind unexplained detours.  In time, the reasons are revealed and the answers to , "Why did I end up here?" are clarified.  Last Wednesday was my time to have some of those questions answered.  I can't begin to tell you how relieved and grateful I am that God had a bigger plan in mind for my family than I could have ever imagined.

All of my children have had problems with asthma.  Last year my son Nathan struggled the most with asthma related symptoms.  He frequently needed to use inhalers and a nebulizer when his breathing was affected.  Often, he experienced facial swelling and fevers that prompted several visits to the Emergency Room.  Each time, he was given breathing treatments and Prednisone, a steroid, to treat his symptoms.  His Pediatrician reassured me that the swelling resulted from the asthma.  I asked if there could be something else wrong beside the asthma, but was advised that many children have similar symptoms from asthma.  We continued to treat Nathan with Ventolin inhaler as needed, Flovent 2x/daily, and Albuterol via Nebulizer at night when his coughing was severe enough to keep him awake at night.  This went on for over one year.

During our stay in Colorado this summer, the children experienced reduced asthma symptoms.  None of them required Albuterol via Nebulizer. Their need for inhaler treatments significantly decreased.  We only used the inhalers 2-3x all summer.  It was wonderful to have an illness-free summer.  Due to our "spontaneous relocation" requirements, I ended up reapplying for health insurance in Colorado.  I immediately arranged medical appointments for all children since we needed to have a place to transfer medical records from Georgia to Colorado.  The appointments were scheduled just in time.   Nathan was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that will require on-going monitoring.

A little over one week ago Nathan began to retain fluids that made his face, legs, and stomach swell more than we had ever seen before.  Thankfully, he had an appointment scheduled for last Wednesday.  I told the doctor that our previous Pediatrician had treated his Symptoms as if he only had asthma.  I told her that I felt there was something more going on.  She checked him thoroughly and asked for a urine specimen.  Sure enough, he was spilling proteins and blood into his urine. 

Nathan was diagnosed with  Nephrotic Syndrome   which is a type of kidney disease where there is loss of protein in the urine.  When protein is lost from the blood, there is swelling of the face, arms, legs and abdomen as fluids leak into these tissues.  The cause is uncertain.  The doctor told me that taking him to the Emergency Room where he was given Prednisone (a steroid) probably kept him from going into kidney failure.  I wish his previous Pediatrician had been more aware of this disease!  I kept thinking, "What if I hadn't taken him to the ER as often as I did?"  A mother's instinct should always be taken seriously! 

I am relieved to finally have a reason for Nathan's frequent trips to the ER.   I am grateful for all the challenges I faced this summer.  I am appreciative of this opportunity to reorganize, reconnect, and reinvent my family life here in Colorado.  Most of all, I feel blessed that I trusted myself to take care of my family and take a huge leap of faith in remaining here.  I believe I had to be here so that I could establish a better network of medical care for my I had struggled to maintain in Georgia.  (Our health insurance situation there was tenuous at best.)

Nathan's swelling has already decreased since he has been taking the Prednisone. His Pediatrician is also prescribing a medication for high blood pressure and to prevent stomach irritation...side effects of the Prednisone treatment protocol.  Thank God we found a good Pediatrician who identified the problem.  So, if anyone asks why I ended up here....I'll say it had to be part of a bigger plan for our family. 

Update as of 07/08/2016

Nathan has been doing extremely well since his diagnosis three years ago.  His symptoms have been in remission for almost 2 years now, but we continue to have him tested every time he gets a cold or infection.  Thankfully that has been minimal.  He will need to continue being vigilant regarding this condition, but we feel hopeful that things are going well.  That first year of his treatments was challenging, as he required weekly visits to the doctor to check on medications.