Monday, March 7, 2011

Frightening Little Puzzle

Campbell.  Her name has become synonymous with the word: puzzle.

As I said before, this goes back to her NICU days when we were trying to figure her out.

She's a puzzle, the doctors would say between chest xrays and blood cultures.

See, we were scared to death that she had NEC.  She was presenting with all the symptoms of this deadly infection.

Thank God the tests always came back negative, but the waiting was always nerve wracking.  Time and time again.

She was having trouble digesting, and just needed a specialized formula to help her along.

Crisis averted.

Later on down the road, she didn't want to eat and was fighting through her bottles, and was also struggling to keep her blood oxygen saturation levels up despite the home oxygen she was on.  We were once again puzzled and working with her doctors when we came across another very scary possibility. 

Her PDA could have reopened. 

That would explain her continued digestive problems.  And also her continued breathing problems.  See, digestive and breathing issues are classic symptoms of an open PDA due to the heart not pumping enough blood to the gut and lungs.  And even though her PDA was closed with medicine in the NICU, there is a possibility that it popped back open.  Our pediatrician and cardiologist worked together and did another echo to throroughly examine her little heart.

Nope.  Her PDA is closed.

Reflux is the culprit.  And her lungs are still healing from the Chronic Lung Disease.

She just needs time.

Crisis averted.

Still later, during her routine weight and height checks, it was pointed out to me that she has a big head.


Have you seen my husband?!  Or my son?!  Big heads run in our family, doc.

He chuckled. 

Then he got serious and presented me with her growth charts, plotting the points for her height, weight, and head circumference measurements since she was born.  Her height and weight was moving ever so slowly up the curve, pausing and stagnating at times, but moving up nonetheless.

Her head circumference was going along the same curve.  Until our last 3 checks.  Those three were going vertical.  Skyrocketing in fact, compared to her height and weight.

I swallowed.



I looked up at our doctor.

I'd like to rule out hydrocephalus, he said.

Hydrocephalus.  The word was echoing in my brain.

I knew about hydrocephalus.  And the idea that my daughter could have it was frightening.  Were surgeries and shunts in her future?  Precautions and contraindications for the rest of her life?

He then explained that it could possibly just be the way she is growing.  Sometimes when kids start taking in more calories, the head is the first thing to grow.  And then the body catches up.

Please God let it be that.

She had a CAT scan that week, which was a piece of cake.  There was talk of sedating her because she needed to lay completely still for the scan, but the Child Life Specialist did such a great job entertaining her that sedation was unnecessary.  Yay Child Life!  She was a bright spot in a very scary moment.  Those people are very good at what they do.

Later that night I was at Noah's baseball practice when my phone rang.  I looked at the number - it was our pediatrician. 

Part of me was afraid to answer.





Her cat is clear.


Thank you doc.

Thank you God.

Crisis averted.

Campbell loves to scare us.  She's good at it.

But through prayers and good doctors, we've called her bluff.

And like I said in my post about Lenay's heart, these girls are opposite in this way: Campbell has had big symptoms, but has never had any major problems.  While Lenay never has any symptoms, yet she has had some pretty scary problems underneath it all.

Between the two of them, they sure keep us hopping.

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