Oh where to begin. I feel as though this blog has basically turned into medical updates for Ellie. I apologize for that. Please do not think there are no positives in our lives. There are! How about I start with some of the fun, exciting things?
Ellie is trying to talk. We don't always understand what she wants and if Drew doesn't get it he says "go ask mama". If Ellie doesn't know the name of something, she says "ish" [this]. Usually she is pointing in the general direction and we have no idea just what "this" is. The other day she said as clear as day "help please"! She also has this flashcard with a clock on it. Guess what she says? Come on, guess? Cock! I shouldn't laugh, but well, it is funny.
|Ellie is a big fan of bubble baths. She constantly says, a clear as day,|
Now that summer is underway, Ellie will be starting swim lessons. We go to this amazing instructor. She teaches children who have special needs as well as their siblings in her backyard pool on a 1:1indiviaual basis. Ellie made more progress in her first lesson last summer than in 6 weeks at group Y lessons. She always wants to swim, but gets scared when the water goes above her waist. I may have flashed a few people at a kids pool party when Bear clung to me like a spider monkey and pulled my suit down. Whoops! Not everyone wants to get a full show of my saggy boobs.
Horse therapy has been moved to earlier in the day to avoid the hottest time of the day. Her beloved horse, Charlie, has been retired as he is considered "elderly" in equine terms. She has been riding this sweet horse, Jake, and it has been going well. Jack has been taking a break this summer from therapy sessions which means Ellie is rather reluctant at first to get on the horse.
|Here she is trying to make the horse go "fast fast fast"!|
Onward to the medical stuff. Bear with me her as I try to explain this in layman's terms. Recall that 2 weeks ago was hospitalized for a series of tests. One of which was a colon manometry, which looks at the motility (movement, peristalsis) of the colon. Another was an upper GI which looks at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper portion of the small intestine).
She continues to have esophageal gastritis, which is inflammation of the esophagus and stomach. The biopsies revealed she is more inflamed that what was seen by the naked eye during the endoscopy. She has been started on carafate (for ulcers) and will continue her protonix. Here's the not so exciting part, the carafate's #1 side effect is. . . you guessed it! Constipation! Yes, I am not kidding. Consti-freaking-pation. Because, you know, she needs more of that.
The biopsies again ruled out: celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and H. pylori.
Basically test this looks at the colon contractions without food in the gut, after eating, and after stimulant laxative administration. You can tell if it is nerve related or smooth muscle related. Ellie's manometry showed that she has low-amplitude decreased contractions. Essentially, the smooth muscle of the colon wall doesn't not contract enough. This means that her colon has trouble pushing stool forward and as such allows more water to be reabsorbed into the gut thus causing the stool to become harder. Eventually, with chronic constipation, the colon stretches out which makes it even more difficult to push out stool. Essentially, chronic constipation worsens constipation.
We learned that Ellie's colon has absolutely no response to the stimulant laxatives. This is explains why all the medications she is on do not really help. Before getting the official results of the manometry, we were to do a trial of high dose SennaLax (she was on a 1/2 dose before) to see if it would work. It did not. She was in so much pain on Tuesday and Wednesday due to being unable to go. Crying, moaning, and clutching her stomach along with having a fever. Perhaps a bit of colitis secondary to constipation? It was the worst I had seen her in a long time and I was ready to take her to the ER when I couldn't get the enema fluid in at first. I finally got the enema in and it helped, but we cannot keep violating her like that.
Anyway, when the doctor called with the results, we were referred directly to pediatric surgery. Three surgical options were discussed, but both GI docs and Drew and I went with the one that would be most appropriate for our family. (As in an ileostomy would not work because Drew wouldn't change it and Ellie would remove the bag getting liquid poop everywhere. I'd be performing 24 hour surveillance.)
We are going with the Malone Procedure or ACE which stands for antegrade colonic enema. Antegrade means "above". Enemas traditionally go through the rectum and only clear out the lower portion of the colon and do not affect higher up. This doesn't truly treat the constipation. By shooting an enema at the beginning of the colon, the colon can remain flushed and clear. Plus, Ellie could come off all her laxatives and perhaps her urinary retention would be resolved. To do this, the appendix is brought to the surface of the abdomen and a button is placed (called an appendicostomy). A saline enema is administered through the button It is scary, but we have learned that all the laxatives in the world, dietary measures, natural remedies, and behavior management are not alleviating the constipation.
At this point, we have been referred to a different urologist to the one that we already see. He is the one who will perform the surgery. His medical assistant has been out all week and they are not sure if they can work her in. Their first available appointment is in nearly 2 months. Then who knows how long before surgery is booked. I was really hoping to have this done before school starts, but it isn't looking that way.
A week ago, I had my surgery and it went well. The recovery period was only 3 days which I am relieved because I was told to allow up to 2 weeks.
So that's the big scoop. Life is never dull in the Theurer household.
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