Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy "16th" Birthday Katie

Watch out boys, she's old enough to date!

As we celebrate Katie's 16th Birthday today, I cannot help but to look back and reflect on her life. As we have our children we hope and pray that they will be healthy. That was not the case for Katie; to look at her today you would never know what she has been through. There is a tall tale sign, of a scar across her tummy.

To begin, Katie was 7lbs 7 ozs at birth; everything went well in the delivery and for the first few months. Until one day at church I was in Relief Society as I looked down at her on my lap she looked blue to me. We rushed her to the hospital where they found she was only getting about 75 - 80 % oxygen. This was the first day of our travels down a road of many Dr. visits, tests and eventually surgery.

The Dr. had no idea what was happening with her. The tests, so many of them, were not bringing us answers. I could list all these big worded tests and procedures she went through over the course of the next 6 months but there is no point. So to make a long story short, at 9 months old they did abdominal surgery she was so tiny, she only weighed 14 lbs 1 oz. At the same time all this was happening we had sold our house in Madera Calif. that we had built and was preparing to move to West Virginia for a job

We moved just about a week after Katie came home from the hospital. As we came to this new place, it was hard. Katie continued to be sick with many cases of pneumonia. I had no idea what to do. And to add to her suffering she fell off the stairs and broke her leg in April, she was now 11 months old.

6 months after Katie’s surgery and 3 more bouts of pneumonia, Katie had only gained 6 oz of weight. So at 14 months old she only weighted 14 lbs and 7 oz. We lived in a very tiny town, in the back woods of West Virginia. Why, were we there? The ward was not open or even very kind to us (we were outsiders there) I did not have a good Dr to care for my child so tiny and ill. Knowing our Stake President had a very large family of 9 children; he lived about 30 miles away. I called him upset and asking him who cares for his children? His wife gave me the name so I took Katie to their Dr. He was shocked to see Katie, he said “I have no idea what is wrong with this child, but she has a lack to thrive and we could loose her if we do not find out what is going on” He immediately got us in with a specialist.

Again more tests, they thought that she might have cystic fibrosis. It continued on what seemed like forever until one day, the specialist asked if he could do a special biopsy. I said yes, please do it. He took a sample of the cilia hair in Katie’s sinuses the first biopsy showed no cilia hair; so another more extensive test was needed. The second showed some cilia hair, but what few Katie had lacked the little arms that were needed to make them move properly. To understand what cilia hair does, we have it in our lungs to filter air and keep our lungs clear, we have them in our intestines to move our food along to be digested. They are in our ears and for women they are in her fallopian tubes to move the egg along and for men the tail of a sperm is a cilia hair that moves them along to find the egg. As you can see they are very important. The Dr had a friend in medical school that had this condition. “Immotile Cilia Syndrome” (very rare) that is one reason why we were there in the hills of West Virginia, to get an answer for Katie.

She was put on a high fat, high protein diet; she took long courses of antibiotics, and was on a nebulizer for breathing treatments. She was doing great, gaining weight, growing and most important staying well. Since that time expect for a few little issues she has been fine.

So as I look at Katie today so beautiful, so healthy and amazingly talented, my heart is full. I thank my Father in Heaven, for her and for sending us to West Virginia for the answers and care she needed.

As I have expressed before, (and this is for all of us) Do Not Judge. I know for a fact that we all have of our struggles, issues and trials, some seen and known and many never seen or ever known.

We need to always do our best to be loving and kind to others. Hug each other often and bear each other's burdens.

Just one of the many tests - Fall 1992

Right before Katie's surgery - Jan 1993

Leaving Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno Calif - Jan 1993

Katie with her cast after breaking her leg
April 1993 - Fairmont, WV


Lisa said...

Ohhh...I remember that little Katie who was my roommate for awhile in WVA!! Can't believe she is really 16!

P.S. Saw the few glimpses of Alissa last night and it was so cool. Paige screamed when she saw her, "I can't believe my COUSIN is on TV!!" She should have made it, but whatever.

Lois said...

Happy Birthday Katie. I remember you being so ill starting in Fresno. I was very ill at the time too and missed out on so much. But I was at the hospital and actually held you while they tried to do one of your tests. I am thankful that you are so healthy today.