Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST)

I sit here and remember the events surrounding Thanksgiving last year.  My three-year old son Jude was very sick last year.  When we ate the Thanksgiving feast at my parent’s house, he was in the bedroom sick, while the rest of us were at the table.  He got progressively worse after Thanksgiving.

Let me give you a little background.  Jude had no history of major illness and no known allergies.  He had an uncomplicated delivery and was a healthy birth weight.  In fact you can read his birth story here.  The family did not have any health insurance, so the story to come gets extra stressful due to that point.

Jude got sick around 11-15-15.  He was running a temperature of 100-101 for about three days, and then his temperature returned to normal.  Then, he got a head cold for about four days with no fever.  Jude was eating and drinking normally during this time.

The next five days, Jude slowly lost his appetite.  He would throw up once or twice a day.  He was still eating some and drinking a normal amount.  On Saturday, November 28th, things worsened.  Jude became weak and feeble.  He was given sips of water and small pieces of candy to increase his blood sugar.  He seemed to perk up with an increase in activity and normal amount of talking.  However, he still did not want to eat solid food and would vomit if he tried.  The fluids would stay down though.  He continued with the increase in activity into the evening and slept normally.

Sunday, November 29th, he was back to being weak and seemed slightly worse.  Undivided attention was given to help him eat or drink, but now he was unable to keep food or water down.  Around noon, we started to give him a teaspoon of Pedialyte every ten minutes in an attempt to keep him hydrated.  After a few hours, we changed the dose to a tablespoon every ten minutes.  It seemed we were making progress, and about 6 p.m., he asked to go to the bathroom.  When we moved him to the bathroom, he vomited up about three cups of fluid.  Our progress was undone!  It was time to take him to the ER.

We took Jude to our local hospital about 7 p.m. on Sunday evening.  Jude was given an IV of saline for dehydration, and he had blood drawn for tests.  The blood test showed that Jude had a very low platelet count, and he was referred to a pediatric hematologist to rule out any underlying cause to his abnormal blood work.  Las Vegas was the nearest place with a pediatric hematologist on the hospital staff.

My husband and his mom drove Jude to the children’s hospital in Las Vegas about 3 in the morning on Monday, November 30th.  Later that day, Jude was transferred to the pediatric ICU (PICU).  Jude’s vitals were not doing well.  His heart rate and blood pressure were low.  His oxygen saturation was also low.  He looked very pale and responded very little, even to needles.

In the PICU, many different ideas of what the cause of the low platelet count were given, including cancer and blood disorders.  We were also told it could be consistent with him eating poison.

My dear friend and I drove down to Las Vegas on Monday evening to relieve my husband and his mother.  We will call this friend Jean, so she can remain anonymous.  This friend is beyond amazing and left her own family to be with me in my time of need!

While we were in the PICU, we realized that our friends the Stines were in the PICU as well!  Their two month old Knox had stopped breathing suddenly.  You can read more of their story on Fox News.

Knowing that others were there with me through this ordeal helped!  The Stine family was praying for Jude, and I was praying for Knox and for them.

In our first room at the PICU, Jude had a CT scan, chest film, 2 EKG, an EEG, multiple blood tests, and he received lots of IV fluids.

jude-sunrise

In the picture, he has goopy hair from the EEG.  This picture brings tears to my eyes!  I was so happy to be able to hold him!  He was more stable than when we brought him, but he had so far to come!

Okay, a little comic relief 🙂  There was an older lady that did the EKGs.  I don’t recall her real name, but we nicknamed her Cruella de Vil.  She had black and grey hair just like Cruella, and she spoke with a French accent.  She was also extremely rough, especially for working in a pediatric hospital.  She did Jude’s first EKG, and he didn’t care to respond.  The second EKG, he hated it and squirmed and screamed.  This momma was thrilled to see the spark of life and energy!

I slept in the chair in the picture, and my friend slept on the couch like thing that they had.  The doctors and nurses came in every hour or less to check on Jude and shine lights in his eyes.  They also had to come in when his monitors would beep alerting them to his bad vital signs.  In other words, not much sleep was to be had!

Jude’s vitals did improve with the IV fluids, and he actually started eating.  We were ecstatic to provide him chicken, french fries, and ketchup!

Because of his improvements, we were moved down to the pediatrics floor.  The doctors continued to question and question again what was happening or had happened to Jude.  They continually asked us if he was dropped on his head or fed poison.  I did NOT appreciate the implication that I intentionally did this to my child!  I was running on fumes, and I was telling the doctors and nurses anything and everything that I could remember.  I was brought to tears by one of the attending physicians in what felt like an interrogation lasting about 45 minutes.  After the female attending physician left, I asked the kind male nurse, “Was she accusing me of something?”  His response was, “I can see why you thought that, but she was just trying to get to the bottom of things.”

About an hour went by, and the accusatory doctor came back.  I assume that the nurse told her what I had said.  She said that she didn’t mean to imply that I had done anything, but she was “professionally dissatisfied” with my son’s case.

A while later, a resident doctor came to sell us on having an MRI for Jude.  My friend and I were confused.  We had moved out of the PICU.  Jude’s vitals were improving.  What were they looking for with the MRI?  They didn’t really give us a sure answer, but I latched onto the possibility of viral encephalitis and conceded to have the procedure.

We had the anesthesiologist pop in our room and ask why my son was being put under anesthesia for an MRI.  He wanted to make sure that we knew the risks.  We did know.

This MRI was the first time Jude was away from a parent during his hospital stay.  We had to drop him off and say goodbye while they sedated him.  We waited for what felt like forever, ate our Ronald McDonald sack lunches, (side note:  I really have never like McDonalds, but the Ronald McDonald Charities really do some great things.)  and prayed.

Jude came back from the MRI delirious and slurring his words.  We finally figured out he was asking for more chicken, french fries, and ketchup.  He had to fast for the MRI, so he was hungry!  Hunger is always a good sign!

Soon the doctors came in to give us the results of the MRI.  They found a large blood clot in the sagittal sinus of Jude’s brain!  They started administering blood thinners and warned us that we would have to give him blood thinner shots at home.  The good news was that Jude’s brain had sustained NO damage.  Also, the blood clot explained the strange blood test results and stopped the doctors from accusing us of child abuse.  They didn’t know how he got the blood clot or when.  They definitely didn’t know how someone could intentionally cause it!  As annoying as the accusatory doctor was, she was the reason we found the answer to what was happening!

Because of the seriousness of his diagnosis, we were moved back to the PICU for close monitoring.  We were in a different room in the PICU than before, and this time we were in the room right next to the Stine family.  They had many tear filled visitors, but they also stood around baby Knox and sang worship songs.  I know that some of the staff found it annoying, but it truly touched my heart.

In the new PICU room, Jude had to be held down to redo his IV.  This is so hard for a mom to do!  I held him down and looked away with tears in my eyes.

The accommodations were not as nice for visitors, and Jean slept on the floor in the PICU while giving me the couch bed.

Some of the highlights while we were in this room is that one of the doctors came in and asked me if Jude has been throwing up for a month!  Ummmm, read the chart!  That’s not what happened!

Jude was one of the most stable in the PICU, so we moved again down to the pediatrics floor.  Doctors still came constantly in and out of our room.  At one point, Jude was watching a movie on the couch.  He was totally into the movie, and a doctor walked in to check on him.  She could not get him to look away from the movie, and she became worried that he wasn’t okay.  She proceeded to yell in his face to get his attention.  It scared my friend Jean to tears.  He was fine.

A body ultrasound was ordered to make sure he didn’t have any clots in his legs or arms.  He was feeling feisty, and he would not hold still.  They had to give him something to settle him down 😦

We also got a visit from a dear friend.  She brought coffee and helpful medical knowledge.  She was going through nursing school, so she taught me how to put the leads on Jude’s chest.  Jude would often pull them off, and the alarms would sound.  The nurses had a higher patient load on the pediatrics floor, so we did a lot of care ourselves.  We mastered taking Jude to the bathroom with his IV cart and also how to redo the leads on his chest.

hulk-leads

It was time for Joan to leave, and a second friend, who we will call Patsy, came to take her place.  Yes, I have amazing friends!  Since she was coming from our home town, she brought changes of clothes, money, and an air mattress for her to sleep on.

The next day, my husband was finally able to come back to the hospital.  On top of that, Patsy and I were blessed with an amazing opportunity to get a full night’s sleep!  My husband stayed with our son, and Patsy and I sneaked away to a free stay at an empty house in Las Vegas for a night away.  I got a shower without worrying that an important specialist would finally come to talk to me the moment I went into the bathroom.  On top of that, they didn’t have showers in the PICU rooms.  They did have a community shower in the family room.  It was still private and all, but all I could think of was athlete’s foot!  I never took a shower while in the PICU.

While Patsy and I were away, my husband learned how to give my son blood thinner injections.  He would require injections twice a day for 3 months.

Jude still was dealing with a lack of appetite, but he was getting more ambitious.  My husband and son got to take a little walk around with the IV cart in tow.  Jude ended up throwing up from the increased activity.  😦

Hubby left and Patsy stayed with me.  Jude gradually regained some energy but nothing compared to his usual vigor.  A mom with a very sick kid gets strangely excited when they have enough energy to be naughty.  One of the nights, Jude decided he didn’t want to sleep in the ridiculous crib with bars all around him.  He wanted to sleep on the couch with mommy.  This of course was against hospital policy, for safety reasons.  Jude then screamed for hours saying, “I want out.  I want to sleep on the couch, please!”  He really did say please every time!

Since Jude was improving, Patsy encouraged me to leave the room and take a walk.  It has been so long since I had left!  I got lost in the halls, and it took me two times around the circle to find our room.  I actually went into the wrong room once!

The next day the IV was removed, and Jude was beginning to eat more.  It was not nearly enough in mommy’s opinion.  I learned to give Jude the shots he would need, down to drawing the meds, cleaning the spot, and administering.

Miracle of all miracles, we were finally approved for medical insurance on the last day!  Oh my goodness!  So many tears were shed from this worry!  At least once a day someone would come and ask how I was going to pay the bill.  I would just cry and tell them to call my husband!  God had it all in hand though!  We were extremely relieved to have the insurance pay for the $150,000 bill from our stay!

It was finally time to be discharged.  I’m pretty sure that the hospital staff was very annoyed by me!  I made them add a decimal to the discharge papers!  The papers said that he would receive 13 mg of the blood thinner, when I knew that the dosage was .13 mg.  That’s a huge difference!  I’m just saying!

As we were getting packed up, sweet friends arrived to see us, and they were able to help us with all our stuff down to the car.

Our eight days in the hospital were finally over!  Patsy drove us home in her car.  It was so wonderful to be back home, but this momma was terrified of him relapsing.  I still had a very sick boy on my hands.  He was still throwing up once a day for about a week after we got home.  We struggled with the blood thinner injections twice a day, but my little man was a super hero!

I couldn’t have gone through all of this without the strength from Jesus and the love and support of all my friends!

One sweet friend set up a Meal Train!

Several friends had fundraisers and sent money!

Friends and family had food delivered to the hospital!

My sweetest friends sacrificed their time and well-being to help me!  Jean brought home a sickness to her family, and they were sick for weeks.  That’s sacrifice!

Another dear friend and her quilting group made pin cushion owls to raise money for us!

judes-owls

This was the beginning of our story, our first hospital stay.  There was another hospital stay and many more procedures to follow.  This story is long enough though!  Rest assure, Jude is much better currently.  Hope is real!  Jesus is real!  I wrote this story with the desire to share some hope and also to possibly find someone else who has gone through an experience with a child as young as ours with CVST (see title).  I have yet to find one!  Please share my story, so that I can encourage someone else who may be going through the same struggle.

To date, we are still not aware of the cause of Jude’s CVST.

 

“His Repentance” and Trusting God with Health?

The chapter we read from The Power of a Praying Wife was “His Repentance”.

Things that touched me:

  1. Stormie shares a story of a wife named Suzanne who prayed for his husband to repent of his drug use.  Stormie writes, “Suzanne was a praying wife who never stopped believing that God would bring her husband to repentance.”  In the end, Suzanne’s husband did find repentance and deliverance!  Don’t ever stop praying!  God has his perfect timing.
  2. Stormie reminds that the first step in repentance is feeling sorry about what we did.  If we feel we have done nothing wrong, there will be no repentance.  When we do repent, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Stormie further explains, “A man who can’t humble himself to admit he’s wrong before God and before man will have problems in life that never go away.  ‘Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him’ (Proverbs 26:12).”   Lord, help us to be humble and ready to repent so that you can use us.
  3. Stormie writes, “True repentance means having so much remorse over what you’ve done that you don’t do it again.”  Repenting means to turn and go the opposite direction.  We haven’t truly repented, if our behavior hasn’t changed.

I didn’t find anything that I respectfully disagree with.

Trusting God with Health

What type of things are included in our “health”?  Well, I would think our mental, physical, and spiritual health would be covered under this category.

Spiritual Health

In my mind, our spiritual health means our status in eternity.  God is the only one who controls that.  We can choose to accept His free gift of grace in Jesus dying on the cross for our sins or we can choose not to accept.

Mental Health

God is the only source of true peace and happiness.  He is the only one powerful enough to handle stress, worry, anger, and strife.  He is the only one who can fill that empty God-shaped hole inside of all of us.  

You may have heard it before, but I always need the reminder.  Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (29)  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  (30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Jesus sees and knows all your infirmities.  He promises to work all things together for good and be faithful to complete his good work.

God has greater things in store for those who love him than we could ever imagine.

Ephesians 3:20-21  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  (21)  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

We feed our minds with the things we think and dwell on.

If we are worrying or being “full of care”, we cannot find peace.

Philippians 4:6-7  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7)  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

We can also be filling our minds with hate, discontent, violence, lust, etc. by just turning on the t.v. or computer.

Physical Health

What would it look like to trust God with our health?  Does it mean we sit back and allow things to devastate our bodies?  Does it mean we make sure our health insurance will cover everything from a cough to cancer?  Does it mean we avoid doctor’s all together even though a life may be on the line?  Does is mean we take every natural cure available?  Is it somewhere in between?  You decide for yourself 🙂

Well, who is the Creator and giver of life?  Jesus/God the Father/the Holy Spirit!  If He created our bodies, don’t you think He knows how to take care of them?

Jesus was known as the Great Physician.  He, of course, is able to heal any wound.

So, we absolutely know that our God is great and powerful!  What is our responsibility?

Some may find themselves trusting in their health insurance to cover their health when it falters.

We were watching a show called “Best Food Ever”, and this man was eating an omelet made of 12 eggs and much more. He gobbled it down and even added ketchup to his hash browns. The lady at the next table cheered him on then said, “I guess it’s okay as long as he has health insurance.” WHAT! We don’t have to take care of our bodies because we have health insurance?

Okay, then how can we take care of our bodies?

Sometimes on the Christian radio, they play an advertisement for a Christian health care program called Medi-Share. One of the selling points for the program is that the people who you “share” medical bills with are followers of the Bible’s health guidelines and are less likely to have health problems. As Christians, are we being reasonable with our health and staying “low-risk” or are we throwing caution to the wind and waiting to see what happens?

What does the Bible have to say about health?

  • I Corinthians 6:19-20
  • I Timothy 4:8
  • Proverbs 14:30
  • Proverbs 3:7-8
  • Job 12:10
  • Proverbs 17:22
  • Proverbs 13:12
  • Proverbs 15:15
  • Proverbs 18:14
  • I Timothy 4:3-5
  • Isaiah 55:1-2
  • Matthew 11:5
  • Matthew 9:12
  • James 5:13-16
  • Proverbs 4:20-22
  • Psalm 4:23
  • Psalm 38:3-8
  • Psalm 103:1-5
  • Acts 28:25-27
  • I Corinthians 10:31
  • Acts 10:38
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1

Is it wrong to trust a doctor or medications to help us in times of sickness?

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the guy on his roof during a flood. Every time a boat came by to rescue him he said “No thanks, I have faith that the Lord will provide.”

When he drowned and went to heaven he asked “Where was God?  I had faith and I died in the flood!” Peter said “Dude, God sent three boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?!”

God can definitely use the resources available to us to help us in our times of need.  Those resources could be a doctor, medications, or even more natural remedies.

I guess that conclusion that I come to is that God is the one we ultimately trust in.  We do not rely on the doctor, medication, or remedy but know that God can use them to His glory.

Is it wrong to have health insurance or go to the doctor regularly?  NO!  It would be wrong to put your trust in them more than in your Creator God.

Some of you may find yourself dealing with constant health problems that the doctor’s can not seem to figure out.  Don’t give up hope in Jesus!  He is still there in the midst of the situation, and He may just heal you yet.  On the other hand, sometimes sickness is a way that God can be glorified in our lives.  We are forced not to rely on our own strength but on His alone.  Also, non-Christians and Christians alike may see a supernatural strength in you in the midst of your trials and sickness and glorify Jesus.  Even Paul, the great apostle, had a thorn in his flesh.  Take one day at a time and keep your eyes on your Maker!

Your assignment for week 27: Read Chapter 26 of The Power of a Praying Wife “His Deliverance”. What touched you? Any disagreements? Pray that your husband will be delivered from anything that may be hindering his path upward.  This week, ponder trusting God. What areas are the most difficult to trust God?  Give me some comments with suggestions :)   I’m pretty tapped out.