This past weekend with Ryla was one of the more challenging parenting expands we
have had. We lived in a world without answers for nearly 24 hours, and to some degree
we are still there. A challenge we have had with our little angel is that since the end of
January she had bee throwing up several times a week. It seems to have gone in
waves. She may have throw up every day for 5 days, then not at all for 3 or 4. I the
last 2 weeks her vomiting has become more signiﬁcant. We also noticed that she was
just the whitest little girl you have ever seen. We attributed this to her red hair and
thought little more of it. We have called the doctor a few times about her vomiting, but
have always been reassured that it is normal for toddlers to throw up when they cough
excessively, cry for a long time, or just get too wound up. But as this has drug on we
decided a phone call to the doc just wasn't enough. So we scheduled an appointment
for las Monday to have her seen by her doc.
LB took her in to for the visit, and to our surprise, the doc was not as concerned about
the committing as she was about Ryla's skin color. She checker her eyes and gums and
told LB that Ryla should be tested for anemia. This required a blood draw to check her
blood count. This was the start of our adventure. The ﬁrst blood draw attempt involved
a lot of needle poking but no blood being drawn. The second visit they tried a ﬁnger
poke, which didn't produce enough blood. At that point we decided to avoid. The Holy
Family Outpatient Lab at all costs. So, on the third attempt and second lab we ﬁnally had success. We got a call from the doc saying the results were in and they wanted us to stop by to discuss the results. We were prepared for a brief education on anemia and to walk out with a RX for iron supplements.
So, LB took Aidan and Ryla. They were gone far longer than I expected. I ﬁnally got a
call saing that I needed to come because the doc had some concerns. The ﬁrst thing
the doc said when I got in the room is, "Well, I don't think it's leukemia." excuse me? I
didn't even know that was on the table. We found out that her red blood cell count was
about 65% below the bottom of the normal range. We were tole that they would consult
with a specialist and be hearing from them within the next couple of hours. We were
anxious to say the least. We had enough time to get home, feed the kids, and lay them
down for their naps before we heard back from the doc. The word was to get Ryla to
the hospital ASAP.
We sprang into high gear to ﬁnd someone to watch Aidan so we could head up to the
hospital. We hurried as fast as we could to get to the hospital so we could was for 8
hours before they started doing anything. Once we got there and we're checked in we
met with a med student, the hematologist, and a pediatrician. When we ﬁrst got there
they talked to us about blood transfusions, genetic disorders, IV iron treatment, and
lesions in the brain. The decision was thankfully to go with Iron treatment, assuming
that her anemia was caused by iron deﬁciency and not some scary disease. So, little
Ryla was given an IV. Which went well, until they forgot to prepare the tap and IV
locks. So I had to hold Ryla in a should lock for 10 minutes so she didn't pull the IV out
while they got their supplies. Once that was done we waited another 4 hours to get the
iron treatment started.
So, we got to the doctor's ofﬁce around 10:30 that morning. Made it to the hospital by
1:30. Had the IV placed by 5:30. and started her ﬁrst iron treatment at 9:00. In the
midst of all this Noah was with us. We were placed on the pediatric oncology wing-
which was a little unsettling. After the IV was placed Noah unleashed one of his gut
wrenching coughs. Within 5 minutes we were told that Noah and Aidan were not
allowed back. So that meant LB was unable to spend much time oat the hospital with
us. After she left, Ryla and I began a 2 day marathon of cuddling that was only
occasionally interrupted by visits from an occupational therapist to check her gag reﬂex,
a dietician to learn about her diet and evaluate her weight gain, and a painful to watch, 2
hour test to see what happened in her tummy whenever she ate.
Our 2 and a half days taught us a lot about what was going on with her little body. We
learned that her tummy never recovered from the stomach ﬂu she had in January, which
was the cause of her vomiting. This made it hard for her to process and odor nutrients.
Thankfully this is easily treated by 2 months worth of antibiotics, taken before each meal
and at bed time. We also learned that she is most likely allergic to something she eats
frequently- probably lactose or gluten. This will require more testing and experimenting
to determine the real cause. Whatever it is, it is causing microscopic blood loss in her
GI track, which led to her low red blood cell count. This leads to the last thing we
learned, which is she needs a lot of iron. So we'll be supplementing that per the next
few months. She's also supposed to eat as much physically possible and drink as much
Pediasure as she can stomach to out some weight on her little frame.
So now we are going forward to try to get our little princess as healthy as possible. We
are hoping and praying that the follow up lab work will conﬁrm what the docs suspect at
this point. With som grace, we will see her ﬁery personality return in the weeks to
come, along with a little extra chub on her belly- and if we're lucky a few words!