Finally, an update!

March 29, 2011

Bags are fun!

Doctors Update

March 19, 2011

  We've been to see a number of specialists now. All seem to be of the opinion that they gave Sky a vaccination called BCG, and that's basically against TB itself. It causes a low grade infection that is meant to help you against the real thing. They then diagnosed her with active TB because of the vaccination. Now we have her on serious meds, and seem to have our work cut out for us proving to our employers we should be able to come home. This morning we went in for the first of three gastric samplings. They shoved a hose down her nose to get a sample of what's in her stomach to test for active TB.

  The doctors here in Kansas have been really great. They all know each other and have the same health records network, so we don't have to fill out paperwork everywhere and every time. When we got the news, my dad was on a steam engine repair shop tour w/ the guys from Abilene he rebuilt a steam engine with. Two of them were doctors and put us in touch w/ an infectious diseases specialist pediatrician who also specializes in adoptions. She did a full workup, and deemed Sky just fine.

  Sky's iron was a bit low, so we also saw a hematologist specialist who was from Croatia, and familiar w/ TB. She was the one that explained to us the BCG vaccine is actually against TB. As far as the iron, she said feed her more red meat and watch her. No big scare, especially w/ all the drugs she's on.

  So, two more early morning trips to do gastric samples, and then a long wait on those cultures. Oh, and also then we have to convince our company to let us come home. They initially said at least two months of treatment, but we're hoping the specialists can convince them this whole thing is ridiculous.

Ok, hopefully I can make next post more extremely cute pictures and less drama.

Settling in America

March 7, 2011

Novel idea!

  Here's a quick post, mainly for pictures. Sky is sick as can be w/ the cold I originally thought she gave me. It's a bad chest cold. We had a sleepless night. We were attributing it all to grief over everything that has happened, but I guess it sounds like all colds are like this. Great. She's getting better, as are we, though. She's still an island girl, not real sure about Kansas winters. Soon come.

  Still waiting on the specialist doctor visit. Everyone seems of the opinion she's definitely not contagious and probably not active, and we've seen a fair number of professionals, but next Tuesday we'll talk about getting final word. I have my TB test read on Wednesday and I am the definitive canary on this thing. Due to need to bond, and Sky's quick attachment to me, I haven't had the luxury of protecting myself.

W/ no further ado. Let the CUTENESS begin!

The skinny!

March 2, 2011

Ok, all. We are in HI, and have internet, and meds, and time, and a sleeping ningning. Here's what's going on:

The doctor who did Sky's well baby exam checked for TB, though Kwaj does not require it that young. Good thing he did though, because it is a large concern. As we were going through the adoption we were hearing that Sky was having appts w/ the doc. We heard they did the TB skin test, but Sky scratched it and screwed up the reading, so the doc was going to do an xray. We didn't need the TB, but figured if they were doing it, why not.

Not 4 hours after the adoption, we were being handed medical results w/ a diagnosis of positive "active TB." To fill everyone in, you can carry TB, and it isn't until you have a compromised immune system that it takes hold. The skin test you've all had w/ the little bubble of stuff they read 3 days or so later is a sensitivity test. It just means if your body reacts to some harmless TB, you've likely been in countact w/ TB and could be a carrier.

When TB goes active, it attacks mainly your lungs, but other organs are possible. It grows in your lungs and when you cough, sneeze or spit (some debate on all that) you can spread it.

So, we immediately got w/ Kwaj docs about what our options are and got the company line of it's your problem, don't come home. Next we went to the doc that diagnosed her and got his take on it. Apparently the skin test wasn't completely scratched off. There was a raised area, and he said it might have been a scratching. The raised area was larger than the US minimum for a positive diagnosis, but less than the international standard.

That doc ordered the xray and saw some stuff in her lungs. BTW, I came down immediately w/ a horrible chest there's some hope, its just that. TB causes some swelling of the lymph nodes, and Sky could again be diagnosed either way on that count, both in her lungs and neck.

The doc sat there and pretty well told us, look, his diagnosis is CYA and we need to get opinions. He did say she is not contagious (which I would have thought meant active) and that we would be ok to fly as she has no symptoms, i.e coughing.

It had already occured to me, if we're stuck not able to go home for 2 months, then it would be cheaper to go live w/ the folks and better to get American treatment. (Though, I must say I'm impressed w/ the dedicated TB work being done in Majuro.) The catch in that plan was contagion. We worried about getting family sick and taking her on a plane. I wrote to the family: "I'm tempted to bring her home, but I will not be that guy in a Zombie movie who brings his infected wife into the safe area, hiding the bite. You might be tempted to ask how many of my morals come from zombie movies. I would be tempted not to answer."

So next we went to the TB clinic and was told that they can't actually test there for active TB. (Sputum AFB, for those w/ similiar knowledge to Amber) In fact, she's too young to do the normal test, they have to take a sample of her stomach lining since her lungs aren't really big enough to go spewing stuff around. On the positive note, later we met the CDC ladies assigned there who said common thinking these days is that small lungs like that can't even spit out enough infection to be contagious. Anyway, 4 professionals told us we were good to bring her stateside. So we did hastily.

We did start her on 4 different medicines, whether it be prophylactic, or not. I don't know if we'll opt to test her at first, or treat her for a couple of months and then go for the test to make the Kwaj docs happy. I'd prefer to minimize those types of procedures, but more opinions will be forthcoming.

So, all in all, this is a huge hassle, but no more hassle than we signed on for being parents. Our personal mental health is great. We've both had a moment or two where we've had to step back and deal emotionally with this, but the rest of the time we feel this is treatable, surmountable and we really aren't stressing it...which is nice for us who tend to stress things. We're happy to have the chance to go back and see family. We're happy to have so much time to spend with our new little treasure. We feel very blessed that we could be a vehicle to take care of this girl in her time of need, and we feel super blessed to have her join our family.

I will have to wax poetic later on all her wonderfulalities. They are numerous, but I'm tired and all the TB writing took it out of me.

Thank you everyone so much for your support and can't wait to see all!

Some Quick Pics

March 1, 2011

Well, we got our clearance and tix to CONUS. We also have a lot of people saying how stupid this all is, but I'd call it no surprise. Anyway, we're packing up, but I thought I'd drop a few quick pics on here in the meantime.

Sky getting her jaja...which means something akin to being held/carried around. A favorite past time.
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