Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Zach's new normal

I am posting this with Zach's permission.  He has had some medical issues come up and we are at the point where others are finding out and have questions.  So here it is.

About 3 weeks ago, seemingly out of nowhere, Zach began to have significant stomach issues-- bloody diarrhea and a lot of it.  He had not traveled anywhere, or eaten at any fast food restaurants, but we assumed it had to be some crazy infection.  Testing came back negative, and he was rapidly getting worse- losing weight, getting tired.  A few days before Christmas he went for a colonoscopy.  I admit it seemed a bit drastic to me--Pete and I were still so sure it had to be an infection.  Much to our surprise his entire colon was inflamed, bleeding and sick.  He was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis .  (Click on the term if you are unfamiliar with this disease)

Zach's pill box- I don't think any of his grandmothers take this many pills...
He was started on oral medication right away.  Christmas was days away, along with our yearly ski trip.  He seemed to be improving so off we went.

He seemed to improve and do well at first, but by the last few days he was sick again.  By Sunday night he was much worse, even vomiting.  We weighed him when we returned and his weight loss was now up to 17 lbs.  In less than 3 weeks.  We called his GI doctor and it was decided he needed to be admitted.

Visiting big brother in the hospital!

Monday morning (yesterday) he was admitted to Good Samaritan hospital.  He was dehydrated and unable to eat or drink what he needed so was being admitted for IV fluids and stronger medications to get the colitis under control.

Grandma Liz came to help out 
Today he started on a powerful IV medication called Remicade.  If it works then he will need to go to the hospital every 4-6 weeks to get it-- it is an IV infusion.  He will be on it long term- years likely assuming it continues to keep him in remission.  If not he will move onto something else-- at the moment this is a life long disorder that he will need to be on medication for.

We are not sure how long he will be in the hospital, but we are told 1-2 weeks.  We are hoping not that long, but it is just too early to know how fast he will respond.

Zach is handling this in typical Zach fashion-- with hardly a word of complaint, and with the maturity and courage of someone much older.  He is sad about baseball-- high school baseball is just starting to gear up and try outs are in a few weeks.  He is determined to get back to it though and soon as his strength is back. He has his ACT exam in a few weeks as well, not to mention school.  We just want him to get better.

He does have a room mate- thanks to his Aunt Tina!
Thanks to all the help and support we have already received.  He has so many people praying for him, he can't help but get better! And we are confident he will get better.


Dave D said...

He sounds like a remarkable young man. He's lucky to have you guys as his parents. Praying for strength. He already has the science on his side. I've been saying pray on the way as a way to get through the tough days.

Patty D said...

Thank you for sharing what is going on with Zach and getting his permission to share. Sometimes as parents forget to get permission from our children. I'm glad he's in good spirits, you know what's going on, and there's a course of treatment all be it a lengthy one. You all are in my thoughts.

chariset said...

Wow- what a shock this all must be for you and your family. Sending positive thoughts your way.

Suzanne said...

Glad to see those smiles. Zachary is a trouper and we are sending prayers and good wishes your way.