Mayo Moments

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Planning, planning and more planning

Only a few short days since we found out Leah will be going to Minnesota to *fingers crossed!* finally get a diagnosis and so much is happening!

We are so blessed to already have a group of friends sign on to be my Dream Team - to give me ideas, contacts, tips, help and all sorts of skills to enable us to raise the necessary funds to get her there.

The finances associated with going to Minnesota are overwhelming.  Since Leah is an International Patient, they require....
" minimum deposit in the amount of $3,000 to $5,000 U.S. dollars is required at the time of registration, depending upon anticipated medical needs.  This amount represents neither the minimum nor maximum charge; it is a deposit toward services received."

Each time I take a peek at the online sites to check the flights and hotel costs our bank account cries a little bit.

So a fundraising blitz looks to be on our horizon.  I have spent the last couple of days drafting letters to doctors, Service Clubs, her school and local retailers, I have also created a dedicated Facebook page attached to this blog and today I am heading out to open a special bank account for her.  I've made contact with our Group Health Insurance Providers we have through work, and we both have some coverage for International Medical Care which is a big weight off our shoulders - as long as the Doctors and OHIP come through with the proper paperwork.

So all in all it looks like it will be an exceedingly busy summer for us so I am extra glad I don't have to work!

If anyone wants to volunteer to help out with any of our fundraising endeavours we would really appreciate it, or if you want to send fundraising ideas please pass them along.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

We are heading to Minnesota!

I have submitted an appointment request to the Mayo Clinic!  And even more crazy?  They responded with a request for all of Leah's medical records and test results!  And even crazier???  We have an appointment date! Praise the Lord!  His hand is felt in all we do.  Thank you everyone for the prayers you have already sent up on our behalf.

Leah's first appointment with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is August 7, 2012!  (Yes THIS year!)  They say to expect a stay of 5-8 days.  She will be considered an outpatient though so she will be able to come back to the hotel room with me each night.  From the letter they sent...

Length of Stay: The average length of stay for patients to complete a routine medical exam is 5 to 8 business days, but the actual time spent at the clinic will depend upon the complexity of your case and appointment availability at the time of your appointment.  It can be difficult to predict in advance.  In some circumstances, your evaluation, surgery or treatment may involve a return visit.
She needs to show up that first morning having fasted and they will get going right away.

What to Expect at the Appointment:Your child's Mayo Clinic visit will begin with a thorough evaluation of the medical concerns. The primary physician, who will be responsible for coordinating your child's care, will order additional tests or consultations with specialists, based upon your child's medical needs.  After testing has been completed, the physician will review the results with you and make final recommendations.

Now our biggest obstacle is arranging the finances.  Please, please, please continue to keep her in your prayers.

Friday, 18 May 2012

No News is NOT necessarily Good News.

The old adage "No news is good news", doesn't always apply.  In the case of this blog, no news just means I am feeling too defeated to type the same thing over and over again.  

Our much anticipated and long awaited trip to the Endocrinologist was a bust.  After doing yet another hour long medical history and ANOTHER full physical, all the same questions and answers, all the same physical checks (down to 49lbscrap!), tests and responses, we got the same answer as always...."We have no idea".  or "There is definitely something going on with her, but it isn't something that falls within our specialty."  or in this case, "There is absolutely no hormone in the human body that can cause the types of issues that Leah experiences."  

As a bonus, they agreed to do some blood work, to repeat it every 6 months and to continue following her for the next couple of years to see if anything develops -  but basically they threw up their hands and shrugged.

Based on bloodwork and medical history they ruled out Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Parathyroid disease and Fibromuscular Dysplasia - I had added these three to my list due to recommendations and research.

For Leah it is the same old thing - usually misses at least 2 days a week of school, the cooperation at the school is still less than desired but we are at lease getting the bare basics of what we requested.

We are struggling so hard to find a balance for Leah.  If she does "too much" at night, she doesn't have the reserves to make it to school the next day.  Currently, too much amounts to a 30min swimming lesson and 20-30 minutes in Games Galore (running, playing games in the YMCA gym) on Monday nights - it doesn't even push her bed time back, but it is too much.  I don't think she has made it to school on a Tuesday since Christmas!  If she plays outside "too much" after school, she doesn't make it through supper and may or may not make it to school the next morning.  She already misses her outside playtime during lunch at school while she is taking a nap, and soon will be kept inside the school on the hot/humid days.  She had to give up gymnastics, she only goes to the house of her best friend to play, no other play dates, she has to stay within sight of the house or with an older sibling at all times.  We are already (hotly) debating letting her go on the family vacation to the cottage this year - my instincts say no, but my heart says yes.  

When does she get to just be a kid and have fun?

Following along on that thought, I came across an excellent story written by a lady with Lupus - it is about how she finally stumbled upon a way to describe what having a chronic illness is like.  It is called "The Spoon Theory"
It has spread like wildfire among the disease/syndrome forums.  I am in complete agreement with her explanation as it exactly illustrates what Leah goes through.  As such I have added this photo of Leah.  She is now an official "Spoonie"!

Please keep Leah in your thoughts and prayers as we await a decision from the Mayo Clinic.  A month or so ago, I stumbled upon a chain of links while doing research that led to a Mayo Clinic Self Referral form.  Feeling a little foolish and a whole lot nervous, I filled it out and sent it off.  I sent along the introductory letter I have created and keep up to date with all of Leah's symptoms and medical history to give to each of her doctors.  A couple days later they requested copies of Leah's medical records, scans, MRIs, doctor's letters, THE WORKS!  I organized all that info and sent it off.  A couple days ago I was notified it is being reviewed by a doctor and they will decide if they want to see her.  They have an entire department set aside to deal with "International Patients" and really make an effort to keep us informed of where we are in the process.  My understanding at this point, is that if they feel Leah could benefit from their expertise or that THEY could benefit from diagnosing, researching and treating Leah, than we would go to Minnesota to be seen by some of the best medical minds in the world!  Since she seems to have stumped the ones in Ontario, lets move onto the ones in Minnesota!