Sunday, September 30, 2007

August & September 2007: Video, Cocci vaccine, Neuro appt.

We've put together a photo slide show to document Denise's hospital stay & recovery. Just a warning, a couple of the pictures are hard to look at. I tried to only post uplifting pictures of Denise during her struggle. But Denise wanted you to see just how bad things were for her: in a medically-induced coma, holding baby Daniel's lifeless body, hoses, wires, vents, machines, feeding tubes, catheters, fevers, trach, hair loss, weight loss, scars, exhaustion & everything else. That way it would underscore just how blessed we are that she not only survived, but is getting better with time.

Denise visited the neurologist in late August. He was pleased to see that she's continued without seizures, lapses in consciousness, manic episodes, tremors, or anything else. I'd hoped that he would lower her anti seizure or other meds, but he's keeping her at the same level. Denise will have labs done up and visit the infectious disease doctor in late October. The last labs showed her titers for cocci going another notch toward normal, and her liver labs came back normal. So I am hopeful that we'll hear more good news.

A couple weeks ago I flew to Phoenix (cocci central) & back in one day to hear a talk by Dr. Garry T. Cole of the University of Texas, San Antonio. He's working on a vaccine for Valley Fever. I felt kind of bad for him because the talk was not very well-attended. But that worked in my favor, as he took a great deal of time to talk to me about his work (and nice guy that he is, he used little words as much as he could so that I'd understand). Anyway, I thought he'd be talking about Nikkomycin Z, the anti fungal that might be the magic bullet in killing cocci, not just suppressing it. But his work is completely different. Leave it to a guy like me to mix up a cure project with a vaccine project. In a nutshell, it seems that a vaccine is workable. They've nailed down which phase of cocci development from which to start (killed spherule, not arthroconidia), the specific component of the spherule from which to derive the vaccine (actually, a protein on the spherule wall, if I understood correctly), and they've got some very encouraging results from testing on mice. All they need is money. He brought up the tremendous rate of infection among military personnel that train in cocci-endemic regions. He also brought up the costs associated with their treatment, downtime, disability payments, and in the worst cases, benefit payments to their survivors. It's possible that the Army and/or Marines might back the cocci vaccine out of pocketbook concerns if nothing else.
Here's a short (though technical) intro to Dr. Cole's work:

And for non-medical stuff, Denise continues to bite off a little more as time goes by. She's been able to stay awake longer during the days as her endurance comes back. Gracie started kindergarten. Jacob goes to preschool and stays home with Denise one day a week. She'd like to increase it to two days a week as she's able to catch up on the time she missed with him while she was in the hospital (she went in when he was 15 months old, came out when he was about 24 months old... about a third of his life later). She's also been getting more involved at the school as she's able, started connecting with other moms through a M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) at church, and doing a little bit with Door of Hope, a Pasadena ministry to help homeless families. And for my birthday, we went to Disneyland and ate at Goofy's Kitchen. Yes, I am the biggest kid in my family.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful slide show. Praise God for all His blessings!Praise Him for all the angels He put in your path! Miracles DO happen
in todays world.

October 05, 2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger Zan said...

thank you for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes. Denise, I'm so thankful that God has taken such care of you!

October 18, 2007 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lord works through you each step you take. I am so grateful for the life you share with the world. We show Christs love through our actions and it shows in your lives.

October 18, 2007 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love movies with happy endings! So glad to see she is doing so well. Praise God for all His good works!

November 12, 2007 8:10 PM  

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