Monica Shirkey A Brave Fight For Life

First post: Jul 26, 2017 Latest post: Aug 15, 2017

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Monica is battling a rare pulmonary Non tuberculosis Mycobacterium identified as  M. Chelonae/M. Abscessus due to an underlying incurable condition of her lungs called Bronchiectasis.  M. Chelonae/M. Abscessus is an environmental organism found in soil and water.  It is notoriously difficult to treat because it is multi drug resistant. It is considered an incurable disease.  Aspergillus Fumigatus  was also identified as being present in her lungs.

This is not Monica's first battle with pulmonary mycobacterium.  In 2006,  she was diagnosed with MAC,  Mycobacterium Avium Complex Intracellulare.  She received extensive treatment from 2006 - 2008 and a right middle lobectomy in 2007.   In 2008, the MAC went into a remissive state and has remained inactive to date.  In May 2016, she began to have episodes of hemoptysis (coughing up blood).  Upon receiving bronchoscopy results that determined a mycobacteria growing,  she decided to seek advice from National Jewish Health and Research in Denver, Colorado.  They are the leading respiratory hospital in the nation.

Monica is under the care and direction of National Jewish Health and Research and U W Health, Madison, Wisconsin.  Her care involves a Medical Care Team  of experts in the treatment of these types of mycobacterium.  The recommendation of National Jewish Health & Research was to initiate  IV antibiotic treatment therapy and an oral experimental medication.   Due to an allergic reaction to one of the medications, Monica may not be able to be treated with this protocol.  Further testing is underway to determine the correct sub species of the mycobacterium in order for an accurate treatment plan to be established. 

We would like to share this journey with our family and friends to bring awareness to these types of life threatening NTM (Non Tuberculosis mycobacteria) infections.  Numerous studies have revealed a continuous increase  in NTM infections worldwide.  Although it is not clear why they are increasing, one possibility is an increase of exposure to NTM sources in the environment. 

God is with us through this trial.  Our hope & trust rests in HIM. 

Thank you kindly for taking the time to share in our journey.

Steve and Monica



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