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3/28/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.
Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The problem: Kaylee's brain is infected with a strep B infection. The puss from this infection has plugged up the passages between the ventricles making it impossible for the brain fluid to drain away as it normally would. The result is that both puss and brain fluid were building up in Kaylee's brain. As the fluid built up the ventricles were increasing in size. Since there is only so much room in Kaylee's little head the enlarged ventricles are adding pressure to her brain and stopping it from developing properly.
The source: Where did the infection come from? Vanessa was strep B positive during her delivery. She was given antibiotics to help make sure that Kaylee did not get infected. These antibiotics worked as they were intended protecting Kaylee during the first week after delivery when she was most vulnerable and when the strep B would have caused the most harm. However in a small number of cases like Kaylee's the strep B remains inactive till after the first week.
The Solution: First the infection needs to be gotten rid of. For this reason Kaylee is on antibiotics and will remain on antibiotics for at least 20 days. Since she is so young she needs to remain at the hospital until the infection is completely gone. This means that she will be at the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) of St. Joseph's in Marshfield for at least 20 days. Second the pressure needs to be immediately removed from her head. For this reason she is having drains put in to her brain that will drain out the puss and excess liquid. This will require at least a few different surgeries. Finally a long term solution for draining the liquid needs to be in place. Ideally after the infection is cleared up the passage ways will open up again. This however is extremely unlikely at this point. Therefore she will probably need at least two and maybe more shunts. Shunts are basically artificial passages leading from the ventricles to the abdomen to drain the brain fluid that can't get through the blocked natural passages.
The Prognosis: The surgeries themselves of course present a risk. Kaylee is going to require more than a few brain surgeries. These surgeries are not overly dangerous but brain surgery is always risky. The infection has not yet been gotten rid of it, but the doctors are very confident that this is only a matter of time. She will almost certainly need shunts. Shunts are prone to infection and often need to be changed, but other than needing to be replaced every once in a while they should not affect Kaylee's life much. The most serious danger comes from the possibility of brain damage that may have already happened because of the increased pressure on the brain. There is simply no way right now to know what damage may or may not have been done. We can only wait and pray for the best. The good news is that there are no negative signs from Kaylee, nothing at this point that would imply any serious brain damage. Also children's brains at this age are far better at recovery. We can take comfort in knowing her Savior is watching over her, and working all things out for her good.
My personal feeling is that her brain has been affected by the infection, but in a way never seen before. One day she will be a super hero, and this is her origin story. -Matthew