Paige Hilsden

First post: Jul 6, 2020 Latest post: May 17, 2021
As many of you know,  on July 2nd Paige was diagnosed with "Acute Flaccid Myelitis" (AFM), a polio-like disease resulting from a bad reaction to a common enterovirus D-68. It's a hit-and-run illness with fast-moving symptoms. Paige went from doing backflips in the backyard one morning to extreme weakness in hands and arms and not being able to move anything from her stomach down by the next morning. By the grace of God, the weakness and paralysis did not progress any higher like the doctors initially feared and Paige did not need to be put on a ventilator. 

Paige spent the first few days and nights receiving care in the PICU at Rocky Mountain Children's Hospital in Denver. Because only one in a million children get this illness, treatment is largely experimental, with only a few approaches observed to have helped in other cases. They gave her two rounds of IV Immunoglobulins (IVIG) which seemed to work as paralysis did not spread further and she regained some feeling and function in her left hand and right foot and leg. 

We pray for God's healing of Paige. Otherwise, it'll be time and therapy to bring back as much functionality as possible. The recovery for this illness runs the spectrum similar to polio - there is no rhyme or reason as to which kids recover and to what level of functionality in what timeline. It runs the gamut with some recovering in months and others taking years and still others never recovering at all. Paige has already made great strides in the first week. She is a strong athlete and has impressed the PTs and OTs with her great attitude, courage, perseverance, and self-deprecating humor. She is also a favorite of the nurses on the PICU floor, two of which were also former gymnasts and keep her hair braided so she doesn't get tangled "hospital hair."

After Paige made it through a day without needing extra oxygen support she was downgraded to regular pediatric vs ICU status. But since there weren't many patients, she was allowed to stay on the floor which made her happy - the nurses are great here. The next step from here will be to go to inpatient rehabilitation at a hospital that specializes in pediatric spine injury care. She will likely spend several months there before getting to come home and continuing with outpatient PT. 

We appreciate everyone praying and walking alongside us through this challenging time for our family and will keep you updated on her progress.

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