Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Catching up...

It has been a very long time since last time I updated the blog. So many things have happened so I will try to sum it all up with a few pictures and a short "story". Olivia is almost reaching her 2-yrs post transplant mark so that is a miracle on it's own. She still goes for weekly labs ( sometimes 2x a week) as her body is still very delicate and immune suppressed. She is currently homeschooled ( by me) through Great Lakes Virtual Academy as a First Grader. The online school has been a blessing by allowing her to not be behind her peers despite her physical challenges and hospitalizations. She Loves Phonics, Reading and Art :). As you all know by know we were also blessed with our second daughter, Scarlett Rose on December,22-nd. 2014 !!! Olivia adores her little sister and they both cannot stay apart from each other. (Olivia - 7 yrs old/// Scarlett - 1 yr old) January, 1st. 2016 We feel so thankful and humbled by GOD's grace and blessings as we continue our journey as a family of FOUR!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Livi lost her first tooth in July...

Briana & Livi had an unplanned matching Frozen - fun Monday in September.

A great week with no IV's.

July was another struggling month for Olivia. She was actually scheduled for another biopsy but the day of the procedure GOD performed another miracle on her and her labs came back the best they've ever been ... We were in disbelief. August has been more of a fun month for Olivia. She continued on IV's but her body seemed to like the extra fluid and her labs finally stabilized during August. She was finally able to play with cousins and go out in public without a mask. We had fun-Mondays with Christian,Antony,Briana & Roi and that is a tradition now for the summers to come :). Also her cousins from Pennsylvania visited for a couple of weeks too and that made August even more fun :)). August was topped with another super exiting news of finding out that we're gonna have another baby-GIRL and she seems to be super healthy which makes the news Amazing for our family. As of Tuesday Livi has been off IV's and labs have been stable to where the dr. decided to give her another No IV week. To take advantage of this past week we tried to do pool time everyday and full submerge in water which she hasn't been able to do since her transplant in March :(. God has been great to us. He has picked us up everyday, especially this past 5 months. We've been in a lot of heartaches and unknown paths but I think things are finally slowing down and we know that we still have ways to go with Olivia but GOD and everyone's prayers lift us up daily and that gives us courage and strength because we know we're not alone.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Things have been somewhat the same...

As of last Wednesday, Olivia was put back on the daily IV fluids. The trial week we did without the IV didn't go very well as the kidney numbers started elevating daily. It has been kind of a discouraging week because we're doing everything we're suppose to, yet Olivia's new kidney still is having a hard time functioning at it's fullest capacity. Really praying for another miracle again, so our baby girl can finally start living a somewhat " normal" life instead of being hooked to tubes all day and have her body drawn in such high fluid volume. Besides the struggle with her new kidney function she has been energetic and with a good appetite. God continues to be by us and continues to bless us daily... And speaking of blessings, God is blessing us with another child. We're three and a half months along and still in disbelief that we're finally going to have another baby. God always has a plan and we can't wait to make Olivia a big sister again :).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Still able to enjoy the stay at home.

Olivia has been home with no hospitalization since our last discharge in May. Her body is still struggling at maintaining a low creatinine ( kidney toxins flush). For the past two weeks she has been in the high .77-.78 and ideally they want her at least at 0.60. Even tho she is running high they did finally take her IV off this Friday because her doctor doesn't want her body to get used to and rely on IV fluid rather than her regular liquid intake. She still needs to drink close to 3L a day which is a huge challenge on itself. On the positive note,Olivia has been eating great and growing like a weed ( or flowers as she says :) ). She is still going to the hospital for dr. appt and labs 3x a week but we're hoping that after her 3 month mark (June27-th) we can drop it to 2x a week which will feel somewhat more of a "normal" week. Thank you again to everyone that continues to pray for us. GOD bless.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Olivia has been home since May 4-th thanks to the IV's added to her nightly regiment( we still do her labs and dr. appt every other day though). For this past 2 weeks her labs have been pretty stable ( not where they want her to be but better than they've been for the past month). In the meantime her nephrologist has had multiple meetings with the urology surgeons and as of yesterday they decided to put off her second surgery ( the nephrectomy). It was such a relief to hear those words come out of her docs mouth... Phew...they said that the acute injury was found on the tube part of the kidney which apparently regenerates by our body with time. Also the intestinal infection she got last month had a huge impact on dehydrating her new kidney so they want to give her new kidney time to heal right now instead of rushing into another major surgery that can make things worse. Olivia has been eating great too which is always amazing to see. It's such an overwhelming feeling to put a plate of food in front of your child without having to count all the phosphor and potassium in that plate and having to take it away from your child as they're enjoying it. With that said Olivia has been loving eating bananas and potatoes ( that she couldn't have before) and she's eating them daily ;)... for now haha.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The biopsy result.

The biopsy came back as AKI (Acute kidney injury which is rapidly progressive impairment of renal function that results in fluid and electrolyte derangement and retention of normally excreted substances in the blood.  In other words this shows that the native kidney is stealing/ flushing out all the fluids given to her so the next step has to be the nephrectomy ( removal of native kidneys). Our prayer request until the surgery is that the docs find a balance for Olivia's body. Right now kidney is at best with us giving her 3L of fluid a day but we're running into hypertension problems ( blood pressure has been in the high 150-160's and hard to manage). There is a lot of factors involved into the process of protecting the new kidney from further damage & so far has been really hard to do. Her Dr. Is consulting with urology surgeons also to make sure we cover all damaging factors so there is no surprises after the second surgery.  So far we're anticipating the surgery in the next two weeks but no date has been set. In the meantime Peter and I are monitoring Olivia at home(discharged on Monday) with feeding pomp plus IV's fluids until the surgery date. Thank you again everyone for praying and taking this journey with us. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

The biopsy procedure.

Slightly change of plans. Around 11:00 pm last night her dr. called us back with an action plan. As of 5:00 this morning Livi was admitted again and we're waiting for her biopsy procedure to be done by noon today. This procedure is very important for us to know if her body is rejection the new kidney or if the old one is causing the new kidney to fail. If the biopsy comes back negative ( we should get results by Monday), than they'll consider doing her nephrectomy ( surgically removing her old kidney) which is another major surgery but we rather have that done than having Peter and Olivia go through another transplant next week. Our fear of the unknown is draining us emotionally but we still have our faith and we know the power of prayers so please continue to pray for GOD's wisdom and quick healing of Olivia's little body. Thank you all for the continues love and support that you have shown to us during this very difficult time.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

... need some love.

Today Olivia's labs came back not good. Earlier tonight I got a voicemail from her nephrologist that she wants to admit Olivia tomorrow again and if her numbers are the same, than she will do her biopsy tomorrow too. Seeing Olivia home has been a privilege since those days have been a very few these past couple of months and just the thought of more hospitalization days and procedures just brakes our heart to pieces... No matter how strong we try to be for each-other and her it is just too hard sometimes to hide it. As we got the news Peter and I were talking about her situation, the hurt, the faith... Sometimes is really hard to remember that GOD is in control especially when we want to be able to fix everything and we can't. At the end of our conversation, Peter reminded me again how my fears get bigger when I am not in control or not know what tomorrow will bring. - Dajana, he said,remember how GOD has not let us down yet ( looking at Livi playing in a corner with her dollies). HE has shown that HE loves us and is in control. That statement was really powerful at that moment. Tears filled my eyes so I used both of my hands to cover my face so Livi didn't see me. As I felt like chocking in my own tears, crying in silence and gasping for air in between my hands I hear a little voice behind me... O- mama.... Me,Clearing my throat ... -Yes love... Mama, I think you need some love today. I tried to wipe my tears really quick to see her little face but her little arms wrapped around my head so quickly and we just hugged each other so tight that we didn't want to let go. How beautiful to be able to get comfort from your 5-year old with just a little love...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Home at last.

Olivia was finally discharged today around 5:00 pm. In order to keep her away from the hospital we have to make sure she intakes at least 2400. ML ( almost 2&1/2 L) a day. We also are to follow up for labs everyday for the rest of this week and if her numbers don't improve they will do the biopsy early next week to find out if there is any rejection. Please pray that her body heals soon & the numbers improve so she doesn't have to go through another procedure. Soooo happy to be home...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Still in the hospital...

. I'm sorry I haven't updated the blog in a couple of days. Things have been up and down with labs. The creatinine level is having a hard time dropping to the normal range so if it continues to drop with the same pace they are planning to do a biopsy of her new kidney and check if there is any rejection at this point since her new kidney has not yet shows it's full potential. The hospital environment is getting to us and yes you can say we're kind of " loosing our mind" all cooped in one room, running out of " fun" things to do. Olivia has discovered that she can use her IV pol as her scooter for around the room... It's super cute to see how this little girl will find anything to entertain herself and most of the time she has kept an amazing positive attitude giving the fact that she hasn't been able to leave the room since last Friday. As of today, we're still waiting for Livi's lab results drawn this morning and hoping that we get good numbers back. If Olivia start drinking & eating more by mouth and slows down on her outputs than the dr. Will consider her discharge since at that point we'll know that she can be managed at home without drying out her new kidney.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Admitted again.

Unfortunately Olivia was admitted again yesterday. Her body is outputting more than it can take in so to prevent damage to her new kidney she has to be hydrated with IV's 24 hrs a day. Also because her numbers have been high for a couple weeks now the dr. wants to closely monitor her so they don't miss a possible kidney rejection ( again the highest possibility of rejection happens within the first 6 months). I know they want to keep her here for a few days. We have brought plenty of crafts to do and are keeping a positive attitude through it all. ( mama has told her that this is a vacation home that we get to have sleepovers together so that has helped a lot mentally). First day went well and her labs are slowly progressing. I'll try to update it again once we hear more from her doctor.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Today's procedure.

The stent removal today was successful.Olivia was in and out of the operation room within 20 minutes. She handled the anesthesia great and we were able to come home by 11:00 am. As soon as we got home Olivia started developing high bladder discomfort and burning sensation from the earlier procedure. The pain and discomfort has increased a lot to where she is afraid to even use the bathroom due to the spasms and burning sensation that she's experiencing. After a dose of muscle relaxer,Tylenol and Benadryl she finally fell asleep but we're worried right now that she hasn't discharged her output for more than four hours. Very anxious about her labs tomorrow since they already haven't been the greatest this week ( creatinine is up to 0.83)... Peter said he wouldn't be surprised if she get admitted to the hospital again tomorrow. As of for now she is finally sleeping and I'm hoping we all can get some rest since we've been up since 3:00a.m last night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let HIS will be done....

After 3 days being connected to IV fluids & followed very closely by the docs, Olivia's labs and body was able to recover today. Around 11:00 am they told us that we can go home as long as the immunosuppressant level came back within the accepted range. All three of us, within minutes put our coats on, packed everything and started waiting, anxiously staring at that room until 3:00 pm when they confirmed the good news. At that moment you just want to run, never turn your head back like you're being chased and don't want to be caught because you might be "punished" again haha. I know it is a silly analogy but I feel like that sometimes... Run when you can, especially if it is to go home :). Once we got home Olivia ran around the living room maybe 15 times yelling and screaming:" I'm freeeee...I Looooove beeeing hoooommmmeee... Than she would roll on the carpet & kiss the floor like she had been gone for centuries. She sure is a character and her happy spirit is very inspiring to us. She has challenged Peter and I to be better people and think of positive outcomes instead of being angry at our situation. She has shown to us that you shouldn't take anything for granted and to make sure we enjoy today because tomorrow is unknown. She has shown us that waking up angry doesn't resolve issues but saying " I Love You" with a big smile can make somebody's day. We know that GOD has given Olivia to us for a bigger purpose because we have seen how many lives she has already touched in her 5 short years. It is amazing to hear from people that don't even know us that just by talking to Olivia and seeing that happy glow in her eyes puts them in a happy mood... Today was another one of those days to where GOD had used Olivia's life for a bigger purpose. We were told that after the med. incident on Monday, her doctors had requested an urgent meeting with the VP of the hospital. After two long meetings, the children's hospital has finally a new system that will no longer override the doctors orders to the pharmacy. They said that because of Olivia they have saved so many children & families having to go through our same problem that the hospital has been dealing with for a long time. Hearing those words at that moment just brought tears to my eyes. All the pain and heartache that we went through just evaporated from my soul and all I could think is..." Let His will be done". No matter how much it hurts to see Olivia deal with all that she has been since she was conceived we know that GOD has His arms around her & HE will always and Forever protect her. ( all I could think after that conversation was the pain we felt inside seeing Olivia in the hospital, even tho she was being treated like a little princess & getting the best care we could've asked for... But yet we couldn't bear seeing her there... Can you imagine at what GOD felt when HE saw HIS only SON, treated like a criminal and being hung on that cross............................We are all humans and if GOD could forgive us after killing our only Salvation than we need at least to try to follow his example...)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back in the hospital.

After somewhat a "better" couple of days we noticed this weekend that Olivia didn't seem like herself. She was showing a lot of discomfort, pain & tiredness mostly Saturday and Sunday during the day. Monday morning we went to the hospital as usual to get her labs and as we're waiting for the results I decided to call the pharmacy to refill her immunosuppressant med since it was increased drastically this past Friday. After I got to speak to the RX I was confused at the dose that they were quoting to what I was told to give her this weekend. Like a loud thunder the idea of something being wrong with this prescription hit me. You know when u see a lightening and you start counting to see how close the thunder will hit to further find out what the damages are going to be.... I start panicking, hung up on the representative and start running around the hallway asking the nurses to see Livi's doctor. She came right away and yes, my fear was real... The counting went like this: 1-2-3, than another lightening...1-2,and than...ONE. For the past four days,Olivia was prescribed the wrong dose because the pharmacy had sent us a different concentration to what the dr. had prescribed. She had been taking, double the dose, on double the concentration of this very toxic medicine. I couldn't even breath from the panic. Peter being the calmer one tried to ease my mind by saying that at least we caught it sooner than later but my panic couldn't allow my thoughts to calm down nor my body to stop shaking... After a couple of hours we got the lab results with the phone call of having to re-admit Olivia in the hospital,again. The kidney function had decreased so being so close to the transplant they had to treat this case as an " acute kidney failure". She has been on IV fluids since yesterday and that is slowly helping on bringing that function back but not fast enough for us to go home yet. It's really frustrating and hurtful to see Livi take these steps back after all those nights we've spent to make her more comfortable with the new routine :(. She doesn't seem to have much thirst today at all. We don't know if it's nausea or a bad aftertaste in her mouth due to the new meds. Either way she needs to start drinking or accepting more fluids put in her belly without trying to throw-up for the hospital to even consider discharging her. So for now, we sit in one of our old rooms, waiting... I will try to update the blog tomorrow and as always all the prayers are much needed and appreciated.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

First week.

This has been a long week with a lot of sleepless nights. Olivia is having a hard time adjusting to the new meds and the fluid volume given to her by the feeding pomp at night. The lab. results have been up & down and so has been the dose increase on her meds which it's not helping her discomfort & pain throughout the night. Seeing her curled up all night crying from belly ache & begging me to stop the feeds because she is full...it has been heartbreaking. Unfortunately we can't stop the fluids because the new kidney needs that volume per day to survive the high output that her body produces. Every day I am trying to adjust her feeds and rearrange the way I give certain meds to her but it hasn't been successful until yesterday that she was finally able to sleep more comfortably from 2:00-6:30am ( the most she has slept all week). During the day she is really happy & doesn't appear to be in any pain. Her appetite has increased even tho she gets fuller with 1/4th of what she use to eat which might have to do with the space that the new kidney is taking in her abdomen/belly. It is 10:00 pm right now and she hasn't woken up and cried yet since 9:00pm so I'm praying & hoping for a restful, comfortable night for my little girl that has gone thru so much in the past couple of weeks... We are emotionally & physically drained and I personally can't take another day seeing her cry in helpless discomfort. I know GOD is looking down on us & HE has a plan & a solution. I know that HE has chosen a great nephrologist that is also working day & night to help make her life easier, I know HE has chosen amazing people in our lives to help us go thru this journey,especially Olivia. I know our GOD is amazing & HE will pick us up...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday updates. (10:15 pm)

At 7:30 this morning we headed to the hospital to get Olivia's labs for the first time since we brought her home on Friday. Thankfully the experience wasn't very traumatizing because she has an implanted port now above her heart and they can access it anytime for up to two years. Waiting for the lab results was nerve racking. I found myself pacing around the house and checking my phone every 2 minutes. I finally got a call back around 1:00 pm. The nurse said that most of the labs looked stable. The anti-rejection number was a little concerning to them because it had dropped from 12.0 to 5.0. (Right now they're trying to keep Olivia's numbers high in order to suppress her immune system so her body doesn't recognize the new kidney and tries to attack it ). So they want us to go up on the med. dose which will hopefully help with that. Also drawing labs every other day I feel like it can prevent an acute failure as long as it's med. related since they're adjusting everything according to the lab results. Another detail that made me nervous yesterday was the blood residue on her urine output The U.A did came back with high blood trace in it so they're sending it for more testing to another facility. As a precaution I also called the urology surgeon's office since they've put a stent in her kidney & bladder & Peter thinks it may play a role in the bleeding part. The office did confirm that if the child is very active that can move/rub & cause some bleeding. The surgery for the stent removal is scheduled on the 24-th so let's hope she won't get any infection until than. On a positive note, Olivia seems very happy during the day aside from a couple episodes of discomfort & nausea here and there. She has been able to get back on most of her daily routines & she's also getting more comfortable with the new ones ( including wearing a mask which was very challenging at first). Tomorrow is another day so I'm taking today as a great blessing & achievement to successfully do all her care at home. Soooo happy you're home baby girl. Mommy & daddy loves you...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Overwhelmed by your love...

This is only half of what she has gotten so far. Olivia has been really busy playing with all of her presents & munching on all of the snacks ( and so have we haha). I'm really anxious about tomorrow as it will be the first lab result (@8:30am) since we left the hospital on Friday. Praying for good results so she continues to be home with us and her toys :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Home sweet home.

The first night/day back home felt great. Olivia finally got a full night of sleep. Having an all new med list & routine was a bit challenging at times but I believe we were able to get everything done as directed by her doctor. Also her body is not adjusted to the change & to the new meds. side effects ( nausea,headache & loose stool) so eating & drinking has been hard for her which makes it even harder for us to push her to eat & drink all day :(. She has to drink over 1 Liter of liquids during the day & almost 1L overnight ( thank goodness for her feeding tube because it has been a life saver). I just put her to bed right now & I'm praying for another quiet & relaxing night :).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Waiting to be discharged.

Friday. 6:00 p.m Today we've been anticipating going home & the time can't come fast enough. We're ready to start our new life. Olivia has been wearing her coat for the past 2 hrs & is really anxious to finally sleep in her own room & play with her toys. Our discharge nurse should be here within the next hour.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Special people...

These are some special people that made Olivia's stay at the hospital better... Her amazing nephrologist that has always been an advocate for her, and stayed right next to Livi during her whole surgical procedure. She is the best dr. that God could've chosen for her. Dr.Steinke always treated & cared for Olivia like she was her own child... This little girl got spoiled everyday... ( pic 2, is Kelly from Child Life which also requested to be by Olivia's side during her surgery. At the end of the procedure she shared with us that because of Olivia she now knows how to better help these kids cope with procedures & understand what they go through ... So touching.) Also I can't thank enough all the medical staff at the DeVos Children's hospital & the amazing surgeons that really change these kids life Forever

Great news.

Yesterday dr.Steinke started a going home test by substituting IV fluids with pediasure & pedialite and still manage a good kidney function... So far everything has gone as planned & the change has been successful which means... Home Tomorrow :) We're in disbelief right now, feeling so humbled & blessed by the love of our GOD to finally see the light at the end of this tunnel. The kidney toxins ( creatinine) right now is at 0.65 ( 0.3-0.5 is where they want her to be at) so we're very close in seeing the new kidney at 100% function. So for now instead of staying here & waiting for all these changes the doctors feel very confident at us taking her home & still doing every 4 hrs Vidals( blood pressure, temp, calculation of intake & output fluid amount). Also we need to bring her at the hospital everyday by 8:30 so they can make the necessary daily med changes depending from the lab results. Also as of yesterday Olivia has been walking on her own ( even tho still weak) so I believe we no longer have to take her to MaryFreeBed which most likely will be confirmed once we meet physical therapy at 2:00 pm today. Again, thank you all for everything you have done for us, especially the constant prayers that have shown over & over the power of all the believers coming together to confirm how Amazing our GOD is and how much HE loves us... Unconditionally.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Long day...

A better rest of the day.

Things started changing around 2:00pm. Olivia's output was stable enough that her nephrologist was comfortable at removing the catheter finally by 3:00 pm...Phew... She was also able to take a 2 hr nap that seemed to energize her enough to want to take 2 steps & take a ride around the floor :). That was a huge progress. Another good change was the med situation. To help with her nausea they broke the meds that were causing nausea to 4 X day instead of 2x a day. She was able to have some milk, chocolate, a couple bites of chicken & the much needed water :). Ready for bed, praying she gets some rest tonight.

Restless night...

Last night was a little rough on Olivia. She developed pain & discomfort by her catheter. It was very intense to where she couldn't even rest or lay in one position. I tried everything, from patting her clean to rinsing multiple times until 4:00am. I got scared cuz we also found blood residue on her diaper but we couldn't determine where it was coming from ( front or back). She tried to sleep from 4:30 to 6:00 until they started the morning assessment and woke her up to stand on the scale which is so challenging right now cuz she has lost the strength on her legs ( they're talking about sending her to MaryFreeBed for PT) I'm hoping she can get some rest today to make up for the night. There's nothing worse than having to tell your child:" I'm sorry honey, there is nothing mama can do to help you..."