It's been a week since we found out. We got a call last Sunday (the day after her birthday) from the metabolic geneticist. He tried to make some small talk about her birthday but we knew it wasn't a good call. We headed in the next morning for the news.
Amber's last set of blood tests came back positive for one of the Lysosomal Storage Diseases called Mucolipidosis II or I-Cell Disease. They really tried to give us the best case scenario for her but unfortunately this is a progressively destructive disease. Right now Amber is probably the best she will ever be. Everything that she's been struggling with from the beginning will not go away but actually continue to get worse over time. There is no cure and we can only treat problems as they arise to make her comfortable. The worst part is they told us not to expect her to live to age 8. Right now they are retesting it and doing more tests to see how sever she has it.
This is a rare disease but there are some experimental treatments we could try with her. The major one is bone marrow stem cell transplantation. It's extremely intense and really doesn't do much, it might slow down the progression but in the end everything will be the same. The transplantation will also not stop the progression to her brain. All the possible treatments we could try are intense with a lot of negative side affects. It's a hard decision to make if we want to put her through any of this with no promise that it will do anything. At the same time not doing anything makes me feel like I'm being a bad parent to her. We haven't closed the door to anything but it's definitely something we need to pray, talk about and get more counseling from Dr.s.
How does this affect whats going on with Amber now? Well, it seriously complicates things even more, to put it simply! We have been setting up Amber's chest expansion and heart surgery for sometime this fall. Now we're not sure if this is going to happen or not. Amber's disease is a progressive thing so her chest and heart would not heal right. They would continue to cause her issues and would continue to need more surgery to keep on correcting them. The other major issue with the new diagnosis and surgery is with intubation and anesthesia basically it's not supposed to be done and can cause a lot of serious issues. We aren't even sure at this point if they would still let her have these surgeries. It's a really hard thing to deal with when the last news we heard from the Dr's who want these surgeries done was that if she didn't get them they would be what gets her or at least whats going to really hold her back. The heart one at this point I'm not too worried about because she still isn't showing day to day signs that it's causing her any problems. The chest expansion one is what I'm really struggling with. Even with the inhaler and more oxygen at night Amber is still desating a lot more every night and each night it's a lower number. I have a feeling that this is going to be a no win situation.
This also means we get to see some more new specialists! On Friday we see a neurologist to discuss Amber's skull, upcoming brain MRI and probably the neurological affects of I-Cell. Then we have a magical week off but I'm hoping Amber's glasses come in and to get an appointment with the pulmonary specialist. After that we see the new cardiologist to discuss the heart MRI and if we can do surgery. The next day we'll see the ophthalmologist again to see if her cornea clouding has progressed in the month and a half and how her glasses are working (if they're in by then!). Finally at the end of October we'll have her two for one MRI and see people all over again to talk about the results. November is orthopedics and endocrinology to see if they can help us at all, I'm very skeptical of the two of them. At some point we'll meet with a neurosurgeon to check out the integrity of Amber's spine, especially her neck bones and talk to them about possible things we hope to never actually have to go through. The end of November we'll see the metabolic geneticist again to see how things are progressing and if there is anything we can do.
This has all been really shocking and rough for us. Like usual we're taking it one day at a time but it's still not easy to talk about or tell people about.
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