ROHHAD News Archives - Page 4 of 11 - ROHHAD Association

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Banner’s Blog written by his mama for Rare Disease Awareness Day 2019 this is his Rare Reality

Meet Banner Mazza Sears, born February 7th, 2015. 38 weeks, 6 pound 14oz 19 1/12 inches. Banner was an energetic and happy baby. Although shortly before his 2nd birthday, he began to have odd bruising, excessive black eyes, and wounds that would not stop bleeding. We were admitted to Hasbro Children’s and diagnosed with ITP. Banners platelet count was 15,000, when the average person, on the low side has 150,000. They believed this was brought on by an average virus. After one treatment of IVIG, and many blood tests for the next year, we were almost clear of our hospital trips.

A week before his 3rd Banner was diagnosed with influenza A. Up until this point Banner was always small for his age, at almost 3 he was still wearing 2t clothing. Due to the Flu, we pushed back his 3 year appointment 1 month. At that appointment, his paediatrician said he was 4 or 5 pounds overweight. So at that point, our family went out of our way to make sure diet and exercise were top priorities. After a few months of serious healthy eating, and nothing but continued weight gain, as of June roughly 20 lbs, (with no other symptoms easily recognized) we switched endocrinologists and saw someone at Hasbro.

After our first appointment, even though we had planned many tests to rule out any other diagnosis, our doctor mentioned in his notes to our paediatrician, this may possibly be ROHHAD. The following month brought tests for cortisol, pituitary gland, Cushings, Prader Willi and more, and ended with a scheduled MRI.

Two weeks before the schedule. MRI, I was awoken by some noises that sounded like Banner was talking in his sleep, or possibly having a bad dream. It was 5am so I almost didn’t go in, afraid he may not fall back to sleep if I did. Something told me in my gut to check on him. When i went in, Banner was in respiratory failure. We called the ambulance, they came and began CPR and immediately bagged him. He had a temp of 106. This was brought on by the common cold virus.

At this point, in Sept of 2018 we were officially diagnosed with ROHHAD. Banner had hypo-ventilated. We went home 16 days later on BiPap ventilation. In the first week of October he was admitted again with pneumonia. After that 8 day recovery, we decided to come to Boston children’s. They have 6 cases of this diagnosis that they have managed and treated, it seemed the best choice. Our initial appointments showed that with Banners case, an immune system compromise, always followed and huge show of his ROHHAD symptoms. We decided now was a good time to remove Banners tumour that was resting near his spine.

We were admitted December 4th for tumour resection and we are still here at Boston Children’s now 11 weeks later and will be for some more time to come. This is because Banners respiratory issues got so bad, and his CO2 levels were so high (140 awake, average is between 30 and high of 50) we had to go ahead with a tracheostomy. Banner has struggled with tracheitis, pneumonia and viral infections. On top of being 4 and not wanting to have tubes all over!

We are hoping to be heading home within the next couple of weeks once we can staff some home nursing hours. One of the hardest parts of this diagnosis, has been the change in his personality. Banners behaviour has become extremely aggressive at times, which can be hard to explain to friends and family, and also hard on your heart as Mama. There are times it appears you have flipped a switch, and its not my little boy I’m looking at. It’s not his fault!! The part of his brain that helps with control is not functioning properly. Another cruel part of this disease and that is devastating.

Banner always manages to push through the bad times and kiss and make up. Banner is absolutely hilarious. He is such a ham, always making the staff laugh! He has an absolute fan club here in the MICU. He shouts from his room, hello! to all walking by. Invites them in to play with his guys (Marvel super hero figures) or cars, or to play Ghost busters on the tablet. Banner loves to play ball (he has a heck of an arm!) And, he also really enjoys just jumping around in his bed like a “crazy coconut”!!! There are still snuggle times and lots of hugs and 100 kisses, but Banner is easily frustrated because he is so limited. ROHHAD is a terminal diagnosis with no cure, and so far not a lot of research. None of us who are living with this daily, have any idea what to expect for our futures, or will we even have a long future.

There is no way to plan, or treat this disease. It is just management of symptoms. With only 100 cases worldwide there is no clear connection between our kids. They do not know yet if it is genetic, it would seem so unlikely to be environmental as kids from all different places all over the world have it. We need to raise awareness, and gain exposure. Our kids need us to advocate for them research into ROHHAD is urgently needed. Please help us by sharing the stories of our ROHHAD warriors. #BannerBrave #HulkSmashRohhad

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Seohyun Blog Written for Rare Disease Awareness Day 2019 Rare Reality

Seohyun above before ROHHAD Syndrome

Let me introduce my beloved daughter, Seohyun.
Born lovely and beloved of the whole village.
She was a little girl who was healthy and energetic.

Before Seohyun reached the age of two years old
She began to struggle with her breathing and suddenly she always seemed to be sick and feeling sick. I took my beautiful daughter to many of our big hospitals, but nobody could understand what was wrong with her, they didn’t know the cause.

Nine more months later we slowly began to get answers through extensive tests they discovered my daughter had a tumour on her kidney and a spinal cord.
We found out that it was a cancer called neuro endocrine tumour.

They had to Leave the cancer on her spine after the tumor resection as it was too risky to remove it all. Seohyun has had to have auto-controlled cell transplantation eight times, as well as chemotherapy, She also needed 12 doses of radiation and more medication.

For over a year, she has been holding up and seems to have developed the power to fight her diagnosis and her cancer.
But in the midst of such a hard struggle, our daughter continued to decline and have difficulty breathing and gaining weight that was causing serious problems within her body.

She suffers from neuromuscular degeneration and has severe difficulty adjusting her body temperature. I’ve watched ROHHAD syndrome almost destroy my child, her quality of life is severely affected.

The ROHHAD syndrome is something we have had to try and get used to as a family but it seriously effects us all. We see it as a very bad disease that’s kept our daughter in hospital a lot and indoors.

She struggles so much going out she is so weak and has little muscle control, so she can’t go out without a breathing tube, the rapid onset obesity does not help and she feels a lot of leg pain. It’s so difficult to move without a wheelchair. Our daughter can no longer go to school and it has really hindered her social life. Like other children, who can run around with your friends, my daughter cant do that anymore.

My lifelong wish is to Find A Cure, I do not want to see my daughter suffer like this, but this is her life until better treatments and a cure are found. Research is Vital and so important. Please help us find a cure and until then my daughter will continue to suffer for the rest of her life and have to stay home.

I pray we find a cure.

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Leah Baldock ROHHAD Blog written for Rare Disease Day 2019

Leah Baldock pictured above before ROHHAD

Leah was born in June 2009 and was a completely healthy child with no health problems whatsoever. She was a very happy, confident child with bundles of energy.

At around the age of 3 she started gaining weight very quickly, and she was always so very tired. She would literally sleep from the moment I collected her from nursery at midday, through to dinner time, and still slept right through in the evening. Her personality completed changed and we just knew something was wrong.

We repeatedly took her to our GP, who just kept telling us she just needed to have a “growth spurt” but after us pushing and pushing he finally agreed to refer her to a paediatrician. To cut a long story short the paediatrician had no idea what was wrong but in our eyes was not doing enough to find out what the problem was. It was so very frustrating.

It was time for us to take matters into our own hands, so I decided to email top Endocrinologists in London explaining our situation and included pictures of Leah before and after. Within 5 minutes I received a reply asking how I would feel if Leah was admitted to the Evelina hospital for a couple of weeks of extensive tests. This is where our journey began.

The Evelina hospital at first suspected Cushing’s syndrome, and after an MRI test discovered Leah had a neuroendocrine tumour. We were then referred over to the Royal Marsden who carried out more tests, from there we were referred to the Royal London hospital for further hospital stays and tests, and eventually we ended up at Great Ormond Street hospital. We actually had to wait 5 months not knowing if the tumour was cancerous or not, which was the hardest 5 months of our life. Because of the location of the tumour it was impossible to take a biopsy so we just had to wait for an operation to try and remove it instead.

After an 8 ½ hour wait Leah’s tumour was mostly removed successfully. She has a little piece that still remains but it is too close to her spinal cord so for now it is just closely monitored. Thankfully it was not cancerous.

ROHHAD Syndrome was a name that was always thrown around by our specialists but we always hung on to the hope it was Cushing’s as that would have been much easier to treat. We were finally diagnosed with ROHHAD in 2017. Its horrendous when any child gets a serious illness but imagine finding out that less than 100 children worldwide have what your child has, and realising the professionals have absolutely no idea what causes it, let alone how to treat it. Then you discover there is absolutely no government funding. You feel so scared and alone!

So how does ROHHAD affect Leah on a daily basis. She injects daily with growth hormone, and self-medicates with various medicines to try and prevent diabetes. She is on an oxygen machine at night for sleep apnoea. She regularly sees the endocrine team at Great Ormond Street. As well as sleep studies to make sure her breathing has not deteriorated. She has regular hospital stays to monitor her hormones via 24 hour blood tests, where they take blood hourly. She also sees the cardiology team to check her heart as obviously the extra weight she carries can cause problems. Leah’s tiredness affects her the most on a day to day basis. She struggles to get through a day at school because of her extreme fatigue.

She misses out on lots that she should be doing as a 9 year old. She struggles to run around the playground with her friends. Her weight affects her confidence greatly. People do stare or make comments and as Leah is getting older she is much more aware of this.

Leah’s condition has had a massive impact on our whole family. Leah and I have spent many weeks in hospital which was very hard on our son. Regarding education Leah is where she should be academically which is amazing considering she missed a year and half of school! She loves school and has the most amazing friends who helped her transition back into school life. Leah horse rides on a Saturday which she loves. Everything Leah does in life she does with the biggest smile on her face and she never fails to make us laugh.

We really need to find a cure for ROHHAD so other children don’t have to go through all these months or years of invasive tests and investigations. We need to know more about ROHHAD now before any more children gain their angel wings. We don’t know what the future holds for Leah, we just try and take each day as it comes. Every test or hospital visit we just pray that her symptoms haven’t worsened.

Please help us find a cure!

Leah after her ROHHAD Syndrome began to affect her body

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