A New Doctor

We met a new partner on our journey today, Dr. U. is a pediatric endocrinologist who we visited to discuss possible hypothyroidism and precocious puberty. I am less concerned lately about her thyroid, because I’ve come to understand that, like everything else, this gland’s function is dependent on proper voltage. There are three critical minerals the thyroid only absorbs in a very narrow pH (or voltage) range. Since I know that Abbie is not yet in that range, I know she is not adequately absorbing these minerals and is thus hypothyroidic. I believe this will be resolved once we get her voltage up. The more nagging concern is the possible onset of early puberty. Part of me doesn’t want to write about this, to protect Abbie, but part of me knows there may be other brain injury families reading this, so for them I will be open about this new concern.

Dr. U. explained that the body always wants to go into puberty but a healthy neurological system is able to suppress this until the proper time. Any neurological issues, such as a head injury, a seizure disorder, or a tumor can alter the suppression ability, allowing the body to prematurely enter puberty. The pituitary gland, located in the brain, is responsible for the production of many hormones, some of which play into puberty. Because of Abbie’s injury she is predisposed to “precocious puberty” and lately we have been seeing some signs that this may be impending. The biggest risk of this is that if it proceeds unchecked her body may only have 3 or 4 more years to grow, and then, thinking that puberty and the growth years are complete, her body will stop growing. We are going to check her hormone levels with blood tests and also check how far she may have progressed into puberty with an Xray of her hand and wrist. The bones will tell us how old they “think” they are, and will help us understand exactly where we are at on the curve.

There is a medication called Lupron, that can stall the progression. This is delivered with an intramuscular shot, making it very painful. Abbie would potentially need one every three to four weeks for up to four years. Just when I thought there weren’t any more painful decisions left to uncover in our brain injury box… Dr. U. did tell me of one mother who stopped having her daughter take the shots after one year to purposefully keep her small, to make caregiving more manageable. I can certainly understand that point of of view, but at this point I am not willing to stunt her growth to save my back.

We will follow up with Dr. U. in two weeks to go over the results of the test and determine how to proceed. Please pray especially for the Xray results. I don’t think anything in the blood tests will especially surprise us, but I am really hoping that her bones don’t show a great difference between her age and their condition. Abbie is going to be my tall, beautiful ballerina, and I can’t imagine her any other way.

As for Abbie herself…she is doing great! Her burn is almost completely closed now, with a majority of the skin being pink and smooth. We are seeing new things all the time. The latest is the increased frequency and speed of her turning her head to follow something or to engage. Much better eye contact is such a blessing! Her strength is also increasing. She has great head and trunk control even on an unstable surface like a rolling or bouncing ball. We are now challenging her to see how far we can lean her back when she’s sitting and have her maintain head control. We are all the way back to a 45-degree angle now, which says alot about the strength in her neck and tummy muscles!

She awoke on Monday just “different”…she was so loose and happy. Who knows why. That is one of the frustrations about this journey…you are never completely sure what’s wrong on the hard days and are equally lost about what went right on the good days. Monday night I held her on my lap in bed and she felt completely normal to me, snuggling just as we did the night before her injury. I cannot describe how wonderful that felt, and the hope it stirred in me. There are times I forget how life, how Abbie, used to be…perhaps that is God’s mercy. But, seeing glimpses of it again through the trip to Disneyland and through Abbie’s good day remind me that I don’t want to get used to this life. No matter how tired I may be, or how comfortable I have become, I want perservere until our joy is complete.

One thought on “A New Doctor

  1. Sounds like things are going really well, Tiffany! I’m always so glad to hear wonderful news about Abbie. Sounds like her burn is healing more quickly than anticipated. I will pray every day that her test results and x-rays come back showing no signs of puberty. Please make sure to update us!

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