Parasites, Pain and a Plea for Prayer

Monday, April 15, 2013
Can we ask you to please be in prayer regarding a bit of a medical scare we are wading through?…..

Our sweet Isabelle (6) has been complaining of stomach pain off and on for the past 2 months.
Its not accute.
Not severe.
But persistent.
Almost every day, she comes up and says “my tummy hurts“….then often skips off to play.  But other times we find her in her bed at odd times of the day curled up in a ball from a ‘tummy ache’.
We’ve tried to monitor if it is consistent with being hungry…or having a full stomach…or certain times of days….and have found no consistencies.

For a long time, we passed it off thinking it could just be her getting used to a new diet here (however in careful hindsight, we think this all started shortly before we left the States).

About two weeks ago, I took her to the doctor ‘just to be on the safe side’ and have her checked.  We were referred to a pediatric GI specialist who began with putting her on antacids for a week to rule out acid causing the pain.  When we returned later with no relief from the pain, she ran a full blood work up, ultrasound and CAT scan to take a look at stomach, pancreas, kidney, liver, etc.

We got a call 24 hours later that her bloodwork had come back “abnormal” and they were running some more tests on it.  When I asked what “abnormal” meant, the doctor didnt want to tell me over the phone, but said she’d explain at a consultation the next day.
Im still not sure if this was because of the language barrier or because of the content. but it made me nervous!

As we met with the doctor the next day, she explained several alarming findings…
Izzy’s stomach (even after fasting for 16 hours before her ultrasound) was found to be 5 times the normal size!
She then explained that her bloodwork revealed a very elevated eosinophil count (normal is 4 – hers was 28)
The doctor offered a number of explanations for this:
1) parasites
2) food allergies
3) Infection or inflammation of GI track
4) Chrones disease
5) Malignancy

She proposed 2 weeks of aggressive broad spectrum anti-parisite treatment.  Altho Izzy’s stool samples tested negative, we are told parasites can be very hard to detect and this is the easiest thing to rule out with antibiotic treatment.  We are praying that this is all that it is and that we dont have to wade down that list of possible explanations.  You dont have to google “high eosinophil count” for very long to draw some scary conclusions!

Izzy is also on anti-nausea meds as we were told that the anti-parasite treatment would likely make her very sick.  Thankfully, we are half way through treatment and she hasnt had to deal with any nausea yet – thank you Jesus!!  We go back next Monday for more bloodwork to see if there has been any improvement.  If not, we will proceed with colonoscopy and endoscopy taking biopsies of her stomach.

I just have to give you a little snapshot of our Isabelle as you pray for our precious girl…….

My mother referrs to her as “sunshine personified”.
She is indeed a little ray of sunshine wherever she goes.  She is our little “Pollyana”, always looking at the bright side.  Always finding the positive.  Always!!
We’ve had some recent discussions as a family about the homeless people here and how its better to give them a cold drink or get them something to eat rather than giving them money.
Izzy has apparently been listening to the discussions with the older kids…..

She was packing her purse the other day to go out somewhere with me.  She came up to show me with the biggest smile on her freckled face….”Look mommy, I know you said we can give things to the homeless people to help make them happy, so I packed all my glitter stickers to pass out to them today when we see them“.
I didnt have the heart to tell her no.  This is what she had to give.
A selfless gesture.
Can you just picture this child sprinkling florescent glitter stickers on unassuming bums on the dirty street corners of Bangkok?

No parent wants to see their child go through painful procedures, blood draws and meds that make them queazy.  This child just takes it in stride tho with such grace!  C and I often laugh that her sweet-spirited disposition did not come from either of us.  Which perhaps makes me even more sad to think of her undergoing so much and dealing with daily pain.  Will you please join us in praying for relief…..for the doctors to be able to discern whats going on….and most of all, for God to be glorified in her sweet little life!?!?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there–

    I am not sure if there is a correlation between eosinophils in the blood/eosinophils in the stomach/esophagus. Has anyone mentioned eosinophilic esophagitis (or in the stomach)?

    My son has EE–has tummy aches often. His is only located in the esophagus–but it can also be in the stomach.

    Just a thought…

  • Julie says:

    Yes, Mandy. I will be praying for her! What a sweet, precious little girl you have.

  • Faith Mahoney says:

    Sunshine Personified is exactly right. Add in gracious and selfless and you’ve got your sweet Izzy girl. You know I’m praying for your sweet sunshine. Love you all!

  • Will definitely pray!

  • cici says:

    Little Isabelle is hugged in Prayer.
    Prayers for you too as this is so very hard on Momma.
    Please keep us posted as we Pray for her healing.

  • Helen Kurtz says:

    Sending prayers and positive thoughts for sweet Izzy. Hope the doctor finds out the culprit soon. Big hugs to you all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Honored to be praying for you all…

  • Poor Izzy!!

    We’ll be praying!

  • Jessica says:

    Praying Mandy! Love you all!!!

  • SarahB says:

    Hello, I found you through following a comment a friend made on Facebook. My daughter has similar symptoms and similar odd bloodwork. We still haven’t figured out exactly what is going on with her (eosinophilic esophagitis is still a consideration, can be diagnosed only through endoscopy with biopsies). The best thing we’ve done is carefully watch her diet. Do a food and symptom journal and write everything down. It is a lot of work but made it clear that a handful of foods were causing definite symptoms. I hope your little sweetie feels better soon!

  • Tracy says:

    I’m so sorry. I’m not sure how I found your blog, but wanted to let you know to check for Celiac. It sounds like how my daughter started out. It’s a simple blood test looking for Gluten levels. Do keep a food journal and ask check her for this to rule out. Maybe you can google it and see if you think they are the same symptoms?
    Keeping her and all of you in our prayers.

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  • Donna says:

    Will certainly be praying for her Mandy, but I’m betting on the parasite treatment working. Good Luck and God’s blessings!!

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    Hi, I haven’t written on your blog before but we at LMEC fell in love with your beautiful family from the very first time we met. Have been praying for your family as you left the states. Now this with little Izzy. We will surely pray for her. Patrick is now our fulltime pastor as Noble retired. Luv your blog site. Caris

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