Thursday, September 28, 2006


Osteomyelitis....Shepherd's story

On August 15th 2005, Chad and my world was rocked. A week after we had moved to Savannah, Shepherd woke up on a Monday morning and after I changed his diaper, I placed him on the floor so that he could run to the living room...but as soon as his feet touched the floor, his knees buckled and he fell. He instantly started crying and his eyes told me he was experiencing pain. Call it "mother's intuition" but I knew instantly that something was seriousely wrong. This went on for 2 days, and on the second day he woke up with a fever. At this point, I was very scared. I called probably 8 different pediatricians, and nobody was willing to see him due to the fact that in Savannah, there's a rule about medical care - your first visit has to be a "well visit"...and since Shepherd was already sick, nobody would treat him. On the third day, I drove to a pediatricians office and demanded they see my son - one doctor out of a practice of 10 doctors was willing to see him - and this doctor told me Shepherd had a virus and that it would run it's course in a few days...he claimed Shepherd wasn't walking due to the achiness he was feeling. By the grace of God, Chad and I are beginning to forgive this doctor. I went home frustrated, worried and scared for my son, but felt there was nothing else I could do. The next day, Shepherd's fever spiked to 104 and he was now unable to crawl (he did not walk again after this day for nearly 2 months)...I rushed him to the E.R. and the doctors took him back immediately when they saw the condition he was in. After a series of tests (x-rays, an M.R.I. a series of blood work and a catheter), Shepherd was so weak that they admitted him in to the hospital to wait for the results of the test. I slept in the hospital crib with him that night - I wanted so desperately to take his pain away and I thought that somehow if I was close enough to him, I could relieve his burdens. We had several scares that night due to his fever continuing to elevate and at that point, I felt it couldn't get any worse. The morning came and the doctor that was making the rounds came in and said we could go home - at this point, Chad and I were both furious. Our son we felt was battling life, and they wanted to send us home?!! But, how can you argue with a medical professional? He told us to come to his office the next day because the results of all the bloodwork would be in by then. We went home, nursed our sick child and prayed that God would give us answers...the next day we got them. The bloodwork showed Shepherd had developed a Staph infection (which was caused by the eczema behind his left knee getting infected)- and based on the fact that Shepherd wasn't walking, our new pediatrician was very concerned he had developed a very rare bone disease called Osteomyelitis. They immediately admitted him back in to the hospital, and you would think at this point Chad and I would have realized the seriousness of our situation, but it wasn't until a pediatric orthopedic doctor along with an infectious disease specialist was waiting for us in our room that we both realized our son was facing possible lifelong problems.
I want to stop here and just say thank you to everyone who prayed for us, called us and sent letters of encouragement during this time. Chad and I felt so alone, scared and powerless and the encouragement we received from our friends and family truly carried us through that awful time.
Shepherd was in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks - he couldn't go anywhere without an i.v. pole and was daily having tests that required him to be put to sleep - which any parent who has experienced this knows is terrifying. We learned SO much about his character, strength and attitude during this time of his life. He was the happiest child throughout it all, hardly ever crying and he truly made the best out of his situation! The day they told us he was going to require a Broviac (an i.v. that goes in to a valve next to his heart) was a day I will never forget. They performed the surgery and then the nurses came in to show me how to medicate my son by myself - because we were going home in a few days. The nurses were very clear about the fact that if this was done wrong, Shepherd could be injured - and since the vein was right next to his heart, it had to be done correctly. The nurses also said he could not fall, or be hit on his chest or it could damage his heart. He also could not take a bath until the Broviac was removed (this was really rough!).
Since we came home from the hospital a year ago, Shepherd has received numerous x-rays and 2 M.R.I.'s to determine the severity of the hole in his knee...as well as any progress that his leg is having. There was one x-ray a while back that gave us a huge scare and we were told Shepherd may face a life of deformity. Because his hole is in his growth plate, the doctor told us that we needed to be prepared for his left leg to either stop growing, or for it to continue to grow but in a bizarre angle/direction. The last M.R.I. showed that his knee is building new bone inside the hole and that his chances of having a normal life are very likely. Because of the positive news, we now only have to have x-rays every 6 months and this will continue till he is in his mid-teens (as long as nothing goes wrong).

I know this was really long, but I wanted to give you the details so that none of you will forget the seriousness of his situation and that you all will continue to pray for his continued improvement. Although he looks perfectly healthy and whole (which we praise God for!), he still has eczema behind his knee, which is a daily reminder to us of his condition. He has another series of x-rays coming up next month - please pray specifically that new bone is filling in the hole! Thanks again for your prayers and for taking the time to read about our son!

18 comments:

Jenny said...

Lindsey, thanks for sharing this story! It makes me wish I could have been with Shepherd more during that time...he really is an amazing little boy!
Just about everyone I ran into at Harding this past weekend asked about him, so I think there are still many prayers going up!
Give both the kids of hug from me--love you all!
Aunt Jenny

Lindsey said...

Jenny - I had no idea you were at Harding last week - Chad doesn't tell me anything!! I hope you had fun and can't wait to hear more about it on Sunday!

Jenny said...

Lindsey, Chad may not have known it, either, now that I think about it..... :-)
I'll tell you all about it Sunday! Searcy is still Searcy, but there are a few changes.....

The Siegel Family said...

So thankful Shepherd is continuing to be healthy!
Jenny, we didn't know you were in Searcy, either??????
Love,
Teresa

Hicks Family said...

I hope this is not a duplicate, I just wrote a comment and my computer spazed...
but, as I dry my eyes from reading your entry I just want to say how thankful to God I am that he gave Shepherd such a wonderful mommy and daddy. I know you guys felt helpless but you just pressed on and kept praying. You are such a trooper and I thank God that he is back to his normal self.
I also pray that he will continue onthe path of health.
I love you guys and can't wait to see you on Sunday! Yippee!

Lindsey said...

Melissa - Sorry, we didn't mean to make you cry! Honestly though, Chad and I were crying this morning as we thought back to everything Shep has gone through. To think of how far he's come since his illness makes us so optimistic of his future - we know God is going to use him in a mighty way - and we pray God will use us to help other families who experience illness.

Jennifer Baber said...

I am so thankful that Shepherd is doing so much better. He is a special little boy! I'll continue to keep him in my prayers. It is like I am hearing this story for the first time. I had received your emails and had heard updates from your mom and various people this time last year, but to hear it from you makes me understand more what he and you guys went through. We are studying I Peter in a Bible Study I am in. Peter wrote it to a group of belivers who were going through stuggles and he wanted to give them comfort. He writes about how God is refining those that are going through struggles. I know you have grown throughout all of this.

Linda said...

There aren't many days that go by that I don't think about all that transpired last year at this time, and I thank God each day for the good news we received in July and petition him daily that He will continue to bring about healing for Shepherd. I take such delight in seeing him run and jump (and fly up our stairs) knowing how different things might have been. Seeing first hand what that precious child endured was heart rendering to me, and I am reminded how fragile life can be, and how precious our time together is. Can't wait to see you all Saturday night! Love to you all....Grandma

Jenny said...

Hmmm.....I guess no one knew I was going to Searcy... :-) Sorry about that! I actually went on a whirlwind "reunion" trip with some of my coworkers from Harding--all of the women had started a tradition of going on weekend trips and they invited me to join them on a trip to Branson. It was a lot of fun!

lauren said...

Wow...I had no idea that you all had gone/are going through that! I will definitely be praying for him. My heart aches for you, as I know how hard it is to see your child in any pain...much less this kind of pain. When I read this, I can't help but see how strong you and Chad are and what an encouragement you are to other people. Did you ever go tell those doctors what they had missed??? I'm furious for you!! I know that must have been hard forgiving them. Thanks so much for sharing that story. He's such a beautiful boy, inside and out, and with you and Chad as parents, he will be a stronger person because of it.

Hicks Family said...

I just read my entry and want to clarify that I am glad Shepherd is back to his normal self, not meaning God back to his normal self. I was cracking up reading that...sounded fun to me

Lindsey said...

Melissa - I love you! ;)

Kimberly said...

Wow! I can't believe your story! I had no idea! From the pictures he looks like a healthy happy little boy! It sounds like you guys went through so much and that God really took good care of him! I will be praying he continues to do so. Lindsey, this post shows what a sweet and loving mother you are! He is very lucky to have you and Chad as his mommy & daddy!

Hicks Family said...

I can't wait to see you in TWO days. I have to get everything together! We will have so much fun.

Lindsey said...

Lauren - Chad and I have not gone back to this doctor. We were so angry at the entire medical system in Savannah for so long, that we felt it best to just try and let it go rather than acting out of anger and possibly being a poor witness. We've been told by many that we should have sued, however Chad and I don't believe in suing - so that wasn't a possibility for us. After writing this blog, it has brought back a lot of the anger that I thought I'd let go - and I'm thinking maybe it might be good for Chad and I to go have a meeting with this doctor and calmly tell him what happened due to his negligence...we'll have to pray about it for a while first though.

Justin and Shauri said...

Lindsey,
I had no idea you guys had gone through all of that! I can't imagine what you've been through. I'm so glad that you post your thoughts on John and Kelly's website because you truly know exactly how they feel. Our family will pray for Shepherd! Love you! Shauri

Anonymous said...

Linds-
It is always hard to see a child in pain. The Lord has been so gracious to us for answering our prayers on Shep's behalf. I remember our whole church was praying for him when we were up in Ohio. They will be happy to know the update. We will continue to keep him in our prayers along with you and Chad. You have such a beautiful family-thank you for sharing his story.
Sara Jo

Kate said...

I can't imagine! One of my girls has really severe ecxema and we have to keep her medicated all the time to keep it from getting infected. One of the reasons we are so careful with Moriah's ecxema is because of what happened to Shepherd. Maybe this is one good thing that has come from Shepherd's situation--you have possibly helped Moriah to not get the same thing. Never stop sharing his story!