Friday, February 15, 2013

Maximized Living

Spencer has Pulmonary Hypertension. According to Hopkins Pulmonary hypertension - Increased pressures within the blood vessels in the lungs that can lead to difficulty breathing and right-sided heart failure.

Spencer had his Cardiology check-up at the end of August 2012. I expected a progress report. What I didn't expect was for our Cardiologist to recommend a heart catheter! I was terrified. I was in tears. They had kept telling us we'd keep an eye on Spencer's Pulmonary Hypertension. Never did they suggest that this might be coming!

This was not a "lets consider this" kind of suggestion. Our cardiologist was going to present his recommendation along with Spencer's file to the lead doctor to get his decision on it. (He would also be the doctor doing the procedure.) We were to return in two weeks for the decision.

Almost a week later, I attended the Improving Birth Rally. I got to see my birth instructor, my doula and my placenta lady. This is also when I met...

Wendy and Dr. Jannell Zimmerman of Sowing Wellness

I didn't even have Wendy scan Spencer. I was sold. There was a good chance that chiropractic treatment could help Spencer's heart. There were other chiropractors there that day, but I felt really excited about Sowing Wellness and booked our appointment (for 2 days later) on the spot!

Spencer had his first appointment (and scan) with Dr. Jannell.

Spencer's initial scan was the worst they had ever seen in a baby his age. They suspected birth trauma, but he had a very easy birth. We started care immediately, 3 times per week. Dr. Jannell especially focused on the areas that help Spencer's heart, bowel movements, and later his left foot.

Dr. Jannell is a Maximized Living doctor. The idea, in our case, was to make sure the nerves that feed information to/from the heart were free to communicate to the brain. If your body can't tell your brain something is wrong, your body doesn't know to heal itself. (Yes, I said heal itself.)

A week later, we went back to the cardiologist for the decision. The lead doctor agreed - Spencer needed a heart catheter to determine the exact amount of pressure and to find the source of the problem. I tried to push the procedure out as far as I could so that Dr. Jannell could have time to "work her magic." Our cardiologist didn't believe it could have any effect whatsoever on Spencer's hypertension, but agreed to letting us schedule 1 month out.

I also made a special request to check Spencer's pressure again before the procedure. This is not common practice, but our cardiologist was happy to go with mother's intuition / request. So the plan was to check it on a Friday, meet the lead doctor on Monday, then have the procedure on Tuesday. (They would be going in through Spencer's thigh and feeding a tiny camera up to his heart.)

You can see a side-by-side comparison here.
This was just 2 short weeks later.

One month later, it was time to return to the cardiologist. I was nervous. I can not recall some of the technical terms he used, but the gist was: Whatever it is they measure, the right side of Spencer's heart measured 3.0 (per second?) at the September appointment. That equals about 40-42 pressure-wise. At this appointment (in October), that same thing measured 2.8, which equals about 32-34 pressure-wise.

The cardiologist didn't see it as a huge drop, but admitted that it was big considering the amount of time in which that drop happened. Over 30 is too high. He gave us until December to keep it dropping. He thinks we'll still need the heart catheter eventually, but would like to put it off as long as we're seeing progress.

We scheduled to check again in December. Spencer was sick at that time, though. Cardiology departments (or at least this one) do not allow sick people! We had to reschedule for January. At that appointment, Spencer's pressure was unchanged. This was still seen as good news because it is maintaining (not rising).

The doctor still wants to keep a close eye on the pressure. If it does not improve by the time Spencer turns 2-ish, he'll be stuck with Pulmonary Hypertension for life. Because of this, a decision needs to be made by about 18 months if we're going to repair his Atrial Septal Defect (hole in his heart).

Wait, what? Yes, they are no longer recommending a "look and see" procedure. Now they're talking about actual repair. We'll go back again in April. At that time, I plan to ask for a measurement of the hole, if they have one. Also whether this would still be through the thigh or if they want to do open heart surgery. Repair of Atrial Septal Defects can be done both ways. Spencer will be 14 months old in April.

Spencer got scanned again in mid-January
Holy cow, look at that progress!

And so... we love Dr. J! We love Maximized Living, which is much more than just chiropractic. Spencer is, as of writing this post, still seeing her twice per week.

Do you see a chiropractor or other naturopath?
Do your kids?
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