Austin’s Story: What’s going on with my daughter

I was given permission to write a story about what is happening with my almost 3-year-old daughter. She’s been through a lot since last November with on and off stomach issues. We finally got some answers on Labor Day and after two stints in the Children’s Hospital, she will have a major surgery on October 16, which will require us to be there for almost a week.

Here comes my first non-sports story for this website so bare with me.

The story

I guess I’ll be honest with you all up front. Biologically speaking, Peyton is not my child. But I’m the only father she has known since she was a month old. She was the perfect baby for the most part. I came into the relationship with my fiancé, Chelsea, with zero child experience. The fact that Peyton now looks up to me and is turning into a tomboy makes me feel like I did something right.

She’s always been a pretty healthy kid. Besides a few ear infections, an allergy to amoxicillin and slightly underweight, Peyton has been great.

Last November, we were driving up to Appleton, about 45 minutes from our house, Peyton, out of the blue, threw up. She gave us no warning and felt fine right after. That happened again a few days later. We chalked it up to car sick. That used to happen to me all the time growing up.

A week went by just fine. We went to bed Thanksgiving night like any other night. Peyton then woke up at 3:30 a.m. screaming. She’s never done anything like this before. She was yelling “Owie!” I then thought it was a night terror. This went on and on until Chelsea called the nurses hotline at 5:30 in the morning. They told us to take her to the ER right away. We got her into the car, drove 20 minutes to an ER that’s better than the one we have in town and she throws up. By the time the ER staff got us in and looked at her, she was feeling better and wanted to go home.

Thankfully this didn’t happen again until after her two-year checkup in the middle of December. The family doctor wanted us to go and see a GI. I’m not going to spell out what that stands for because it’ll confuse most of you. Basically, a stomach doctor.

We then met with the GI doctor a month later and he prescribes her some medication to help with constipation. He was convinced that she was getting blocked up, causing her discomfort which leads to throwing up. Peyton had one more minor episode in February, but then she went from March through May without having issues.

Chelsea and I thought this was the cure. As long as we gave her MiraLAX every other day, we’ll be good. But then at the beginning of June, it happened again. This time, it went for multiple days. Something that hasn’t happened before. We decided to push the MiraLAX and ex-lax chocolate and thankfully it ran its course without having to go in and fight doctors.

Exactly one month later, it happened again. For multiple days. So we drove her up to the ER 20 minutes away, like clockwork she throws up in the car. We had a hell of a long wait in the ER and by the time we got back there, Peyton wasn’t happy, but she certainly wasn’t fussing.

We basically demanded for an X-ray. The doctors were hesitant because she’s little and wasn’t fussing, but for peace of mind, we wanted it done. Nothing showed up. Chelsea asked about an ultrasound and that’s where they put their foot down. Nothing was accomplished.

Another turn for the worst

That was my summer. Don’t get me wrong, we still did everything we wanted to. Thankfully though she didn’t have any stomach issues while we were on our many mini vacations. This is the part where things start to heat up.

I was gone Labor Day weekend doing my normal thing. I help out a fair close to my hometown. I make some money, don’t get much sleep and do a lot of partying at night. That’s always Chelsea’s weekend to work so Peyton went with our friend down to her friend’s house near Milwaukee.

Chelsea and I packed all the medications that was needed in case she had a stomach attack. But we felt pretty good about her not having one because she hadn’t had one since July. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. The last day Peyton was down there, it happened. They tried every single medication and nothing calmed her down. Our friend then decided it was time to call the ambulance.

We’ve never ever thought about calling an ambulance. And we have done a lot of driving with her screaming in pain. But I can’t thank her enough for doing that. It was scary at first. Chelsea left work and drove one and a half hours down to the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. That’s where they spent many hours doing blood work and the ultrasound that we wanted done in July. Finally, I got the call from Chelsea as I’m still over two hours away at the fair, the doctors are admitting Peyton.

Chelsea was devastated. I felt helpless. She told me that something is wrong with her liver. It’s obviously not a liver failure because nothing else is giving them that sign besides her liver enzymes being up. But something in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas area is upset.

I leave first thing in the morning. They wanted to get a special MRI done. We’re just going to leave it at that. Medical terms can be very confusing. I ran home and packed us clothes because who knew how long we were going to be down there. Luckily her mom went down the night before to be with them.

As soon as I head out, Chelsea calls and said they’re postponing the MRI until the next day because they forgot no one was in due to the Holiday. Then first thing on Tuesday, Peyton gets the MRI done. She has gallstones. Technically speaking they’re bile stones. But we’re going to call them gallstones.

In layman’s terms, there’s a tube that connects the gallbladder to the liver and that was producing stones. Then the wait was on whether she was going to have them removed later that day or Wednesday. There was only one doctor they felt comfortable doing this operation, but he wasn’t part of the Children’s Hospital. It was a separate hospital that is connected to Children’s.

The doctors at Children’s had to jump through a bunch of hoops, but we finally got her transported and she went in just before five. The operation was quick. They removed the stones, but this tube was very swollen. We were told that it was going to have to be removed sometime in her future.

The chances of this actually happening is around 5%. The chances of her developing pancreatitis after the stone removal is less than that. So of course she ended up with it, which delayed our time a couple more days. Meanwhile, we set up consultation for the beginning of October and surgery at the end of November with a Children’s surgeon.

This removal of the stones held off a stomach attack for three weeks. Because we were right back there, in the same room and everything with what we thought was more stones. We repeated the procedure, but only found sludge. We met with the Children’s surgeon the next day and he said this was going to have to be done sooner rather than later. We chose the three-week mark for October 16. Luckily Peyton didn’t get pancreatitis again and we left the day after the sludge removal.

Thank you for following along. 1300 words later and I caught you all up on my life. This turned into one of Matthew Berry’s intro to LOVE/HATE. I appreciate it a lot if you took the time to get to this point.

You can help

Chelsea and I set up a GoFundMe page if you would like to donate. The time off work, meal expense, gas expense and catching up on bills is going to be a killer. If you don’t like sending money online or want to send Peyton a small gift, our PO Box is: PO Box 483 Ripon, WI, 54971. Everything is greatly appreciated, friends.

The GoFundMe and PO Box are set up for those that ask the question, how can I help? Anything you need, just let me know. We’re not expecting a ton of major donations, but anything from anyone helps. I want to be able to focus on being there for Peyton so when we get home, we can get back to our normal life instead of stressing out about bills. And stressing out about paying for meals during our week stay at the Children’s Hospital. Not to mention gas money.

Chelsea and I want our complete focus on Peyton so we can get out, go home and move on with our life. I’m going to miss my time away from all of you. But my little baby comes first. I want to be able to return talking to you all about college sports with a clear mind.

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