Hello everyone! I am finally discharged from the hospital and can stay in the comfort of my own home! From here on out it will be nothing but aggressive rehab. It is important that I keep myself active. I can perform most things on my own but I am thankful to have Jacob and my family always there to assist me when needed. I will continue this until it is time for me to have reconstructive surgery. The doctor tells me that he will be able to tell when this will be by how the skin is at the site. The skin should be loose to the point to where you can pinch and pick it up. From 3 to 9 months is the time range it could take for this to happen. I know the time will come sooner than it seems. Everyday I continue to grow stronger and I cannot thank my family and all of you enough. Thank you for continuing to pray and all of the donations! <333
Ivana came home for a few days on Friday. She returned to the hospital today for a skin graft to the wound on her stomach. That surgery went well. She cannot feel pain to this area, but the donor site (left upper leg) is very painful. She will remain in the hospital for five days to ensure that the graft takes without any difficulties. If all goes well, she will be released on Saturday. This will be the last surgery for a while. She will continue with her biliary drain and her stoma for tube feedings. The plan is to let the scar tissue mature. It is dangerous at this time to continue with reattaching her intestines. She will be having a this surgery in 6-8 months, maybe even 1 year. I have faith that this surgery will come sooner than later...God willing.
Ivana is getting stronger every day. She continues to be optimistic and very motivated. She is very compliant with her treatments. When she is home, she has to have medications and bile replacements every so often. Jacob (Ivana's boyfriend) has been very helpful with all of this. I appreciate him so much. He is an amazing young man. I cannot thank God enough for placing him in our lives.
You all have been very encouraging and very supportive. Thank you!
Thank you so much for the generous donation, the prayers, and encouraging words. Thanks to all of you who have donated. We will be able to pay for 3 months of feedings for Ivana. She requires a special formula called Vivonex RTF. Ivana requires 2000 ounces to maintain her nutritional status, which is roughly $1650 a month. They changed her wound vac to her stomach yesterday. Her intestines are no longer exposed and she will soon be ready for a skin graft to cover the opening. This is due to this formula! The doctors say that she will need to have the tube feedings for six to eight months until she has fully matured and healed before they can reattach her stomach to her small bowel. Continuing her feedings will be possible thanks to you all!
She did not get to go home today because her biliary drain came out, but they are fixing that right now. they may discharge her for a day or two tomorrow. A skin graft is still planned for friday.
We just want you all to know that we are grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives. God bless you all.
I realize that life is precious and it is important to live each day as if it were your last. Love the people around you and do not take anything for granted...esp the precious life God has given us!
Hey everyone! I have good news. I get to go home tomorrow! It will only be for a few days though because Friday I have to come back for my skin graph to close my stomach. After the surgery I will be in the hospital for another week or two to heal. Other than that, I will continue as planned with the home healthcare nurse and my room will temporarily be 'hospitalized'. My machines and other equipment will be mailed to my house and set up for me. While all of this is great news, the insurance doesn't cover my required tube feedings (which alone cost 1600 dollars a month over 6-8 months) or other various home necessities I will need to recover. Unfortunately because the machines, tube feedings, and medicine will have to be maintained over several months, my mom is going to be forced to auction off some of her jewelry and personal items to compensate. You guys are more than welcome to purchase any of her auctions. I want everyone to know that donations are still deeply appreciated and once again I want to thank you all so much for the help and support.
I am finally in my new room! They moved me from the SICU to the PICU (pediatric ICU). I also got an awesome new bed. It really helps with the back pain I was accumulating from laying down for so long. Each day I am able to walk and move around more and more. As of today, I have been here for exactly 1 month. I have a lot of good news though! They did another dressing change and the doctors were extremely pleased. Monday they will change it out again and as long as everything continues to progress, the doctors said I could be going home in a week or two! Although a full recovery is still months away, getting to go home is a huge step in the right direction. I will require a home health care nurse who will stop by a few days out of the week to make sure everything is okay. Unfortunately I will not be able to eat anything for several months and the tube feeds will continue as planned. Today the doctors are going to reposition my stoma and fasten it securely. After they get done with that, I'm going to take a ride in the wheelchair! It will be really refreshing to get outside for the first time since I've been here. I cannot thank you guys enough for the support and prayers. It really means a lot to me.
Today I was able to get out of bed and walk around my room with help several times! They removed my central line and replaced it with two IVs in my arms. I'm now down to 1 tube running from my stomach, the stoma, and a womb vac. They have taken me off of the TPN and I am now getting a full dose of feeding from the tube that runs to my stoma. The talks about moving me to a new room have increased and hopefully it happens within the next 48 hours! The road to recovery is still a really long one but I am making good progress. Originally when I was admitted my nutritional level was a 2, now it's up to 23! The doctors are really pleased and one of them even mentioned that my nutritional level is probably higher than his is right now. The thyroid team came in today and once again upped my dose so now my mood should improve even more. Little by little I am getting closer to being my normal self again. Please continue to pray and thank you all so much for the help and support. I will post another update in a couple of days.
Hey guys, I just wanted to start off by thanking everyone who is still continuing to pray and support me while I recover from this. A lot of good things have happened over the past few days. I got my NG tube (the tube running through my nose to my stomach) removed, all three of my chest tubes are now also removed and I received a new bed today! They started me on a feeding tube which they connected to the stoma on my side. I am no longer leaking from my stoma and seem to be taking the feedings extremely well! The doctors tell me that I am doing better everyday and to keep up the good work. Currently they are talking about moving me from the Surgical ICU to the Pediatric ICU to give me a more suitable environment. Other than some lower back pain from being in bed for so long, I can't complain. I am fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who has given up everything to be here with me everyday and it truly amazes me how someone can dedicate themselves to one person like he has to me. Thank you so much Jacob, I love you with all my heart.
I will try my best to update more often, things have just been really busy. I cannot thank everyone enough for the help and support. Please continue to pray for me and hopefully I will be up and walking around soon!
An update from Ivana herself.....
Yesterday my wonderful family came to visit me and it was just the boost I needed. Im so thankful to have such an amazing support group of people who love me and hold daily prayers.
I no longer have to have oxygen t hep me breathe and they might take out two chest tubes today! That way I will be able to walk around, hopefully.
The doctors are having a harder time keeping my stoma from draining so that i can be fed, so if you guys could pray for that thank you and I love you all
My vital signs have been stable! Including my temperature! I guess the whole problem was all the fluid in my lung cavity. They still have not started the feedings. The stoma is not cooperating, so the plan is to consult interventional radiology today, so that they can work their magic. I am also going to have another wash-out today. I still have the 3 chest tubes, which, are working fabulously! This I'm sure the whole lung thing is a big part of why I was not healing properly.
I have lost a lot of weight! I am no longer puffy due to all the fluids. I am still getting some nutrition through my IV, but that is not enough. They are starting to let me sip on water and gatorade. That all comes out anyway through the tube that is pumping my stomach, but it feels so "refreshing."
Please continue to pray for me and please know that I appreciate all the donations. God will bless you twice as much! We are so grateful to have wonderful people in our lives!
I continue with my 3 chest tubes. I still have a fever, but I guess that is part of being septic. My breathing is still fast, but I am breathing on my own with only the help of a little oxygen. My blood pressure is perfect. I have now developed c-diff, so I have a rectal tube again. My family and the nurses have to wear a gown and gloves when they are in my room. That calls for another antibiotic...through the rectal tube, this time! C-diff is common and can happen when someone is taking a lot of antibiotics and it throws off the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
I am now allowed to sip on water and have mints, but since I still have the suction tube in my stomach, it all comes out. They tried to feed me through the stoma in my stomach, but it didn't work to good, it would just leak out of the stoma, so that is now put on hold. My pain is tolerable on a morphine PCA. I have been off of the fentanly drip for 2 days now!
This is the second day I have been able to sit in a recliner.
Please continue to pray for me...for God is in control.
Yesterday was a scary day for me. I was extubated (breathing tube removed) and at first it felt so good to be able to take deep breaths without a tube in my lungs, but then it didn't feel so good and I could not stop breathing fast. The doctors noticed that my left lung was not expanding like the right one, and my breath sounds were not there. An x-ray revealed a collapsed lung. The first thought was a mucous plug, so they went into my lung to try to suction it out. They did remove secretions, but my respirations were still fast. Then I was sent for a CT, which revealed that the cause of the collapsed lung was fluid, a lot of fluid. That CT also revealed fluid on the right side.
This morning I am so sleepy. My respirations have improved a lot thanks to three chest tubes! Do you guys remember the lingering fevers.....yeah well, those have been more stable now that the chest tubes were placed. The doctor sent fluid to see if there is bacteria. He is pretty confident that there will be a positive culture result of the fluid.
The staff here say that I am a VERY STRONG GIRL.
They went into my stomach this morning and the doctors say that the drains and the stoma are looking the way they should look, so today they will start me on tube feedings through the stoma. They are also going to sit me up in the chair today. That is going to be tricky with an open stomach and drains every where. My back has been hurting from laying in this bed, so I am excited about that.
I want to thank all of you for the prayers, words of encouragement, and for all the generous donations. The doctors say that it will be months even up to a year for a full recovery.
Today, was very uneventful for me. The doctors are working hard to determine the cause of all of this. No body knows where the infection originated at. So, they have requested past medical records from everywhere. They are determined to find the reason why this all happened. Yesterday, the doctors told my family that it was going to be months-yr before I fully recover. They did not start my feeding today. I am not sure what the plan will be tomorrow. There will not be anymore surgeries as of right now. The goal is to get my nutrition up a. To figure out the cause, then we can resume with surgery again. Please continue to pray.
Sorry I did not post much earlier...was just too emotional.
The doctors say that Ivana's nutritional state is not where it should be. This is an issue, and is preventing Ivana from healing. The site of her stomach resection looks as if it was recently cut with no signs of re-attaching itself. She had leaking again! So now, options are limited. They went into her stomach to attach a drain to catch the bile from her gallbladder, and re-directed her small intestine to the surface of her stomach (stoma). they are going to start feeding Ivana through this opening to see if it will help increase her nutritional state. The bile that is being collected will also be put back into her gut in order to help her stomach absorb the feedings. Her stomach is going to have to remain open and the plan is to let it heal and close on it's own (primary intention) due to her nutritional state, with possible plans for a graft to her stomach in the future. They are going to consult an immunologist from Wolfson's to see if they can help find a reason why she is expelling too much protein and why she is not healing correctly.
Ivana had tears when she returned from surgery. She knows that she was not closed today, but she is not aware of the other stuff. She says she's not scared, but has moments where she says she is tired from all of this. She is requiring more pain medication now too due to the pain. She continues on the ventilator. My poor baby girl.
This is very hard, but I still have a good feeling about all of this.
Surgery did not go as planned. This is a very sad day for us.
After my wash-out this morning I had a fever of 103-104. They started me on more antibiotics. The plan for tomorrow has not changed. After my surgery tomorrow they are going to try to sit me up in the chair. I got a little discouraged today and my mom had to slap some sense into me (not literally).
Please, please pray that everything goes well and that my surgery is a success, because only God has control of this situation.
Who would've thought that little bugs (bacteria) can cause so much damage?!
The doctor just came in to tell me that the fluid in Ivana's stomach is minimal, and the plan to close her continues! He said the resection looks better. It is not completely the way they want it, but hopefully tomorrow it will look better and they can go ahead and close her up. This is really good news.
He says we still have a long journey.
Please continue to pray that tomorrow things look better, and continue to pray for the whole treatment team caring for my little girl. I am at peace knowing that God has total control of this situation!
One thing I did not post in my last update was that the doctor asked Ivana how she would feel about the scar on her stomach and she answered, " that it would not bother her." It makes me happy to know that my little girl is not scared and that she sees her scars as part of who she is.
Thank you so much!
Apologies for not posting an update yesterday.
Ivana did not experience the sickness that is usually expected after a stomach leak. Her doctors were very impressed with her condition over the weekend.
Yesterday, was a very emotional day for Ivana. Her friends and her teachers came to visit and it made her cry due to the joy of seeing them. Crying while intubated is not a fun thing. Infact, it was very scary seeing her choke and trying to gasp for air. She did get overwhelmed so we had to stop the visitations. She was upset about that, but we assured her that they would come back.
The plan today is for another wash-out and to assess the situation with her intestines. Maybe, the doctors can close her stomach tomorrow! Please continue to pray that this time things look good in her stomach.
She still continues with low grade fevers, but they are treating that with toradol. A concern for the fevers could be due to her stomach or to her lungs building up gunk due to being intubated. So, they are going to look at her lungs with a scope agian.
Overall, she looks better. Please continue to pray. This will be a long journey, but I have faith that she have a full recovery.
Thank you very much for all of your support!
I am so appreciative!
Some more friends.
Encouraging banner from my schoolmates.
My friend Jennifer, Rachel, and BF Jacob came to visit.
I had a very good day today. My temperature maintained at 101.4-101.8 all day. My vital signs were stable. I was awake and communicating with hand signals and mouthing words, boy was that frustrating. I had so many visitors today and was very exhausted towards the end.
The wash-out of my stomach was done kind of late this afternoon. The doctors say that it looks good and he did not see any more leaking. He said he could see a little scar tissue, which is good considering my condition. I am peeing a lot of protein in my urine and that makes for a difficult healing. I am getting that replaced every 6 hours through my IV. They also started me on nutrition called TPN and Lipids through my IV tonight. My stomach is still open and the plan is to close me up soon, so that my muscles do not retract.
My breathing was good. I am still intubated, but I was breathing on my own. The ventilator just helped me push more air into my lungs. The swelling in my body has decreased a little. Overall, I did a good job. I am still in critical condition, so please continue to pray for me.
I have good news! Today I was baptized and I was blessed in my hospital bed. The priest asked me if I was scared and I said, "no."
My mom showed me all the messages and the donations from all of you and it made me cry...I had happy tears.
My schoolmates also brought me a giant banner that all the seniors signed and I put it up in my room. I was very happy to read the messages.
Thank you all!
I will post pics very soon.
Do you guys remember my fevers? Well, it appears that my stomach was leaking from the resection I had of my stomach on Tuesday. Now, I am dealing with a contaminated, infected stomach. I had another resection today. I am more awake and I am very uncomfortable. The doctors are concerned about my nutritional state. Tomorrow I will start on IV nutrition since the feeding to my stomach did not work. I realize now that this is going to be a roller coaster ride of moving forward and moving backwards. Today, I continue with the tears.
Please continue to pray for me!
I would like to thank everyone for your donations! I am overwhelmed with emotion due to the support you guys have given us. I cannot explain how scary it is to have my child laying in bed critically sick. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever endured.
After my daughter gets well, I am going to make a pledge to donate $50-100. a paycheck to random people on this website who are having medical emergencies or hardships. I am so moved by the generosity you all have displayed. God will bless you all for your relentless generosity...you will see! Thank you... Leticia (Marie)
Things did not go as planned today. The doctors decided to close my muscles tomorrow. They wanted to look and wash my stomach one more time to be on the safe side. I was tolerating the feedings up until a few hours ago. I also have a temperature again.
I was diagnosed with severe septic shock due to an infection in my abdominal cavity. The reason for this infection is still a mystery. They have ruled out so many things. Originally it was believed to have been due to a GYN issue, but that is not the case anymore. The cause is still unknown, but the doctors are determined to find a cause. Hematology and Nephrology experts are also part of the team now. They are running tests, many tests.
On several occasions, I was restless and tears rolled down my cheeks :(
Well, the plan is to close my muscles tomorrow and to try to get me off the ventilator before I develop pneumonia, which is a big risk factor to being on the ventilator, and I don't think that I need another infection.
Today was a very good day! My vital signs were stable all day. I did not have a temperature, and my cheeks were pink!
They did another washout, and examined my stomach for the surgery I had yesterday. The doctors say that things look better in there, not completely the way they should, but good enough to put my muscles back together tomorrow. My skin will stay open, just incase, and it will probably be completely closed on Friday. The plan for tomorrow will be to wean me off the ventilator and the fentanyl. If my breathing is good, I can be extubated, and they will wake me up. I will probably be completely awake on Friday.
The cause of my infection is still unknown. I am not completely out of the woods yet, but I am doing better. The doctor adjusted my feeding tube and the suction tube and I am tolerating feedings now...thank you Jesus!
The doctor asked if I was taking anything for weight loss, such as, supplements or shakes?! So, tomorrow my mom is to bring in all my herbalife and visalas for examination of ingredients!
I have included another picture with my pink cheeks!
My vital signs were stable, stable enough to stop the last blood pressure medication. I had a blood transfusion this morning, so I think that really helped me out. The doctors went in my stomach to wash it out, but they discovered that I had to have surgery to have a small part of my small intestine removed. The surgery went well and my vital signs continue stable. The plan is to start the feedings through the tube in my stomach again. We will see if I can tolerate it this time. I continue with the antibiotics. Other than the surgery, my condition is the same as yesterday, but at least I am not going backwards. I will be a slow process, but a full recovery is not far away.
They have isolated the two bacteria that have caused this whole ordeal. The infectious disease experts are now following my care as well. They have changed all of my antibiotics that will target these two little bugs that have caused a painful situation for everyone. Again, the doctors say that I am young and I will recover. I continue on one blood pressure medication that will probably be discontinued tomorrow. They have stopped my feedings for now due to an ileus (small obstruction).
My mom and aunt, Sandy have given me the best bed bath ever! My hair is braided, my skin is soft, and I smell so good! My friends also visited me today. I am attaching another photo!
This is the picture Ivana texted me the morning before she was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
The doctors say Ivana is doing better. We continue with the baby steps, but the nurses here have a saying, "one step forward, two steps back." With that said, she has a low grade fever, her kidneys are not producing enough urine, and she is puffy all over due to flood in her tissues. Her blood pressure is still low, but now she is on one blood pressure medication versus 3! She is does open her eyes to stimulation, but cannot yet follow commands. Please continue praying for my little girl. God will bless you all for your selflessness donations!
Today was a better day for me. I had another wash-out of my stomach. They will continue with another one tomorrow. My blood pressure is still being stubborn, but that is being taken care by medications. my heart rate is in the 80s compared to 130-140s bpm. I did not have a temperature all day. I am still sedated and intubated. They have started feeding me through a tube today. The doctors say that I am doing a lot better compared to yesterday. I am starting to respond to the treatments, which makes everyone happy, esp. my mom! I have included a picture.
I want to thank all of you for your generous donations! It means so much for my family.
This evening I had surgery. They removed my appendix, the omentum (lining of the stomach), and irrigated and cleaned everything out. My stomach remains open for future cleanings. I am still heavily sedated and intubated. My blood pressure is not cooperating with the plan, so I resume on medications to keep it up to a desirable level. On the flip-side, my temperature has remained stable at 98 compared to 103. The plan is to have another surgery tomorrow.
Let me start by saying that I am going to be a
nurse one day. I am extremely
compassionate and caring. Anyone who
knows me can tell you that I will do anything and everything for those who need
help. My goal is to become a nurse one
day. That goal has been sidetracked by a
series of unfortunate events.
My Name is Ivana, a 17-year-old high
school senior that has been accepted into Georgia Southern University for the
fall semester 2013.
Here is my story; I was diagnosed with
thyroid cancer when I was 13, two years later that cancer spread to the lymph
nodes in my neck. I had surgery in December 2011 to have the infected
nodes in my neck removed. After the
surgery, things were going so good for me until now. I am currently intubated at a hospital in
Jacksonville, Florida for sepsis. Yes, I
developed a mystery infection in my stomach that has drastically put a setback
in my future plans. I have had multiple surgeries to wash out the infection,
and I lay in bed with an open stomach. I am on an array of antibiotics and medications
to control my blood pressure, and soon I will be on continuous renal
replacement therapy to help my kidneys, which have been affected by my blood
Everyday that I lay in bed sedated, I lose muscle
tone. I am also at high risk for
pressure sores. My mom has been at my
bedside turning me and providing movement to my arms and my legs. My situation is very critical, however the
doctors say that I am young and I have a big chance for a full recovery. They say that it will be at least a week
before I am taken off the ventilator, and a month or two before I am completely
well and ready to resume my goal to become a nurse.
I am asking for a small donation to off set medical bills. Prayer and words of encouragement are also
requested. Thank you in advance for your
help! I will keep you posted of my