Jake went to the pediatrician several times in the following weeks and she recommended we take him to a psychiatrist. She diagnosed him with depression. Then, almost over night, he developed a type of speech disorder similar to stuttering called "blocking". His brain knew what he wanted to say, but he could not get the words out. The pediatrician immediately had Jake get an MRI of his brain and a full neurological exam. All test results came back "normal". We knew he was acutely ill, we just weren't sure what was causing his symptoms. We continued to seek out several other doctors and had blood work done to test for various illnesses.
By November 2012 Jake was unable to attend school anymore because of his anxiety, inability to communicate verbally and difficulty focusing in classes. He began Home Hospital Teaching even though he was still unable to focus, give verbal responses or do homework. Some days he was not even able to write his name.
In early December Jake was finally diagnosed with P.A.N.D.A.S., (Pediatric Autoimmune Neurospychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus). P.A.N.D.A.S. is an autoimmune disorder triggered by strep throat (or other bacteria or viruses). When a child is exposed to an illness their autoimmune system releases antibodies to fight the infection. For Jake, his antibodies attacked his brain (the basal ganglia) inflaming it. This causes him to have severe psychiatric symptoms as well as neurological symptoms.
One of the most effective treatments for P.A.N.D.A.S. is intravenous immunoglobulin, (IVIG). IVIG is a plasma product containing the antibodies from thousands of donors given to a patient intravenously. Unfortunately, the treatment is very expensive (about $10,000) and our insurance company will not pay for it because it is considered "experimental". It is possible that Jake will need several treatments to help correct his immune system and prevent his antibodies from attacking his brain and causing years of debilitating neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Any amount of money you can donate is greatly appreciated. All donations will be used for Jake's IVIG treatments and medical bills. If we raise more money than needed for his treatment excess money will be donated it to another sick child with P.A.N.D.A.S. who cannot afford IVIG treatment. Please note that your donations are not tax deductible.
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