As some of you you know, After my sister Christa had my niece a year ago she was diagnosed with a very rare lung condition called Plastic Bronchitis. Plastic bronchitis occurs when lymphatic fluid and inflammatory cells leak into the airway and harden into large, rubbery “casts” that block the airway and cause severe breathing problems. There are only 24 known cases in the world. This really started after complications during her c section with my niece. However, they laid dormant in her body all her life. On top of this very rare condition, during her last surgery they found out that she was born without a thoracic duct. This plays a huge part in her current condition. The condition she has is caused by a leak in her lymphatic system. The lymphatic system runs through most your body and is what carries the white blood cells and fat through your body amongst some other things. Most people have what they call a "dump" where it the fat and white blood cells filter eventually into your body, the dump point is near your right shoulder. The main travel path is through the thoracic duct. They believe what happened with her is that when she was born without this thoracic duct as a baby her body naturally took another one of the much smaller ducts as the main duct, that duct actually travels through her lungs .Then during the complications during her C Section it caused the duct to split. In simpler terms, the best way I can describe what happens is like this. When you cook oil, its warm and flows free, when it gets cold it solidifies. That's what happens to her. The fluid flows through her body and then when it reaches her lungs, it sits in her lung branching with no where else to go so it takes on more of a solid form. Her body then trys to force it out through continued coughing all day long and she coughs out large thick white rubbery consistency chunks called lung casts, sometimes they come out almost the size of her hand. Its very, very painful, leaves her with very little sleep every night and is very hard on her body. The other potential issue with this is that they could get so large that she won’t be able to cough them out and it could potentially kill her due to suffocation. My sister is on several medications, steroids, and a breathing machines to help break them down. Which helps this process.
She is lucky enough to have someone of the best doctors in the country at UW Pulmonary ,one of the top lung centers in the country and people travel from all over the world to be seen by her doctors, Unfortunately her case is still of the rarest kind. Two months ago, her case was put in front of a large medical conference in Seattle. Her doctors were given a chance to help her when they were connected with Dr Itkin. Dr. Itkin is a specialized Doctor that works out of Children's hospital in Philadelphia. She is very lucky he has agreed to take her case and our family finally has some hope for her. Her team of doctors at UW have worked very hard to help her with this process. Luckily her insurance is covering MOST the cost. However, she is left paying for part of the surgery, my brother in law being out of work for 2 weeks, all of airfair, hotel costs, rental cars, basic food costs for herself and my brother in law with very short notice. Her surgery, She’s actually having two. The first is April 17th where Dr. Itkin will map out her lymphatic system with a very specialized procedure and the main surgery on April 18th. She will be in Philadelphia from April 16th-April 23 rd with no complications. For the most part, Christa has kept this pretty quiet from friends.
So we know that this may come as a surprise to a lot of people that are not around her all the time, and we truly appreciate any prayers. We have the chance to really change her quality of life, to not have her on pain meds all day long, to give her the ability to carry her daughter, to play outside, to have long conversations again without being winded, to be able to sleep not sitting up in bed, to be able to have a full night of sleep and so many more things that she deals with every single day. We hope that you can spare a few dollars to try and make this trip possible. Every dollar helps, even if its just $1.00.