Sister battling Tuberculosis

Our sister, Austine, is turning 16 in March, but she has been fighting for her life from the beginning of the year. She is a bright and active young lady who loves basket ball, dressing up, watching movies and hanging out with her friends. She was beginning to plan her future considering several university options even though she has just entered year 10.
Austine's medical situation started with a fever in December 2014 during a family visit in Jakarta. She got so sick, she needed to be hospitalised with Typhoid Fever for 3 days.

After two weeks she returned to her home town of Pontianak (Borneo) and her condition hadn't improved. In fact things got worse.  Upon another check up, she was given a drip and a day later, she started getting restless and was unable to pass urine. Within hours, she was having seizures and was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at the local hospital.

While she was in ICU for 4 days, she was believed to have meningitis and treated with few different strong antibiotics.  After going through various tests and scans to determine the problem or the cause of meningitis the doctors were unable to diagnose the exact problem. A family friend contacted a brain specialist in Singapore with the copy of test and CT Scan results for a second opinion and he noticed a large fluid built up in the right side of the brain.  He immediately requested and organised an urgent patient transfer to Singapore for immediate treatment as pressure in the brain can lead to rapid deterioration, and possibly death.

Our sister went through brain surgery within 2 hours of arriving in Singapore to release the pressure within the brain. The medical team was able to detect Tuberculosis bacteria in the brain through testing of the fluid extracted from the surgery.

With the help of an Infection Specialist, combinations of strong antibiotics to fight the bacteria was trialled. She was also given a cocktail of medication including steroids to help her body cope with the strong medication that was being administered, medication to increase blood pressure to assist in circulating the medication, and another to help her liver to cope which also reduced the effectiveness of the antibiotics.
The fluid in her brain was still there and so the doctor decided to install a shunt to help the brain discard the fluid built up. Shortly after that, she was slowly improving.  She was able to relearn to swallow, and there was movement in her arms. She also started to see a speech therapist and physiotherapist. She was even allowed to stay at our uncle's home in Singapore with regular checks back at the hospital. While at home, she was able to smile when requested, and even pose for a selfie.  Things were looking good.
While we all thought she was on the road to recovery, her condition turned for the worse again and she had to be hospitalised back into the ICU. The doctors found that there was another attack, and this time, it was on the other side of the brain. This second attack was more severe than the first.

A change in antibiotics helped lessen the fluid built up so she was able to avoid another brain surgery. She was also able to stay in non High Dependency Unit (HDU) for couple of days after. But then she developed another seizures. A more detailed scan found that there are many narrowed brain vessels which caused many small strokes all over her brain. These strokes undid all the improvements she had seen in the prior 2 weeks. Austine has had to go through 3 Cerebral Angiography treatments to dispurse the blockages. At this stage we do not know whether her brain was permanently damaged and we hope and pray that any damage done is recoverable.

Her current progress is very slow now as she fights the Tuberculosis bacteria on both sides of her brain. She needs to stay in ICU for now but the medical cost is becoming too difficult to manage. We are not currently able to afford the medical bills but do not want to give up on her. We are desperately seeking anyone that can please help either financially or otherwise to give this young girl the best chance of surviving.

If you have any further inquiries, do not hesitate to reach me here. I would be happy to answer all questions about this cause that is so close to our heart. Thank you.
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Andrew Phua 
Toronto, ON
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