The last few weeks have been fairly uneventful without much to report. With the exception of doctors appointments and a few drives around the area, Madeline has been mostly homebound. However, the recent routine was a bit different this week. During a weekly blood test, it was determined that Madeline’s liver enzymes were slightly elevated. On Wednesday, Madeline met with a hepatologist who concluded that her liver does not appear to be compromised and that Madeline’s medications may have caused the higher liver enzymes. Her medical team will be monitoring this situation closely.
Thursday was an appointment with the transplant pulmonologist which included additional blood work, a pulmonary function test (PFT) and a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed a pneumothorax (air pocket) above the right lung. If left untreated, a pneumothroax could cause the lung to collapse. The timing was fortuitous as Madeline had a lung biopsy scheduled for Friday, which could have exacerbated the pneumothorax had it remained undetected. Madeline was immediately sent for a CT scan which was then reviewed with her transplant surgeon. Madeline was then readmitted to UPMC.
On Friday, Madeline underwent a procedure to insert a "pig tail tube" into her upper chest to drain the air. Later in the day she was brought to another OR to have a pulmonoscopy and lung biopsy to check for signs of rejection.
Another chest x-ray was performed on Saturday morning. The good news is that the pneumothorax is diminishing. The even better news is that the biopsy continues to show no signs of rejection. Hopefully tomorrow will be a busy day -- remove the “pig tail”, have a barium swallow test and be discharged once again. If the barium swallow is successful, Madeline’s medical team will allow her to begin eating and drinking soft foods -- the first step toward the removal of her feeding tube. Madeline’s last meal of veal parm on January 19th is a distant memory, but she is dreaming of ice cream and an eventual chardonnay, which are not far away!
Jim and Mad are still hoping to be home in Rhode Island in May and can’t wait to see the family and friends who continue to support them each day.
As often as possible, we'll try to update this page to let you know how Madeline is doing and where she is in her fight for new lungs. Visit often!