Ashley Monteith

AMonIn May of 2008 God wrapped Himself around the heart of our little 2 year old girl!

It was a Tuesday evening (May 6, 2008) when Ashley started breaking out in a rash and running high fever. I noticed that something was causing her to flinch every time her hands would touch something. I told my husband “Something is terribly wrong, it’s not just an allergic reaction.” Thank you, Jesus, for speaking to Mommy!

We made an appointment the next morning with the PA of our pediatrician’s office. By the time we arrived, Ashley was very lethargic with swollen hands, feet, eyes and lips. Her entire body was covered in a rash. Welts had started to form on different parts of her body, especially her back.  She was also unable to keep any food or liquid down and was becoming dehydrated.

Without much conversation or even examination, the PA told us she thinks Ashley is suffering from Kawasaki’s disease. That term was new to us! Kawasaki’s disease is an uncommon illness that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. The greatest risk from Kawasaki’s is aneurisms, or other damage, in the blood vessels connecting to the heart. Weakened coronary arteries may get enlarged or can narrow or develop blood clots. This can lead to heart attacks in young adults. Wow! That was a lot to take on!

We drove immediately from the pediatrician to Children’s Hospital at Parker Adventist. On the way we had a few phone calls to make…to each one of our family members and Pastor Haymon. We had one simple prayer request, “Please pray for Ashley.”Doctors at Parker Adventist monitored Ashley overnight then decided to move us to the main Children’s Hospital complex at Fitzsimmons where an Infectious Disease (ID) team could step in and recommend a treatment plan.

Kawasaki’s is a hard disease to diagnose. It’s usually thought to be just a rash that can be treated with Benadryl, or an infection that is treated with antibiotics. After several days of high fever and no effect from antibiotics, children then start to develop the swollen hands and feet and their lips start to crack and peel. Only then do doctors finally realize it’s actually Kawasaki’s disease. This kind of mis-diagnosis greatly increases the risk of heart damage. WHAT A MIRACLE, Ashley was diagnosed within the first 24 hours of breaking out in a rash. Within 48 hours of diagnosis Ashley was being treated for Kawasaki’s disease at Children’s Hospital. The treatment for Kawasaki’s is intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which had a rapid and miraculous effect on Ashley! She further was treated with high doses of aspirin to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and to lower the risk of blood clots.

After treatment, Ashley’s tests of internal inflammation (CRP, or “c-reactive protein” for those interested) were dropping, however one reading showed the same level as just prior to the IVIG treatment. Not wanting to put her through another treatment (which meant a few more days in the hospital), we prayed and then asked ID to take another test. The next test showed a significant drop of internal inflammation, also lowering the risk of heart issues. Thank the Lord, no need for another IV and IVIG treatment!

The initial ECG (echocardiogram) indicated NO inflammation or issues with the heart and connecting arteries! That’s no big surprise;God’s been there all along!

The first few weeks of being home Ashley’s hands, feet and lips started cracking and the upper layer of skin started peeling away. Because of early treatment, swelling to her extremities was minimal. The peeling was easily treated with some thick layers of Aquaphor every few hours. Thank the Lord, there are no scars.

After 9 weeks of taking aspirin as an anti-clotting and anti inflammation agent, we took Ashley in for her third (and final) follow-up appointment with the cardiologist at Children’s Hospital. After reviewing her latest echocardiogram, the cardiologist gave us an enthusiastic “she’s normal!” Praise the Lord, now let’s throw away that aspirin bottle!

Almost a year later, there is still NO indication of any damage to her vascular system. The cardiologist said, “I expect there to be NO issues, and there is NO NEED for follow up!” Of course not, when God does something, He does it RIGHT!

We took Ashley back in to see Meggan, the PA who first diagnosed her. We told Meggan that the ID team at Children’s Hospital were singing her praises for being able to diagnosis a Kawasaki patient within 24 hours. Meggan looked at me and said, “I’ll tell you what, Jen, it’s not me, I give all the glory to God.” Meggan said that when she came into the room last week and saw Ashley something in her head said “Kawasaki’s Disease.” She said that she just blurted it out and it wasn’t until later that she actually started thinking “Oh my, why did I say that, I better double check before I scare these people.” Thank you, Jesus, for being that “Something” and speaking to our Doctor!

What started out to be a week with a deadly disease infecting Ashley, turned out to be Ashley’s week of miracles! Through it all, we had a reassurance that everything was going to be okay…and it was! Thank you, Lord, for an inner peace that KEPT US!