Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A New Opportunity


I started blogging in 2006 out of loneliness. My family moved from Houston to a small town in New Mexico and one night I was completely overwhelmed by the fact that we actually moved! It was a good thing, but a little shocking because it happened in such a short amount of time.

In 2011, my head was reeling from the craziness of hemophilia with my mighty, warrior Caeleb. So much was going on that the only way I could deal with my emotions was to blog about it. I started this blog simply because I needed to express my emotions and keep a record of everything that was happening with my son.

Writing has given me an outlet that I never realized I needed. It has saved me from myself in the worst of times. An online publication, Hemophilia News Today, sought me out to write a weekly column! My column is published on Wednesday's and like my blog, I hope that my thoughts and observations from raising my sons with hemophilia and inhibitors can bring some hope and encouragement to someone else.

You aren't alone. The bleeding disorder community is not really a community...it's a family.

If you need something, reach out in a Facebook group! These groups will always have someone with some good advice and encouragement.

Keep reading, asking and educating yourself.

The worst of the worst will not stay the worst of the worst...it will get better.

To read Cazandra's latest column, click here.
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hindsight

Whenever I have the chance to say my brother's name, either aloud or on paper, I say it, "Ronaldo Julian Campos was born on May 23, 1962.  He lived for five days and suffered a bleed in his brain.  He had hemophilia.

I still wonder how it is that I feel connected to him.  I've never seen any of his baby clothes, or photos (if they exist) and I desperately want to know more.  If only I had pushed to find out.

I look back to when my Julian was born, almost 21 years ago, and wish I would have questioned my mother.  When Julian would not stop bleeding from his circumcision, my mother looked at me and said, "What if he has hemophilia?"  I was so stunned by her question that I completely dismissed her.  Why didn't I ask her why she thought that?  And when he was diagnosed with hemophilia, how was it that I completely put her question out of mind!  She died five weeks later.

It took the birth and diagnosis of my mighty, warrior Caeleb, 10 years later, before I put it all together, and by that time, my Dad was not able to tell me anything.  His health was declining and talking about the past was not possible.

When I was a little girl, I remember asking my Mom and Dad about Ronnie and I'll never forget how angry my Dad got with me.  That's when I realized that I would never be able to bring up the subject again.

I had a brother and I feel his presence in my life.  It sounds crazy, but I do.  I hope that he is watching my boys and is happy at how they live with hemophilia.  Hemophilia connects him to us.  It's part of a legacy that I wish we did not have to live, but helping my boys take charge of the disorder to live full, empowered, active lives is how I will honor the memory of my brother's short time in this world.


I love you, Ronnie.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Transition complete




Today was day 10, the final day of transitioning my mighty warrior, Caeleb, from Advate to Alphanate.  We started with 250 units of Alphanate and increased each day as we lowered the Advate.  No problems!!  No allergic reactions!  We are at 5,000 units of Alphanate!  The Xolair did the trick!  I will shout from the rooftops (this is the closest I may get) and give praises to that amazing allergy drug.  It was a painful infection (actually 2 shots each time) but as time went by my warrior got used to the sticks and did great.  It was worth fighting with the insurance for at least 3 months, going into the clinic to get the shots and be monitored, and we even eventually were able to administer them at home.  It was definitely worth it.

We are switching to a plasma derived product to see if we can possibly get Caeleb's inhibitor tolerized.  I will admit, accessing his port daily with no bleeds over the past two years has been a dream.  But we knew it was time to try and move forward with a new plan. 

"Why not live with the inhibitor as is?"

If there is a chance, even the slightest chance that we can get where we only infuse 3 times a week and use 2,500 unites  per infusion instead of 5,000 units daily….then it's worth a try. 

I took my warrior in to the clinic for most of the infusions over the past week just to be safe and he thought it was funny how the nurses would say, "Caeleb!  You look amazing!  You are so tall!"  "Why is that such a big deal?," he would ask me.  "Son, most of them are only used to seeing you lying in a bed or in a wheelchair."

Those days seem like a lifetime ago when in fact, it's only been a little over two years.  

I am so glad we are on the "other side" of some of the worst that hemophilia and an inhibitor can cause.  I give thanks in all things and when it seems like life can't get any worse, something else always manages to happen and you say, "Yes, it can."  But I've learned that if I hold on to hope, the way I would hold on to a rope that I was dangling from with only a cavern below me, with a fierce desire for things to change, I won't be let down.


It could always be worse, but when it's better, it's amazing.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

No fear


I was in the clinic today with my mighty warrior.  He is starting to transition from a recombinant Factor VIII to a plasma derivedFactor VIII.  He has been doing well for a couple of years with very little bleeding, but his inhibitor is still around and his half-life is not great.  What that means is that the factor we infuse into him does not last very long…less than 4 hours.  In order for his inhibitor to be tolerized, it would measure at 0 and his half-life would be greater than 6 hours.

This is a move that has showed good results for others, so we are going to give it a try.  It means I will be taking him to the hospital daily for two weeks for the infusion and observation.  He has a history of allergic reactions to Factor VIII, but since his very successful adherence to Xolair (an allergy drug), he has been great with his factor.  I am hoping that the Xolair did the trick and the new product will not cause any issues. 

Today we started at 250 mgs, tomorrow, 500, then 750….you get it….up to 5,000.

I was surprised at how exhausted I was when I got home this afternoon.  It's not that anything bad happened, I wasn't overly anxious about the treatment, but I think just being in that environment did a number on me today.  Caeleb and I played the Wii, were on our tablets, talking and joking…but in the background I kept hearing little ones screaming in their clinic rooms.  Another young boy was brought in to the observation area next to Caeleb and he was horribly sick.  Nurses fluttering in and out of rooms, parents looking very tired, the Childlife workers doing their best to help distract children from painful procedures….yes, that was our world for a very, very, long time.  But that is the norm for that part of the world and it brought a heaviness…a deep sadness over me without even realizing it.

I started to think about the times Caeleb was screaming while the nurses tried to find veins to access, or his port was not working well.  The hours and hours we spent in clinic as we gave time between one horrible attempt after another to access him.  And the times I would have to wait in the hallway because I was not able to help.  That was excruciating.

But today, despite the sadness and the flood of memories that came over me, I was watching my mighty warrior, standing up, playing the Wii while he was being observed.  His nurses and doctors came in with several saying, "Oh my goodness!  You are so tall!"...because he was always in a wheelchair.  And hearing him tell anyone who would listen that he infused all by himself again…oh, my…he was so proud.

My warrior has come a long, long, long way.  I'm not sure what this next part of his journey looks like, but that inhibitor can just bring it on! 


No fear here.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Unheard of


Starting the journey down to the caverns

Catching our breath


Spring Break 2017 is done.  We traveled to the south of New Mexico to take in Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns, swung through El Paso and then to White Sands.  We did a ton of walking in the caverns.  Going down is super steep (and the bathroom is an hour away) :0  But I noticed something, through my frizzy hair from the humidity and the aches I was already feeling from the incline, my Caeleb was walking down like a champ.  Two years ago we could not have done this hike.  It was unheard of.

Step by step
Down the dunes
Taking it all in
Then we went to White Sands.  The dunes are beautiful and cool to your feet.  The hard part is climbing up the dune to go down on your sled.  When Caeleb was about 2, we took our eyes away for a second and before we knew it he was at the top of the dune dragging his orange sled ready to go down.  And down he went, giggling the entire way, rosy red cheeks and sand everywhere…I mean everywhere.  My fearless warrior is a risk taker.  This time going up the dunes was a bit harder for him.  His right knee and ankle don't always work like he wants them to due to repeated bleeds, but he forged ahead, made it to the top and sled down, time after time.  

His dad was coaching him up to the top, step by step and we had a victory dance when he made it back to the top.  And down he came again.


I was overwhelmed by the beauty in front of me this week, but the most magnificent part was watching my warrior take charge of his life, hiking and sledding with sheer determination.  

Holding on to hope was the best thing we could have ever done for him, because now, it's all he knows.  

There is no such thing as "can't" in our home.  There is always a way to make the magic happen.
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