Archive for March, 2010

Parker’s 2nd Update | Recovery Begins At Home

Just a quick update on Mr. Parker! We were able to come home Thursday evening. TheParker in recliner 3-26-10 doctors felt comfortable because he wasn't bleeding which was a main concern before surgery. Parker is very sore and  uncomfortable. It took him about a day to realize that he just can't get up and run around like before because his tummy hurts.

The last few nights have been rough because he wanted to toss and turn but he couldn't. We found a solution yesterday mid morning. Thanks to papa, he has bought the boys each a recliner of their own over the last few years. Now which one belongs to who is hard to decide at this point but it came in very handy!  Parker enjoyed just sitting their with the bottom leg support propped up while he watched his cartoons! Pretty cute! He just needed a remote!

Here is what his tummy looks like with the G-Tube and port-a-cath. Underneath his right breast you see a bump. That is where the port-a-cath location is where they can give injections or take blood. We won't access the port probably for 3-4 weeks. Up by his neck that is where the part of the catheter is located. The below picture gives you a better idea how it looks inside of him. The biggest risk with this is infection. As Jennifer stated a few days ago it was a hard decision to make but we feel it is the right one if they are going to be getting infusions every week. They already are nervous when they do the infusions already. It really is the sticking point of the process that gets them. Heck I'm an adult and I hate that feeling.

Brisan and Duncan are doing good. They are at gma's and papa's house. We're set to pick them up today. Can't wait to see them but this will be interesting since Parker can't really move around right now. Duncan probably will want to come jump on his belly! Brisan will get his port-a-cath on April 7th.

We thank you all for your prayers! It truly is each one of you that lifts us up to the Lord that we're able to get through challenging times.

Parker's stomach 3-25-10

Parker's G-Tube 3-25-10implantable port-a-cath

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Parker’s Surgery Update 3-24-10

Parker Stults after surgery 3-24-10(1.1)What an eventful day. We have been at Children’s Mercy Hospital since 8 am. After getting a DDAVP infusion, dose of Amicar, and a first of the Stults family,  a platelet transfusion. Parker was taken back to surgery at about 1:45 pm. Mike and I talked to our surgeon, Shawn St. Peter after the placement of a Single Lumen Port-a-Cath and a Mic-Key G-Tube.

So far, almost 4 hours post op Parker is doing ok and is stable. He has had some bleeding but not anything severe. He is on some heavy duty pain meds that are attempting to help control this intense pain in his stomach and chest. So he is pretty out of it at the moment. That is a good thing. He has already tried to climb out of the regular bed twice within 20 minutes of being in the room. So we opted for a crib for his safety. Monitor for Parker 3-24-10(1)He also does not understand why he has a bunch of wires and tubes coming off of him. He is on Oxygen, has Cardiac monitors, is hooked up to an O2 monitor and has several different incision sites and he is not used to them at all!

If we could ask for anything please pray for the bleedings to stop, pain to be managed, and for Parker to get some good rest while he is here. We are not out of danger yet. We will have about 12-14 days that he can still have bleeding complications from this surgery. Plus the risk for an infection as long as he has the Port-a-Cath.

Parker after surgery 3-24-10(1.2)This was not an easy decision to make as a parent. It will be a long, painful road the next few weeks with both Parker and Brisan having these surgeries done. However, Mike and I feel that we have to do what is best for both boys and their Quality of life vs. Quantity. We feel that this is the best decision for our boys at this time.

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Why Rare Diseases OUR Important

How many times have you been looking for something at your house but you accidentally find something you previously were missing? Wouldn’t it be a shame if the prize you were seeking was within reach but you discounted that it could be that easy? What if understanding Niemann-Pick Type C disease opened up the door to help millions of Americans with other disorders involving cholesterol? Of course nothing in life is easy nor will it always be within reach. With being human comes the tendency to make oversights.

200px-Nuvola_apps_importantIt has been almost 13 years in July 2010 that the NPC1 gene, on Chromosome 18 for Niemann-Pick Type C was shared with the world on its discovery. This was a huge step and monumental discovery with associating cholesterol with a certain gene/chromosome at that time. To arrive at this point, it took decades of work which shed an abundant light into how a cell metabolizes cholesterol. In short, Niemann-Pick Type C causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system by blocking the movement of cholesterol within cells.

From a press release dated July 10, 1997 from Bethesda, MD:

“This discovery is an excellent example of how research on rare brain disorders often pays off in other ways,” says Zach W. Hall, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). “By identifying this gene, we not only take a crucial step forward in understanding this devastating disorder, but also gain insights into problems that affect every one of us.”

In 2001, cardiovascular disease was responsible for more than 39 percent of all deaths in the United States (American Heart Association: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2004). Atherosclerosis is a disease where plaque builds up in your arteries. We all know those aren’t important to our lively hood at all. OK, just joking but plaque is made up of fat, calcium, cholesterol, and other substances found in our blood that over time builds up but hardens in the passage ways of our arteries. Imagine if you’re driving through a two way tunnel but one side is now closed off?  It would be kind of hard to get through to the other side in a timely and relaxing manor with additional objects in your way? Just like that situation, this affects how we get our blood to important areas in our bodies. With millions of people dying each year, this is a huge number of people. What if Niemann-Pick Type C could provide some insight?

Alzheimers55Other diseases such as Adult onset Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Cystic Fibrosis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and even HIV-Aids will benefit from the research into Niemann-Pick Type C. Did you know that children can experience dementia to? Crazy to imagine because most of us think that only our elderly family members get that! With the combination of deaths due to these diseases, could you imagine if we had a more collaborative research environment? Unfortunately big companies aren’t going to sacrifice revenue opportunities to help a blip on the radar screen but they will invest if they see it helping thousands of people; this means a return on their investment. This reality is sad but true.

Rare diseases OUR important to you, me, and everyone we know. Each of us has a Chromosome 18 that is vital to us being a living human being.  I encourage you to help out in some way. That could be donating to several charities that fund research for NPC like the National Niemann Pick Disease Foundation, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, Hide and Seek Foundation or the Niemann-Pick Children's Fund. That could be becoming and advocate in lobbying our government for better health care. It could be you just passing the word and spreading awareness.

We all are in this together and have been affected in some way by one of the diseases mentioned in this post. One person can make a difference in the world and that person could be you.

Additional Resources:

*All pictures belong to their respective parties.

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No Bueno – FDA says hold off on Zavesca Approval

A day late and a dollar short… maybe. No approval from the FDA took place this week. In other countries like the European Union, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Australia and Canada, Zavesca has been approved for use in adult and pediatric patients suffering from this fatal disease called Niemann-Pick Type C.

Our understanding of the news that broke out a few days ago was that they want more testing done from pre-clinical and clinical studies to develop additional information.

Jean-Paul Clozel, M.D. and Chief Executive Officer of Actelion commented: “We remain committed to bringing an approved treatment to patients suffering from NP-C disease and in this spirit we will continue the dialogue with the FDA.”

Zavesca-miglustat 100mgIt appears that Actelion is committed to finding the additional information needed to show the FDA that this could be one of the first FDA approved treatments for Niemann-Pick Type C.  Although this doesn't mean they will be cured, it could give someone like Brisan and Parker a few “extra” days living with NPC. As parents affected by this disease we are thankful that we currently have the opportunity to be apart of it even though Brisan and Parker aren't taking it. They will resume sometime in May this year.

That presents a different challenge for our family because we currently are on COBRA. It will be interesting what 12 months from now will look like especially if it isn't FDA approved because our future insurer might say H-E-double hockey sticks NO!

Here is a link to one of many articles: 

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Round 2: N-Acetyl Cysteine & Biomarker Validation for Niemann-Pick Type C Drug Trial

Ding ding, round 2! Brisan and Parker started this week the 2 phrase of the N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) Drug Trial at the NIH. For the first week they have to ramp up on the drug again. Parker is at 9.5 ml x3 and Brisan is at 10ml x3. On the first phase it was 36ml x3 for Parker and 40ml x3 for Brisan.

As I posted originally on www.blog.bripardun.com, a diagram that I used from NNPDF's site to show how this crossover study is taking place. You can read more about it here: NAC Drug Trial. Essentially they are looking how they can reduce oxidative stress on the cells. The main issue they can't fix yet but if they can find little things to help the “side effects”, then that is  a very small win overall for NPC. We haven't seen any major changes in how they act. If there is they are very minor that they aren't completely noticeable.

NAC trial timeline diagram

Overall the drug is pretty safe. You can actually purchase it from any pharmacy. It doesn't taste bad either! We view this as an opportunity to help in the research of Niemann-Pick Type C!

N-Acetyl Cysteine Drug Trial 900mg at the NIH.

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Follow Up On Parkers G-Tube Consultation

Parker is just a funny kid! Below is a video we took while we were waiting on Dr. St. Peters to come into the room. He was being silly then as soon as I turned on the camera he stopped!

Overall March 24th is the date that they are going to due surgery. They aren't however going to do a fundo which is relieving for the time being. Now after the GT if he is aspirating or having things come back up, then it will validate if he is really having reflux. This is a completely safe guard (GT) since he loves to eat but he just isn't chewing his food like he needs to. I know we just hate seeing “stinky” or any of the boys go through these things.

During that surgery they will put a line in underneath his collar bone since Parker and Brisan both have had weekly infusions since November 09′. They are getting stuck way too much! This will make life a bit easier for everyone involved.

On another note please pray for Jonathan Fletcher of Independence, MO. He is a 5 year boy who is near his time due to a cancerous tumor inside the base of his brain stem. Pray that God takes away his pain and fears. Even more importantly pray for his parents. We don't want to imagine those feelings anytime soon.

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