(Guest post from Nora, Ryan’s mom.)
As a little girl, I dreamed of being a wife and mother with a home filled with children.
When I realized that “prince charming” wasn’t showing, I knew I could still be a mom. When I set out on the journey alone, I thought it would take forever, however I was a lucky one. I signed with an adoption agency in June of 2002, and my son was born in August 2002.
When the agency told me they had a birthmother looking for a single mom, I questioned why? In speaking to the birthmom she said “she had grown up in a household where her parents fought a lot, so her thought was if there was one parent she was ok with that.” Anyway, it worked out great for me.
The agency told me the mother was a drug user and had hepatitis B and C. I thought “OK so what does that mean?”
I was able to get the birthmom’s medical records as well as my son’s records, once he was born, and have then reviewed. At birth, my son’s blood was non-reactive to hepatitis C and of course he was given the vaccine for hepatitis B. OK, non-reactive that’s good right? Well it really doesn’t mean anything except that the virus is not active as of right now, and we would have to wait until he was 15 months old to run further blood work.
When I was asked if I still wanted to adopt him, I thought they were crazy, well of course. He was my son, it was meant for me to be his mom and my blessing from above. We plugged along with him over the first year having some issues, having to be withdrawn from the drugs he was born addicted to, having a bout of meningitis, bladder infections, a lot of virus issues etc. Then the dreaded 15 month time frame was here.
Ok we went and had the blood work and I just knew in my heart that since I had been told that there was less than a 1% chance that he would have hepatitis C that we would be doing this just to get the all clear. I remember it was right before Thanksgiving and I was going into the mall to shop when my cell phone rang. It was Ryan’s pediatrician who was a friend that I had worked with over the years. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, his blood work was positive for hepatitis C. What, say that again? You have to be wrong, right?
No, he wasn’t wrong. He told me to enjoy the holiday and he would see me right after. Enjoy the holiday, are you kidding me, how would I ever enjoy anything again?
You see for me the first 15 months of my son’s life was spent dealing with the other issues, and not ever really thinking that we would have to deal with HCV. I didn’t really know a lot about it and my first thought was “Oh my God, I am going to have to watch my child suffer.”
Well over the next week I began researching and reading everything I could on hepatitis. By the time Ryan got in to see the GI specialist, I knew we had to run a genotype screening and viral load blood work. I was in an attack mode and wanted my baby fixed. Well I wish it was that easy. The GI physician here at our local Childrens’ Hospital told me that there was not much info on children dealing with this disease and he would follow Ryan with blood work and ultrasounds every six months, and at age 3 we would treat him.
WHAT, I wanted something done now. Of course I realized in my mind that that was not the protocol and that I had to trust the doctors. That was hard for me, I wanted to be in control over what happened with my son, not this horrible disease that could be eating away at his liver. How would I allow it to go on for another 2 years before we did anything? Of course, now I realize the harshness of the treatment, but at that time I just wanted it not to be true. I prayed that I would be strong for my son and be able to gain as much knowledge as I could about this monster living within his blood and liver.
(Ryan is finally in treatment.)