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Old March 10th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #31
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Thanks Bruce, will be working on it, and in a cardiac rehab program.

Katie Swanberg is seeing little improvements each day. Chris told me today that they are starting to see some kidney function, and that should improve daily. A great sign I understand. They are seeing positive signs every day. They have reduced sedation, though she is still ventilated. Chris Swanberg's sister, who is also an MD, is optomistic.

Keep up the positive waves out there !
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old March 10th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #32
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Thank you for your prayers and Support

First off, THANK YOU all for your caring loving support through what is without question the most difficult time of mine and Katie's lives (as well as he Mother's and sisters too).

Here is the latest update. Wednesday evening 3/10/10.

It was two weeks ago today that Katie's "supposed" flu took a markedly downward turn... in her words at 4PM that WED expressed in an email to a close friend..."I feel like I could die!"...How prophetic. The flu was in fact an infection of Meningococcal Neissirium bacteria. Read more here: Meningococcal disease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

By Thursday PM she was in full septic shock and her life was at significant risk. In fact, that night I was told she had at best a "20% chance of survival", and if her Mom wanted to see her she should get to the hospital ASAP. I hope none of you ever experience that chill/terror on hearing such words.

We are now two weeks later. A trip through hell I will never forget. I'll spare you the emotional roller coaster I have ridden along with Katie's Mother and Sister, but no Disney E-ticket ride would dare take you on it. YOU ALL, as my friends and family have given an immense well of love and support and while you may have felt impotent to "help" ... help is exactly what you did. As the family "tough one" I had to internalize a lot to play my role through all this... including the private making of potential funeral plans etc... and even now at times when alone and in private I still just lose it from time to time - but happily less so lately, and cry more tears of joy now.

Katie is off most all medicinal support now, including sedatives, all as of yesterday - down from several shiny stainless steel "trees" festooned with bags of IV fluids and nearly a dozen IV pumps feeding them to her inert body laying helpless in that bed, unconscious. At one point you could hardly get to her bed with all the monitors, IV's and medical machines, etc. Anyway I digress, the removal from all that means she will undergo a slow "waking up" process now. Once she is conscious they can better assess all her neurological functions, which by the way, all look good at this point. Her body and her major organs appear to have pulled through with little, if any, lasting injury forecast. She owes her life, in my estimation, to several things... the love and support and prayers of so many people (tearing up here), a physician who within 30 mins of her entry into the ICU made a treatment plan based on a gut instinct that was 100% right and started appropriate treatment right away, and finally - maybe most importantly, her age, fitness and gritty determination. As one close Internet friend put it in a subsequent get well post, the Chilean earthquake was caused by Katie punching an Angel.

She is VERRRY slowly awakening. I imagined someone sudden waking up like Sleeping Beauty (and she is and has been my sleeping beauty during all this) but that's only in movies. The process in reality is slow and gradual. She tried to open her eyes tonight, but it will likely be a couple more days before the can really "wake up."

She has been heavily sedated and on "ventilator support" (a thumb diameter sized tube down into her lungs) for 13 days now. Because it runs down through or more accurately alongside the vocal chords, we are nearing the maximum time medical professionals want it in to prevent any permanent vocal chord injury. The alternative is a tracheotomy - which as you all probably know is the insertion of a breathing tube into the trachea at the base of the neck and top of your ribcage.

While most of Katie's blood chemistry, vital signs, etc, are mostly trending " S L O W L Y" back into the good or at least "better" range tonight we were told that they expect a need for ventilator support for a longer time than her "awakening" so a tracheotomy is scheduled for tomorrow or possibly Friday. I consider this Katie's second birthing in a way, so she will have a 2nd "bellybutton" is how I like to think of this. Katie will best that 20% chance of survival prognosis I frighteningly heard some 13 long agonizing days ago. While it may be too soon to say "nothing" untoward or bad could yet happen, I think I have a "miracle child" soon to be walking around. I know I will totally lose it when I can look in her pretty blue eyes once again, and am anxious to shed those tears!

Her neurological functioning to date, appears promising - and that is always a major concern. The final test will be once she is awake, but all signs point towards a full or close to full, recovery, but it will be months before she would be able to return to work assuming the best, is what I am hearing.

I want to let you know how wonderful Katie's younger sister Kelly has been in all this - the family "tweeter", email and website guru (and rock) and who has kept the world (really - see Folsom garden blogger's readers closely follow her illness - Home and Garden - up to date. My sister Louise, herself an MD in Montana, has given me the good, the bad and the ugly along the way and unerringly predicted positive turns a day before they occurred and cautioned me not to worry when certain seeming downturns presented themselves along the way as well. Trust me, in the early dark days, it was her communications that kept me sane and functioning (tearing up here again). Her positive outlook was at times the only positive thing I had to hang on to in the darkest moments of all this - and there were some terribly dark days in the early going. As Katie has progressed my Doc sister has filled in the blanks, told me the questions I needed to ask and did, and answered all my questions lovingly, honestly and never given me false hope, nor unnecessary pessimism. I owe her an immeasurable debt of gratitude and love.

The Nursing staff at Mercy San Juan has taken Katie in as their own daughter. The entire Medical ICU (one of 5 ICU's in that hospital) knows her every doing and condition, and they are as thrilled as her Mother and Sister and I am that she appears to be poised to rejoin us in the conscious world. Some even check in on her on their days off.

Tonight I join Lou Gehrig in considering myself the luckiest man on earth. I am on the verge of having my daughter back. These things change you. I see things in the world around me a little differently these days. maybe time will alter that, but I don't think so.

I hope to improve my kindness and gentleness towards others. I'll never miss a chance to touch, hug and care for family and friends and will say "I love you" a lot more often.

For those of you who have asked "what can I do?" - I'd say hug your children if they are with you, and if they have flown the nest call them more often and never fail to express how special and loved they are. You have no idea how special the chance to do that is, or potentially fleeting it can seem in retrospect.

It's a beautiful place this thing we call life. Don't waste a minute of it.

Thank you again all. I love you all and appreciate your support.

Chris Swanberg

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; March 11th, 2010 at 01:15 AM.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 04:23 AM   #33
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Chris, that brought a tear to my eye. I'm so happy for you all that things are making a positive turn!
Moments like these bring life into harsh, shocking perspective - some close friends of ours are in the devestating process of losing grip of their 10 day old baby girl. I just can't imagin e how they are coping....
Thanks for sharing this with us, and best wishes for your daughter's recovery and future health.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 07:41 AM   #34
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Chris, I have two daughters myself (15 and 19 y)and I can not imagine anything worse than that something bad would happen to them.
I'm happy for you all that things now are looking brighter.
Our thoughts and prayers are still with you, with wishes for speedy recovery of your daughter's health.

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Old March 11th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #35
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Chris, thank you for keeping us updated on Katie's progress. All of us have been following this and praying for her, you and the other family members. I hope her progress continues and wish you all the very best for a full and speedy recovery.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #36
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All the best to your daughter and your entire family, Chris. I can't imagine what it must have been like, but your story reminds me to cherish what we have. Thanks for letting us know about your journey.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 02:25 PM   #37
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just got back from a shoot in Cal. and happen to read this thread. Chilling, very scary. My thoughts are with you and your daughter Katie. What else can I add, other than say that I have a daughter in LA (@ USC) who frequently shows signs of flu? Very scary, indeed. A daddy's thoughts are all I can offer; I hope everything goes well.

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Old March 11th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #38
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Chris, my best wishes to your daughter. Sorry, I just happened to see the thread now. Hopefully her condition continues to improve & she fights thru this.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #39
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Success in the most important step of all !!

Today, after 15 days into this, and 4 days of being off sedation, my daughter is conscious, though still intubated. There will be some time before she can reliably use muscles etc, but to see her blue eyes knowing she knows who I am and can on occasion manage to squeeze my hand is a fabulous gift. This was step one, of many we have yet to go, but she made it through this awful nightmare.

Thank you all for your prayers, support and encouragement. You are all the best !

Chris Swanberg
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Old March 12th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #40
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Hey Chris,
Great to hear that things have turned around for your daughter. You must be very relieved with this news! I hope things go from strength to strength from here on. Now that Katie is conscious please let her know that all our prayers are with her to continue to get better.
All the best,
There's never enough hours in the day!
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Old March 13th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #41
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Wonderful news, Chris!
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Old March 16th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #42
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That is terrific news Chris.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #43
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Bumps in the road

We have had a rough last few days as Katie has developed abdominal bleeding - so far we have added 9 units of blood over the past several days to her ravaged little body. A nuclear scan, a couple angioplasty procedures later in nuclear medicine and a CT contrast scan added in, they "think" they have it. We'll see. Thank you all for your positive energy and prayers. We have a ways yet to go it seems.

This is a Nasty bug - the following is from Wikipedia - this is what my daughter has been going through:

"Septicaemia caused by Neisseria meningitidis has received much less public attention than meningococcal meningitis. Meningococcal septicaemia typically causes a purpuric rash that does not lose its colour when pressed with a glass ("non-blanching") and does not cause the classical symptoms of meningitis. This means the condition may be ignored by those not aware of the significance of the rash. Septicaemia carries an approximate 50% mortality rate over a few hours from initial onset. Many health organizations advise anyone with a non-blanching rash to go to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

Other severe complications include Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome (a massive, usually bilateral, hemorrhage into the adrenal glands caused by fulminant meningococcemia), adrenal insufficiency, and disseminated intravascular coagulation."

What it doesn't say is how badly it ravages internal organs. It's repair and healing time. We hope her kidneys will survive.

Keep your hope, thoughts and positive energy. Thank you


ps. If you have a family member who is a candidate for the vaccine, I'd recommend it. The Center for Disease Control website recommendations are here:

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; March 17th, 2010 at 01:44 PM.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #44
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Having almost lost our adult son last year, I know what you have been up against.

Prayers help and I am certain many were passed on in her behalf!!

Healing takes a lot of time, but it is amazing how well people rejuvinate!!!

Will continue to say prayers for recovery of you all!!

Dale Guthormsen
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:02 PM   #45
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Chris, we have not forgotten.

Hoping and praying for the next step in recovery.

Bruce Foreman
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