14 Year Old Angel
Breanna born Feb 17, 2006 and passed away on April 12, 2020. Breanna’s cag 80+. We were waiting for the final number. Her main symptom was muscle weakness especially in her ankle. Both feet were turning inwards too. That scared me because she needs good ankles to walk. She struggled with balance and tripped often and fell sometimes. Her speech was already a little hard to understand and she was gagging on food sometimes. Her eyes fluttered in a weird way and even got stuck open twice. Her handwriting had becoming weak so it could be hard to read her writing. She could’t zipper zippers or button buttons. All her shorts and pants had to have elastic waist bands so she can get them off and on. She pretty much needed assistance with all her shirts. Lastly, she had bathroom issues often. She had accidents often but didn’t need a diaper yet.
We thought HD was dead in the family because her grandpas doctor said so. The dr told her grandpa, at age 60, of you aren’t showing symptoms by now then you don’t have it. No test was ever ran. When Breanna started showing signs I was sure it was HD but nobody would believe me since it suppose to be dead in the family. Even before she started showing symptoms I noticed my husband was not right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Anyway, after 3 years of fighting with Drs, unnecessary testing and misdiagnoses she finally was tested. One reason the Drs wouldn’t test Bre is because her dad wasn’t ready to be tested. He finally had his results in July of this year with a cag of 45 and we found out Bre was positive August 23, 2016 with a cag of 80+. By the way, grandpa was tested a year ago and has a cag of 43.
I’m worried about everything concerning HD. I worried about having to tell her the next step of what will happen to her. I worried about her not being able to walk but most of all I worried so much for when the day comes that we can’t have conversations together.
Due to JHD she had to quit the swim team because she was afraid to drown. She couldn’t play much at playgrounds and she generally had problems playing all sports. However, she never quit! She loved sports and she tried her hardest to do what other kids do.
Breanna’s pt was working on Bre getting a walker and a wheelchair. I thought I had a few more years before she go to this stage. Friday, BOOM! She couldn’t balance well or walk. Really! I hate you jhd! I hate you!
My daughter has to stop playing volleyball this week. She already had to stop being on the swim team. She couldn’t join basketball and now this!
Oh, and she has to do 1/2 days on Thursday and Fridays! Most kids would like this but not Bre. This disease has stolen my daughter as well as my son. He can’t handle her behavior. Speaking of behavior, it sucks! She talk back left and right. She’s mean to me and her brother now. Worse than before! I think she is giving up on herself. I told her to try fighting and she told me no. My heart is so broken.
Her legs totally hurt too and I can’t get her seen. I will probably have to take her to the er before we go to Disney and pray the dr will give her some pain meds. I hate this disease and what it is doing to my family! I cried when it became 2017 because about 30 minutes before that Breanna L said, “mommy Why can’t I stop drooling on my plate while eating this pizza?” I had to tell her that it’s due to jhd and her tongue muscles are getting weaker. Things keep moving too fast. So, when 2017 hit i just thought to myself how many more things are going to change in her this year and they will not be for the better.
She got a feeding g tube. Her lung deflated when it was put in but they put a chest tube in and fixed her up to go home. She got admitted several times again due to painful distended stomach. Dec 2017 She’s still strong and having a great Christmas.
Her favorite colors are purple and then blue. She loves all sports especially soccer and recreational swimming. She loves stuffed animals and barbies. She loves bomb fires and s’mores. She loves to squeeze whipped cream into her mouth. She loves to give and receive hugs and kisses. She makes people laugh because she is a little comedian. She loves church. Her smile is infectious and so is her happiness. She loves comfy clothes as well as really fancy clothes. She loves bows. The more daily the better. Her number one love are boys. In fact, I think they are the only reason she likes to go to school.
January 2018- The last week in November she had the stomach flu, she was admitted to the hospital 3 different times in December. The worst one being a collapsed lung. The first day back from school she got a concussion and had to go to the ER. Then this all started going on this week with her. Poor thing. I hate JHD!
August 1, 2018- My poor baby girl was admitted to picu tonight for a concussion and 3 fractures to her left eye bone. She is doing ok but she is tired and sore. The front wheel of her walker went off a 6 inch high sidewalk. She fell face first onto an asphalt parking area. When she fell her body was literally stiff as a board and all that force went right to her face. Her head bounced on and off the pavement too. I’m so lucky she didn’t get hurt even worse.
October 14, 2018- Breanna has had a rough time with her JHD, Juvenile Huntington’s Disease, lately. Well not lately, her symptoms flared up mid July of 2017. She has had problems with her temperature regulation (she would either become badly overheated or she would become very cold), she has become weaker, having more balance issues, neuropathy pain and major GI, gastrointestinal, problems. Since the end of September of 2017 Breanna has been in and out of various hospital ERs and she has been admitted to a couple different hospitals. An unbelievable amount of maybe 15 times. She has always had GI issues but over the past 5 months her gut has had increased problems. She had a g-tube placed in December which has allowed me to put medication and formula feeds right into her stomach. Also, I could release some gas from her stomach through the gtube but her body would just buildup more gas. She has gastroparesis. Her stomach muscles do not work right at all. Her muscles are not working to move her food into her intestines. Her intestines aren’t moving the gas very well either. Due to this issue she has had stomach pain, she has not been able to eat or drink very much by mouth and she has not been able to tolerate her feeds through her g-tube. She could barely tolerate her medications through her gtube. I’ve worked closely with her drs whenever she has been at home and even with increasing her stomach medication and adding more stomach meds to her regimen her gas issue did not improved. Hence, why she has to keep returning to the hospital. Her GI issues became so bad she had to go to an out of town Er on September 29th and upon returning to Michigan the next day, September 30th, she had to go straight to the local Er. They admitted her. The drs made some changes to her medication and she improved a little bit but not nearly enough. On October 4th the drs thought she was ready to be released even though I told them that she was still too bloated and she was still too uncomfortable. The drs released her anyway only for me to bring her back to the hospital on October 11th. The drs and I mutually agreed that she now needed to get a GJ-tube. The gtube that she already had still goes into her stomach but now I only put her medication through the gtube and use it to release gas from her belly. The new J tube was threaded through the beginning of her small intestines and this tube is used to administer around the clock formula. We all had high hopes only for them to be crushed. The new tube seemed to helped a bit at first but then things went down hill. The gas started to increase. Her stomach became distended, she is in pain due to the gas, and it is causing her not eat much by mouth (worse than her normal 1-2 tablespoons a day), she is barely drinking by mouth (worse than her normal 1-2 cups of milk a day), she is tired, she won’t sit up much due to the increased pressure and pain in her abdomen, the amount of formula she had been receiving had to be turned down which made it so the nurses had to access her port to give her IV fluids straight into her veins and they increased her stomach medications again. Due to these problems she has been wanting heat packs on her stomach while she is awake and the nurses and I are burping her belly a lot during the daytime and at night. We only stop releasing gas through her gtube when she goes on walks or when she has to get medication. Administering meds means we cannot release gas from her stomach for 1-2 hours afterwards so the meds have time to absorb into her system. Nothing is working. The drs and I are hoping that as her body adjust to the new tube, the increase of meds and being able to burp her belly more that her body will start to respond and reduce the air that continuously rebuilds. I feel so bad for my poor baby girl. This is not fair that she has to be in pain all the time. Please pray that her gas buildup will decrease and the pain will subside.
October 20, 2018- Breanna was finally released last night from the hospital. It was bitter sweet. The good news is that she is well hydrated and has all the nourishment she needs through her j-tube. Plus, I can allow gas to escape from her belly through her g-tube as much as her belly will allow without having to stop her formula feeds. The bad news is that she is more distended now than she was before because she is getting full formula feeds. Even though the formula now goes straight to her intestines via her new j-tube the gas continues to build in both her stomach and intestines. She gets a bit of relief when I “burp” her through her stomach tube but I can’t always hook her up to allow this because a lot of stomach juices can come out too.Her meds don’t seem to help much and her stomach and intestines still have extremely slow motility. Her stomach hurts and she uses a heating pad to help with her comfort but you all know how strong she is so she doesn’t complain often.The drs feel, at this point, they have exhausted all the options that are not too invasive. I mentioned TPN to the drs and some other things but they didn’t seem too interested. The drs and I also decided to see if once her body became use to the new j-tube that her gut muscles will work better which will lower the amount of gas that keeps building.In the meantime I will continue to research other options for when things get worse and I will contact the university of Michigan and/or Mayo Clinic. This mother never stops fighting.
Sept 12, 2019 I know I post all the great happy things going on in our lives but it’s not all a bed of roses. It’s so sad and lonely. Bre is declining and it is different this time. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s a lot of declining symptoms all at once? I just don’t know but it makes me so sad. Her balance is getting worse and if I wasn’t right with her holding on she would fall. I have no trust that she can stay upright on her own anymore. Her walking went from her normal walk to a penguin walk and now is something worse than that. She tries to turn sideways too when walking through doors that have nothing blocking it. Like she won’t fit through. It’s not good. For the most part I don’t understand what she is saying to me and she refuses to use her talking machine. It breaks my heart. We both get so frustrated and mad.also, her pinky, ring finger and middle finger are always closed these days and it’s hard for her to open them or for her to allow me to open them. I don’t know why this happens because she is so limber. I stretch her every day. Her Parkinson’s symptoms are worse too. She trembles a lot during the day which seems to make her rock. I think she is trying to comfort herself from the tremors. It is all so exhausting for her. I wind up feeding her by mouth most of the day because it is too exhausting for her to feed herself with the shanking and rocking. It’s bad enough now that Bre let’s her sitter feed her. She seems to be taking a nap most days or sits there ready to fall asleep. She has also begun to fold her neck to the side. She done this in the past and it did go away. Also, she is getting confused more and defiant. Unusually defiant. At times she seems like she had just given up but it’s a long story as to why I think this. I had to have a heart to heart with her about this decline and how it seems like she is throwing in the towel. I can tell that a lot of brain damage has been done this round and I just feel like she is not going to bounce back. It makes me ill to think what she has been robbed of. What all these children have been robbed of. Prayers to all the JHD children and HD people who are suffering and not doing well. 🙏Pics are from the last few days. The first one is showing her neck bending so far sideways. The second one is how happy she is that my aunt sent us some fabulous chocolate mousse. YUM! 😋
November 15, 2019- Hi everyone. Long but an update on Breanna and a question for people. Bre’s symptoms continue to progress as We all know This disease does. Always something new. Her balance is worse but she can still walk. A different walk though. Slow and unsteady. She cannot walk as long as she did before either. Her new symptom that has progressed. Well, I Would say it has progressed. She started by just staring off in space (not a seizure) but now she stares off in space and either stays quiet or talks to herself (happy world). She is either content or happy in her happy world that she mentally goes to. When in that world she talks and laughs or just is happy being quiet. She started by going off in space a bit here and there while she was awake in her chair. Then she started struggling to fall asleep but would go to her happy world and talk or just stay quite. She is up for hours (The meds do not make her tired like they used to). Either way she says she is happy. Because she enjoys this I started to let her have her night meds once I put her in bed for the night. Not that they make her tired. This way she can enjoy talking and being in her happy world. She is in her happy world for 2-3 hours at bedtime. She loves this new routine. I like to see her happy but it’s also emotionally difficult for me to not have the quality time with her that I’m used to. It’s hard to see the length of time she stares off in space and I know she is getting worse. She does sleep well once she falls asleep though. Today, she is presenting differently. Today she has been sitting in her chair since 9:30, she is barely eating which isn’t a big deal since she has a gtube for formula, she is staring of in space quietly. This has now been going on for 4 and a half hours and counting. She says she is happy. It bothers me but I’m glad it doesn’t bother her. Kind of like when she rocks. What have you and your loved ones experienced when this happens? Does it come and go for your loved ones? How does it progress from here? Does it seem to happen in the middle stage? Late middle stage? I’m not upset. Not really. We all know our loved ones will progress. Maybe I’m just numb to it. Just wondering what others have gone through. By the way, Bre’s pneumonia is totally gone. Thank God for answering our prayers and thank you everyone who thought of her 😊 and those that prayed 🙏 for her. We are so lucky to have so much support. Pics: this is breanna opening her second to last Christmas 🎄 present from 2018. 😂. Way to enjoy presents all year round. She definitely should have presents all year round. 🎁 Last thing which I know is not necessary but I want to say anyway. I’m sorry I don’t post much these days or even get on fb much. I have been feeling overwhelmed with the house, Bre’s symptoms changing constantly, and having time with my son (picking him up from school, doing homework with him, his 3 activities... (I cannot limit his activities due to his energy level). I live getting out to for his activities. I enjoy watching him and talking to the other parents. Picking him up daily and doing homework with him is new for my routine. In addition, Breanna’s sitter has had some family commitments and hasn’t been here very much. You all know what I mean with being so busy. ❤️
Nov 29, 2019- The new Bre is not my same little girl. She spends a lot of time in “Breannaville” talking to people. We have gone from a home of three people and a dog to a home with quite a few people. 😂 Only Bre can see and talk to them though. She is in Breannaville most of the day. The more tired she is the more she lives there. I can pull her out of it a here and there, her sisters can pull her out more than me and Brady can get her back to reality the most. Beating him up is probably her favorite thing to do and he likes to see her smile and laugh. She is not doing that a lot these days. The confusion is apparent too. She is not as happy during the day. She is very tired during the day even when she does gets sleep. She slept 14 hours last night and is still very tired today. She is not the same little girl I had 5 days ago, two weekends ago, 2 months ago. This is a big decline mentally. I hate Dementia and I hate JHD. Im losing my baby girl. 😢💔
Dec 2, 2019 I’m so exhausted and I just want to sleep. No UTI. Bre is declining. We didn’t give her as much sedation meds this afternoon and things didn’t go well. She kept getting upset but Bre’s nurse couldn’t figure it out. I was out with my son, brady, at the time and the nurse called. Over the phone I figured out Bre was mad because she wanted to see Ben and Aiden. I don’t know who these boys are but she sure does. This upset her earlier too. She wanted Ben earlier to cuddle. I told her I was out looking for both boys. Breanna’s sister came to visit while I was gone and When her sister was leaving tonight Bre gave Her a hug, pushed her away and said I hate you. She has done this to me too. I know Bre is just confused but it is still sad and it still hurts. She was acting out in other ways too. They had to give her the rest of the full dose of the sedation med. When I came back to the hospital I told her I saw the boys, they both said hi and they missed her but it was a school night and they couldn’t come see her. She had a huge grin on her face. Then all Hell broke loose. Her nighttime sedation med couldn’t get here fast enough. There were snakes in her bed!!!! I became a snake wrangler tonight and I was good at it too. That sedation med didn’t work as well as before so they had to give her larazapam also. Fast asleep. Poor girl. I couldn’t imagine having snakes in my bed and being so terrified. I am liking the idea of finding boys/men to cuddle if they are tall, dark and handsome. 😂. However, they need to leave the minute I’m done with them. No commitment. 😂 So, the sedation med is really a psych med, zyprexa, but it does make Bre very tired right now. The psychiatrist here also wants to put her on depakote, which I’m not fond of that drug, and then ween her off of nortriptilyn and seroquel. I don’t like change. I don’t like drs I don’t know. I will go along with it as long as her neurologist says these two drugs will not cause HD symptoms to worsen. Although, if these are the only two meds that can calm her down and get rid of the hallucinations then it would be a necessary strain off. I’ll know more tomorrow. Pic: instead of the norm with Bre barely letting me touch her she wanted to crawl in my arms tonight and not let go. It was so wonderful but for such a horrible reason. She got in a fetal position and held me really tight. I loved it. 💕
Dec 6, 2019 She is out!!!! She was discharged at 6:30 pm and we walked into the Nutcracker at 7. Just in time. Whew!!!When Bre focussed on the ballet she loved the music, dancers and costumes. She smiled so big and her eyes were so bright. Brady also really enjoyed the Nutcracker and asked why we do not go to plays, ballets and musicals more often. Time would be the answer. 😁 The musical was amazing and I can take this off my bucket list now. I’ve always wanted to take Breanna and Brady to the Nutcracker. *****she got worse!!! Stomach bug. Both ends!!!! I’ll be doing laundry until Sunday! I’ve had less than 5 hours of sleep.***** Can you see the decline in her face. This has been a big decline (physically and mentally) but she still is interacting with people and she is happy.
Dec 7, 2019 Look who looks so good!!!! Breanna L!!!! Full of color and happiness. She is watching Victorious and holding her puppy dog, Ruby. Conversing too! It was hard to get good lighting in these pictures due to the light on in the kitchen and then Bre being light colored and the dog being black. Dark colored dogs don’t take the best pics. Bre takes great pics. 👍😁❤️
Dec 2, 2019 This was moments before she bursted into a hysterical tantrum of screaming and crying for 30 minutes straight. We were watching her favorite show, Victorious, and eating muffins. She was happy, laughing, smiling. Then out of no where starts shaking, screaming, kicking, crying. The nurses and I both just sat there with uneasy hearts because, no matter what we asked her or tried, nothing could make her stop. Nothing could take away the pain. Nothing could take away what was upsetting her. She gave me a big bear hug and then pushed me away and told me she hated everything. And I hate it too. Really there are no words I have to describe for watching your little sister lose complete control because of HD.
April 11, 2020 My time is almost done here on earth and I will soon move onto my heavenly fathers house. Pray for my Mommy, and my siblings: Brady, Delaney, Kylee and Shelby and my dad for they will suffer greatly when I leave. 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻
Bre(Breanna L) and I saw Jurassic World at the theater followed by picking out ice cream at a store. She picked out strawberry sherbet and I chose mint chip. Yum! The only frustrating part of the evening was that some self-absorbed woman had the audacity to complain about Breanna’s wheelchair being to tall for her 5 year old grandchild to see over for the movie. Umm...why are you bringing a 5 year old to this movie and why would you sit behind the handicapped row? The little girl cried throughout the movie because she was scared. I felt bad for the little girl and the grandma because grandma must be an angry person to have the nerve to complain to me. Thank God Breanna didn’t hear the woman and I didn’t let her bother me. Bre and I had a great evening. 🎥 🍦
We have been cooped up a lot due to the heat but Bre actually wanted to go out and see fireworks tonight! I was so excited! We went to Plainwell’s airport to watch them go off. We parked and stayed in the car with the air conditioning on. Bre is in pain in the heat and/or humidity so she has to stay where it is cool. We had extra space between the vehicles where we parked which was nice. At one point, the guy next to me tapped on my window, I rolled it down and he was so pissed about my vehicle being on. He was angry that he and his family had to smell my exhaust. I told him my daughter was handicapped, the heat caused her extreme pain, and I had to leave the air conditioning on. I cried and told him I was sorry. I cried a bit during the fireworks but I did calm down. When the fireworks were finished I got out and politely, while my voice was cracking and tears were dropping, told him who Bre used to be when she was healthy, I told him about her disease and what it is doing to her, I told him about what her life entails now and about the funeral I get to plan for her in the future. I said my only hope in telling him all this is that the next time he is not happy with a situation he might be more polite because you never know what the other person’s life is like. He said he would in a way like a child does when they have been scolded by a parent. I could tell he felt terrible. I wished him and his family a happy 4th and that I hoped he had a good night. I purposely was very nice to make sure he realized what a horrible thing he did. He had his head down and we left. I balled before I got back in the vehicle with Bre. Bre was oblivious to the entire situation. Twice in one week with such inconsiderate people. I want to say this memory was not the greatest for me but I was proud of myself for how I handled the situation and I realized I would never have been this well-rounded of a person if it weren’t for Breanna. I think tonight Bre helped me and this man to be better people. I normally am not this vocal about mine and Brea’s life and what we deal with but I thought this was important to share, not just on my Huntington’s disease sites, but also on my personal page.