The Hummer's Story

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I am one of 5 children all older. No one has CF but me. I Have two children, girls born 7/11/87 and 5/9/90; their names are Caroline and Bonnie. My children are symptom free but of course they are carriers if they don’t have CF. They have not been tested since there are no symptoms of the disease. I was misdiagnosed for years. I started getting sick in the 70’s when I developed staph pneumonia at college. It went untreated for awhile, until my parents came and got me and put me in the hospital. I had several tests that summer including a bronchoscope and a bronchogram. This was before flexible tubing and the scope was rigid! I felt worse coming out of the hospital than when I went in. The diagnosis was allergies and bronchiectesis and the Dr. wanted to remove part of my lungs! My father said no way,so I kept my lungs and moved to Arizona where the climate was supposed to be good for me. I lived there for 6 years and finished college and met my husband. I still had sinus problems and bronchitis, but I was able to get through them and stay physically active. I jogged, rode bikes and did other activities. My husband and I moved to Austin Texas in 1984. I had repeated lung infections and saw a pulmonary doctor. His diagnosis was chronic bronchitis, but I was culturing psuedemonas. I was put on IV antibiotics and was allowed to do them at home. However, I had to go to the emergency rooms to have my heparin lock changed. I don’t know if this was before home health or not, but I spent hours in the emergency room waiting. I got pregnant through insemination in 1987. It only took two tries for the inseminations to work. Very unromantic, I will say! I was extremely sick with pneumonia during my pregnancy and lost weight. I also was on IV tobra and something else. My daughter was born on her due date and weighed 9lbs and 6 oz. Everyone was amazed at her size. I looked awful, but as soon as I delivered I was hungry again. I had another daughter three years later and after an even more difficult pregnancy. I felt pretty good until 7 months along and then I got a bowel obstruction. I was immediately sent to the hospital where they tried all kinds of enemas, oral meds and other things to relieve it. I had emergency surgery and they moved Bonnie out of the way and were able to manually move the obstruction without surgery on my bowel. I was sewn up and stayed in the hospital on a morphine pump for 10 days. I remember nothing of this except the day the nurse came in and said it was time for me to take a shower! I must have smelled and looked pretty bad. I went home only to return a week later with pneumonia. I was put on IV’s and able to go home to do them with a home health nurse. Bonnie was born on time and weighed an incredible 9lbs 9 oz. I was checked repeatedly for diabetes and it came up negative. I went in weekly for sonograms and she was supposed to be 6-7 lbs. Another healthy baby. I immediately regained my appetite again and my health improved. Needless to say, that was it for me and having children. About three months later I had the blood test that confirmed CF. I sought out a clinic for adults and drove to Houston. I go down 4 times a year unless I am having problems. I had had a drop in my FEV1 so I go more often. It is great to be at a place that really recognizes my symptoms and problems and treats them appropriately. My local pulmonary doctors just had no experience with adults and CF, not suprisingly.

— By Elizabeth Hummer, August 28, 2001