The Diagnosis: MIS-C: Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome-Children
The thermometer read 104.6, after my seven-year-old daughter, Bella, had taken Motrin just two hours before. She lay there, swollen eyed and limp. For six days, she’d complained her neck hurt, and required my help in raising her up off the bed. If my fingers grazed her stomach, she winced. “I have boo boos in there,” she’d said. The diagnosis by an on-call pediatrician was “stomach bug,” but by the sixth night of battling high fevers, everything in my Momma spirit screamed, I’m losing her! This was not an ordinary stomach bug. By mid-morning, my husband, Jay, and I checked her into Arnold Palmer emergency room.
The nurse felt her neck, and Bella squirmed. “Sweety, does this hurt when I touch you?”
“Yes.” Normally shy, Bella had to use her voice because nodding hurt.
“We may be dealing with meningitis here,” the nurse had said. My stomach clinched. I’d already read up on meningitis, lying beside Bella night after night in my search for answers, and I was aware the testing required a needle plunge into her spine.
Immediately, they took her back, and after drawing blood and seeing an abnormal white blood count, the doctor returned with a diagnosis I’d never heard of.
Similar to Kawasaki Disease, MIS-C is a rare multi-system inflamatory syndrome from having Covid-19. Due to having an easy case of Covid-19 a month before, Bella’s own immune system now attacked her organs, causing them all to inflame. The organs affected by MIS-C include heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, skin, eyes, brain, and gastrointestinal organs.
Suddenly we were bombarded by a team of doctors, including Infectious Disease, Pediatrician, Rheumatologist, Pathologist, and a Cardiologist, who made their rounds each day. She was administered antibodies through an IV and given steroids and aspirin.
The day we took her to the emergency room, her skin began sprouting these perfect little circles.
Organs Affected by MIS-C:
Heart, Lungs, Kidneys, Liver, Skin, Eyes, Brain, Gastrointestinal.
If your child complains of neck pain, has a high fever, and she or he has already had Covid-19, especially if they breezed through it like Bella did, don’t wait for it to travel to their intestines.
Seek help and insist on a blood analysis for MIS-C.
Awareness of Not Only MIS-C:
Today, I wanted bring awareness to MIS-C; being so new, most pediatricians don’t know to look for it, but I also wanted to write this blog to share what God has taught me through a rough summer. I know I’m not alone in feeling as if life seems to have been one sandstorm after another lately. When the scorching winds roll through, carrying sand so thick you’re unable to see what’s ahead or even breathe at times. When you’re thirsty for the Living Water to just show up.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble.” Psalms 107:1-2 (ESV)
The Revelation Beyond MIS-C:
I realized something during Bella’s illness…the Father finds ways of showing you He’s there with you, but if your eyes are solely focused on the sand and how to escape the storm, you’ll miss it.
One afternoon, during our hospital stay, the nurses told Bella that there would be a hospital Bingo game at 1:30 pm. Bella had been painting from the time she could sit up, and had her artwork hung on all the walls. She kept asking me “When’s Bingo Momma?” To the point that I couldn’t wait for Bingo time to arrive. The entertainment lady brought us the cards and coins to play Star Wars Bingo.
Great I thought. I didn’t get past the Empire Strikes Back, and this card had all the new characters as well as the old. How would I know which was which?
“Momma, I don’t know what this is about.” Bella said, scrunching her nose.
I plastered on a smile, while turning our tv to the channel they instructed us to. “We’ll figure it out.”
In that moment I thought, I hope she wins, so I could see her smile again. That day her IV had been removed because the doctor discovered her arm had swelled up. She’d had a rough time, crying, “Momma please help me, it hurts Mommy,” as the nurse moved the straw, trying to get more blood from it.
“Bella, you have to be tough. There’s nothing I can do.”
Why didn’t I check her arm? I could’ve seen what it was doing to her.
God’s the Living Water in MIS-C:
I sat down, ready to play BINGO. Immediately, I had a flashback to a writer’s conference I had attended. I was four weeks out from having a double-mastectomy, and still feeling pain in my chest. I sat in the pew holding a raffle ticket, thinking, I never win anything like this. And just as the thought entered my mind, I felt God impress on me my number would be called. Just as I dismissed the thought, the host called my number. On the prize table, I saw the exact book I’d talked myself out of buying the day before, sitting amongst the prize options. I couldn’t believe it, and I knew God was showering me with the waters of His love in that moment.
Settling in for Bingo, I wrapped my arm around Bella. The host appeared on the tv. He called out “Darth Vader” and a picture of Darth Vader appeared split screen. “See? We don’t have to know the characters,” I said.
“I’ve got it!” Bella said, putting her paper coin over the spot. Then again. Then again. I felt God’s still small voice. Just as you won that night. She will win today.
Minutes later, Bella became the first winner, and as soon as I made the call into the game host, her doctors flooded the room and surrounded us. One reached to mute the tv.
Bella raised the remote to her ear and peered over the heads of her doctors. Greedy little monster filled with steroids was in it to win all the games.
She didn’t win again. Once was enough.
God Showers Blessing and Hope:
By the time the prize cart showed up, she’d exhausted herself asking when it was coming and fell asleep.
The prize guy glanced over at her. “Well, how about this, and this, and here’s some nail polish, and a jewelry making kit and a stuffed turtle,” he said. ” I mean she’s sleeping, so I want to give her a few things, since she didn’t get to pick for herself.”
It was like Christmas, or at least a birthday, for the little girl who’d just turned seven the week before. For the girl who flipped to the same page in the cake catalogue for six months, “Don’t forget Momma, this is the cake I want for my birthday.” Her finger landing on a cake in the shape of a cross.
“But honey, I think this is a funeral cake. Wouldn’t you prefer a princess one?”
“No, this one’s beautiful. Won’t Jesus be so happy I shared my birthday with Him?”
So, the week before she became sick, suffering embarrassment at the grocery store bakery, I ordered my daughter a funeral cake instead of a birthday cake. (I admit, this crept up on me as she became sicker the following week.)
While that young boy filled my arms with gifts, I felt overcome by God’s love for a sick, little girl willing to share her birthday with Him.
While God allows us to endure more than we can handle on our own, He also blesses us more than we deserve.
Throughout my life, I’ve found it’s God’s nature to find ways to send living water to us in the middle of a sandstorm. When we take our eyes off the storm and become still in faith and acceptance of His will, it is then we feel the sprinkle of hope through glimpses of His goodness.
If you’re feeling trapped and parched as I’ve been, know there’s rain ahead. Keep focused on the coming sprinkles because you don’t want to miss the shower.
Update on Bella:
Bella is now home under continued care. From what we can see, the only inflammation left is in the arteries surrounding the right side of her heart. She’s now off her steroids which have left her with a round belly and face, but she’s back at school and up to her usual antics.
God brought us through another sandstorm.
When we take our eyes off the storm and become still in faith and acceptance of His will, it is then we feel the sprinkle of hope through glimpses of His goodness.
Finding Hope in Your Sandstorm:
I hope you’ll allow the following scriptures to shower you in hope. All taken from the English Standard Version.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalms 55:22
But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Jesus speaking.) John 16:33
Be blessed. Until next time…
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House. She’s happily married and the mother of four children: three boys ages 22, 20, 17, and little Bella who’s seven. When she’s not writing, Tammy’s other passions are painting, Bible study, and interior design projects. She resides full time in Orlando, Florida. If you’d like to connect with Tammy you can find her contact information under the “About Us” tab on the homepage.