Three days after a family outing, Annalisa’s older sister and mom, Kate, were admitted to the hospital with bronchitis. Annalisa seemed fine, but a nurse checked her oxygen saturation levels to be safe.
She was at 70 percent saturation and dropping quickly. 6-month-old Annalisa was immediately put on oxygen and admitted.
Annalisa was placed in a crib pumping in albuterol and oxygen with her mom by her side. Two weeks later, still on oxygen, Annalisa was admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado and diagnosed with interstitial lung disease which affects the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lungs. Doctors warned that Annalisa might not have much time.
“It could be tomorrow, next week, next month, it could be this year, it could be 4 years,” said Kate.
A housefire brings a fresh start and opportunities
Eight months later, Annalisa was allowed to go home. Kate had environmental and air quality tests done and did mold remediation. The day the family was set to finally move back in to their home on the ranch, a construction accident set their home on fire and left it a toxic hazmat site.
Kate said the fire was a curse and a blessing. “I could rebuild to suit Annalisa’s needs so she didn’t have to fight every day just to breathe,” she said.
Kate added air purifiers and scrubbers to the house along with a few extra goodies since Annalisa was confined to their home such as a bunk bed with slide, hidden passageways, an indoor rollercoaster, a black-light-lit gymnasium attic and a captain’s ladder to the basement.
Annalisa's lifestyle and home improves her health and gets her back to school
Kate and Annalisa’s doctors found that life on the ranch was a health benefit. After much testing and experimentation, doctors encouraged a special diet and feeding regimen. The majority of Annalisa’s calories come from raw dairy produced on the farm which boosts her immune system so she no longer needs IVIG antibody treatment.
“You are what you breathe, you are what you eat, you are what you drink,” said Kate.
Annalisa is no longer confined to her home and has started going to school. Despite requiring oxygen 24/7 and a plethora of medication, she is an active 8-year-old. However, without oxygen, she de-saturates within minutes.
“She impresses me with her attitude and approach to things,” said Kate. “She doesn’t feel sorry for herself.”
Annalisa wants to be a veterinarian and live on the ranch when she grows up, just like her mom.