What in the world is Hypogammaglobulinemia?
Hypogammaglobulinemia is a disorder where the immune system doesn't make certain antibodies to fight infection or illness. People with this are more susceptible to bacterial or viral infections. The Dr. tests Isaac about every 6 months to see if his numbers are improving or getting worse. It is believed that he has somewhat of an immature immune system. So instead of having an immune system like an average 5 year old, it's more like that of a baby. The Dr. says for the amount of tools in the toolbox he has to fight illness, he actually uses them well.
Why does the trach make him prone to certain illnesses?
Most of us breath through our noses that have natural defenses against bacteria. Nasal hair and mucus membranes filter bacteria. People tracheostomies are at higher risk for respiratory infections because the trach tube bypasses those natural defenses. Bacteria usually likes to hang out at the stoma site and stays doormat most of the time, but can sometimes flare up causing a nasty infection. Most of the bacteria he gets sick with wouldn't normally make us sick because we have healthy immune systems and no trach. A very common bacteria present in trach cultures is MRSA. Approximately 1/3 of the population is thought to carry some kind of staph bacteria such as MRSA. In fact many healthcare workers carry it in their noses. When someone carries bacteria, but isn't sick with it's called colonization.
Can't I just give him vitamins or sanitize my house more?
As much as I try to do those things on a regular basis, the reality is Isaac will still be very prone to illness wherever we go, but we do the best we can. There are other options, such as IVIG treatment that would require us to see a specialist in Seattle and for him to go to the hospital regularly for infusion. The Dr. so far doesn't think we need to go that route since so far since things are slowly improving/not getting worse.
OK Whew! Thanks for sticking with me. I leave you with a sweet picture of Isaac and Daddy having tickle time together. He may be a complex little boy, but he's lots of fun!