A mother says a few months ago, doctors at Vanderbilt saved her little girl's life. She had a rare disease with no known cause. Now, that mother's sending a warning to other parents.
"You wanna help me color it?" Melissa Rivera asked her five-year-old daughter Sabrina while setting a coloring book on the table.
"Uh huh," Sabrina answered.
There are no greater moments than these for Rivera.
It was just last December Sabrina was too tired to color, to even smile.
"She had really, really pink eyes," Rivera remembered, thinking back to when she first noticed something was wrong with her daughter. "Her lips were peeling really bad. Up under her fingernails started peeling. She just wanted to sleep a lot. She could barely hold her head up. It's hard to talk about it, because I have to relive it."
Those effects along with enlarged glands in the neck and fevers that can last more than five days can all be symptoms of the rare Kawasaki Disease. Other symptoms include peeling of the palms or soles of the feet and bright red strawberry tongue. According to WebMD, it's almost always in children under five.
"She looked so bad, we didn't know if she would make it," Rivera remembered. "She looked so sick. This causes inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body to include the heart. The doctors said the Kawasaki disease can cause heart damage in little kids, so it was really scary. Sabrina was lucky she was diagnosed."
After her treatment at Vanderbilt, Rivera said her daughter went through a three-month recuperation. She's doing much better now.
"I was weak," said Sabrina.
"Do you remember being in the hospital?" asked Rivera.
"You want to tell him about it?"
Sabrina nodded her head 'no.'
Rivera just wants other parents to know the symptoms, to know to get treatment and to keep enjoying those great moments with their children.
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