About Jacob Whitler

ThanksTHanksJune 18th, 2014- Join us as at Pizza Ranch located at 3451 Mountain Lion Dr. Loveland, CO 80537 from 4pm-9pm.

Pizza Ranch is donating 10% of all proceeds of their dinner buffet to COTA in honor of Jacob.

- See more at: http://www.cotaforjacobw.com/node/315#sthash.3YnpDMFM.dpuf

Every expectant woman is asked numerous times during her pregnancy “Do you want your baby to be a Boy- or a Baby Girl?  Some people respond “I just want to have a healthy baby.”   After my first ultrasound, I found myself saying the later- I just want to have a healthy baby.  

When a Nurse runs out of the room in the middle of an Ultrasound quickly to find a Doctor, you know it can’t be good news.  I remember praying “Just let my baby be ok.” The Doctor could see on the ultrasound that there were problems with my baby’s kidneys and ureters- they appeared very swollen.  Something he called Hydronephrosis. The Doctor said until the baby was born, there would be no way to predict how well the kidneys would or would not function.  We just had to wait and see.

After stress-filled months of blood tests, ultrasounds and numerous amniocentesis- Jacob Matthew Whitler was born on February 24, 1998. The first thing Jacob did after he was born was pee- which according to the Doctors was a really good sign that his kidneys were functioning. Day one of Jacobs’s life was uneventful. Day 2 started out the same.   We planned on getting discharged from the hospital after the Doctor got the results from the ultrasound and blood work. But the test results came back critical. They showed that Jacob’s kidneys were failing. The Nurse ran into room and grabbed Jacob out of his bassinet and everything else from that point on happened very quickly. I felt instantly numb and prayed for strength.  Within the hour we were rushed to a waiting helicopter and flown to Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver. On Day 3, Jacob had emergency surgery.

The official diagnosis was Hydronephrosis with Grade Five Reflux. Translated- it meant swelling of the kidneys with reverse flow of urine through the ureters.  This reverse flow of urine during the pregnancy had caused damage to both Kidneys.  The surgery took 4 hours to complete and at the end was deemed a success- they had successfully replanted the ureters, correcting the reflux issues.

Complications after surgery kept Jacob in the hospital for the next month, but at discharge, Jacobs kidney function was better than initially expected. Close monitoring over the next couple of years showed stable kidney function. But then, out of the blue, at a routine appointment 10 years later, we were shocked to learn Jacob’s Kidney Function had decreased significantly.  By the time we left the office that day, Jacob was prescribed 6 new medications, had to follow a strict new diet, and was scheduled for numerous other tests.  The plan - correct what we could with medications and diet.  The prognosis- wait and see how the Kidneys responded.

By the time Jacob was 15 Years old his kidney function was declining rapidly. It was obvious a kidney transplant was inevitable.  It’s hard as a parent to wrap your head around all of what that entails for your child, and your life.  Every step of the transplant planning process is an emotional rollercoaster.  During a particularly stressful time I found myself praying. After the prayer I felt suddenly peaceful. - I KNEW-somehow-   Everything was going to be o.k.

The very next week, COTA was introduced to our family.  Honestly, when I first heard of COTA it was very overwhelming to me.  The thought of doing one more thing at such a busy, stressful time was something I had no energy to even consider.  But as I learned more about the organization, I quickly began to see how partnering with them could be an invaluable part of Jacobs’s upcoming journey towards transplant.

From the start, COTA offered their assistance- and expected absolutely nothing in return. They exist solely to help families through their transplant journey.  Everyone I have had contact with in the organization has been compassionate and optimistic. What people need to know about COTA is that they require so very little of you- the parent of an ill child.  Their expertise is in coordinating your team of willing volunteers to fundraise on behalf of your child.  What I have found is that there are people in your life who really want to do something to help you- but often they don’t know what to do to help.  COTA partners with these people and assists them in their efforts to help. And for that I am eternally grateful.

I’m not sure where we’ll be a couple of months from now after transplant, but I have Faith and confidence that it will be right where we’re supposed to be.