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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all mothers had a great day today! I hope all children were nice to their moms! ;0)
We went to the cemetery to visit my mom's mom, my 2 sisters Mandy & Ashley and my lil bro Justin. Then we all went back to my house and my sister and I made dinner for everyone.

It is so hard to believe just 1 year ago today Justin's battle ended and our battle began! I feel like this year has gone by so fast however I feel like it has been so long since I've seen or talked to my little brother. It feels like just yesterday I was going to sleep scared out of my mind that my phone was going to ring any min and tell me to come say goodbye. Tonight it has been exactly 1 year since I left the hospital feeling so helpless and scared. And at 2 am it will be exactly 1 year that my mom called and told me it's time. May 12th will always be the happiest day of my life as well as the saddest. It is the day I married my best friend as well as the day (one year later) I lost my little brother.

To me May 12 is my little brother's 1 year anniversary of receiving his wings so I feel privileged to be able to share that special day as my wedding anniversary as well.

We have come so far and met so many people in the last year. We have so much more to do and so many more Dr.'s to teach and get in front of to help us fight this disease. All we can do right now is talk and hand out brochures and teach everyone we know. We have been told by many people that we need to get this in front of Oprah! ;0) That would be amazing if we could catch her eye. Maybe one day we will. Thank you to everyone for helping us along the way! I have had so many people ask me how they can help and all we can do right now is talk talk talk. Pass out brochures, try to get Doctors involved and help us spread the word! Lemierre's Syndrome is what the CDC concider a "Orphan disease"
A disease which has not been "adopted" by the pharmaceutical industry because it provides little financial incentive for the private sector to make and market new medications to treat or prevent it.
An orphan disease may be:
A rare disease. According to US criteria, an orphan disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people. (There are more than 5,000 such rare disorders.)
A common disease that has been ignored (such as tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, and malaria) because it is far more prevalent in developing countries than in the developed world. (www.medterms.com)
I'm not really sure what we can do to get this disease in front of their face and make them see it is coming back and Doctors right now do not know enough about it to stop it.
I have emailed them 4 times in the last few months so maybe if we all shoot an email to them putting Lemierre's in front of their face and make them see we need to teach Doctors about this disease! All we can do is try and it is something that only takes a few min. www.cdc.gov
Thank you!
Love,
Tammy

3 comments:

Jessica said...

You are making such a difference! Be proud of the work you're doing... I'm sure Justin is!

Bernadette said...

Awww Jessica I am soo sorry for your loss. I lost my brother so I know how it feels!!!! My daughter is now in the hospital fighting Lemierres. I thank God she was sent to a hospital that knew of it. St Christopher's in Philadelphia is an excellent hospital and I am beyond thankful. I know so many Drs and nurses are unaware. My sister who is an RN with the highest degrees has never heard of it. Everyone needs to be aware as I have researched and it is not really that uncommon anymore. You have become an angel with your brother. Keep up the good work and if you need any support or anything at all please just e mail. I understand : (

Train said...

Tammy,

Just wanted to let you know that I'm doing well and I have started my own blog and I hope that it gets my story out there. I have started from the first but, I wanted to tell you that my PICC line comes out today and the ID doctors don't want to see me again.....so excited

http://isurviedlemierresyndrome.blogspot.com/


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Justin's news article in the West Magazine

This was taken from http://www.westnewsmagazine.com/news02.html

Rockwood student dies rapidly from little-known disease
By Diane Plattner

In April, Eureka High School student Justin Rodgers began to complain of a severe sore throat and was dead approximately one month later from an unfamiliar disease. Now, his mother hopes to spread awareness about the deadly disease.
Justin died in the early morning hours of May 12, the day after Mother’s Day, after losing a battle with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a serious bacteria that is not well-known and even doctors are prone to misdiagnose the disease. Unfortunately, Rodgers’ doctor was among that group after initially diagnosing him with strep throat on April 11, said Sheryl Rodgers, Justin’s mother.
“Justin had said, ‘Mom, this is the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life,’” Rodgers said.
She said that Justin’s doctor took no throat culture and gave her son medicine for strep throat. She said her son’s condition worsened over the next few days during which he had increased high fever, chest pain and a lump in his neck. On April 14, Rodgers took her son to St. Anthony’s Hospital, which transported him overnight to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where he underwent extensive testing, including X-rays and blood work, Rodgers said.
Rodgers said that hospital officials diagnosed him with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a bacteria that can surface after mouth trauma. Last July, Justin was in a car accident that resulted in mouth injuries that required him to get major dental work, including a recent new tooth. In addition, Justin had suffered a broken nose just before the onset of his sore throat, his mother said.
“I wonder if all this woke up the bacteria, which was already living in the body,” Rodgers said.
The last time Rodgers saw him fully awake was a few days later, when hospital officials decided to place her son on a respirator and sedate him with drugs.
“He was out of it but still with us then,” Rodgers said. “He would frown when the doctors worked on him. So he had some responses.”
However, Justin’s lungs kept collapsing, prompting hospital doctors by April 25 to place him on an ECMO machine to help rest his lungs and heart. Doctors at that point also put him into an induced coma, Rodgers said.
“At that point there was no response from Justin,” Rodgers said. “Still, I talked to him and rubbed his sore spots to let him know we were there.”
By Mother’s Day, Justin was leaking too much blood, prompting doctors to decide to remove him from the ECMO, a move they said was risky if his lungs were not healed enough.
“Once they took him off the ECMO, Justin’s face was getting gray,” Rodgers said. “He was holding his own for a few hours, but then he starting going downhill.”
Justin died early the next morning following Mother’s Day with his immediate family, including three older siblings, by his side, Rodgers said.
“He was our baby,” Rodgers said. “I think the hospital tried to keep him going so he did not die on Mother’s Day.”
The tragedy is not the first for the Rodgers family. They also lost a 4-year-old child in a horseback riding accident and had a stillborn child many years ago, Rodgers said.
“I thought God could not possibly do this to us again,” Rodgers said. “I asked why again, why us. But there is no answer. Here we are walking on egg shells again.”
Rodgers said she was at least thankful that Justin’s funeral was so big that people were standing outside, a huge tribute to his life. She also hopes to honor his life with a campaign to help spread awareness about Lemierre’s Syndrome, which she said often hits people between the ages of 14 and 25. It is not spread by kissing but instead lives in the body, she said. Her goal is to make people, including doctors, more aware of its symptoms so they are not mistaken for strep throat.
“I do not want Justin to have died in vain,” Rodgers said. “This is one bad bacteria. It is very serious. People should not treat it lightly.”
To learn more about Lemierre’s Syndrome, visit the Rodgers’ family Web site at lemierresyndromejrodgers.blogspot.com.