Then Teri became pregnant again—and again found out via a prenatal test that the second daughter she was carrying would have cystic fibrosis. Even though their journey with Mati’s new sister, Charlotte, whom they call Charlie, has been different than Mati’s (she had the upper lobe of her right lung surgically removed), one thing is the same: Dr. Germana has remained both girls’ champion.
That’s important because for both sisters, treatments and clinic visits are a part of life. “As soon as they wake up, they do an inhaler, followed by two nebulizer treatments that take 20 minutes,” Teri explained. Then they do the “vest,” a treatment that involves wearing a special vest that helps shake mucus from their lungs (people with cystic fibrosis can’t easily clear such mucus on their own). After a day of school, they do those treatments again.
“Then it’s time for homework or a sport if it’s a sports day, then dinner and bed,” Teri said. “So in some ways, their life is like other kids’—while in other ways, it’s radically different. The girls both go to bed at 7pm because their treatments are exhausting. And Mati gets hooked up to her feeding tube to help her get extra calories.”
Days in the clinic are different—but there, with the support of a whole team, the girls feel at home and not scared. “Everyone on Dr. Germana’s team is like family,” Teri said. “Nurse Lynn is always in the room, getting the girls what they need or want, like cookies. She talks to them about everything and knows them inside and out.” When Dr. Germana comes in, she asks Mati and Charlie about school and sports before she asks about their cystic fibrosis treatments or symptoms, which means a lot to their mom.
For her operation, Charlie had to be in the hospital over Halloween. But, Teri says, “Dr. Germana came in dressed as an Egyptian princess and brought Charlie tons of chocolate. She found a way to make it special.”