Unfortunately, every test that the doctors administered to try to understand the drop in Deana’s hemoglobin levels came back negative. “The only sign of an explanation was a minimal amount of blood found in her stool,” said Karen. “But that was it.”
As such, the doctors were unable to come up with a specific diagnosis for Deana’s condition. But Karen said both she and Deana felt very comfortable with the doctors, including Toni Webster, DO, a pediatric gastroenterologist, and Lawrence Wolfe, MD, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, and also with Chris, a beloved nurse practitioner who was with Deana all the way. Everyone took the time to listen. Even in the absence of a concrete definition of the problem, Karen said that kind of time and attention really helped.
“I definitely feel like Dr. Webster really cares about her patients and what she’s doing. She really takes the time and listens to everything I have to say, to every question I have,” said Karen. “Even to this day, even if she’s off hours and I call her, she’ll immediately call us back. She always makes me feel more comfortable, helping me feel like I’m making the right decisions for Deana.”
Once Deana came home, her condition required her to visit Cohen Children’s and Dr. Webster every two weeks to check her levels and receive intravenous (IV) infusions to build her iron stores. At first, Deana was very scared of the needles. But the child life specialists gave her a doll to help her understand the procedure—and even allowed her to administer IVs to the doll itself.
“She really clung to that doll—it helped her feel so much better every time she was getting her own needle,” said Karen. “It really helped her to get over her fear psychologically.”
Right after Deana was first released from Cohen Children’s, she had an emotional return to the soccer field, with all the teams in the league welcoming her back with her jersey number painted on their faces.
“These girls were all there when the ambulance came, and they were worried about her,” said Karen. “We brought her to a tournament right after she came home. She couldn’t play yet, but everyone wanted to know she was OK. It was a real bonding moment for all of them—and just so cute.”