Thursday, January 10, 2013

strawberry hemangioma...update!

On my blog, I have a little stat tracker. Mostly just to see if anyone actually reads this thing. Not that it matters, I do it for myself (mostly). I've come to terms with the fact that I will never be a "popular" blogger with thousands of followers who don't even know me -- but, they find my life interesting enough to keep coming back. I guess I should probably update more than once a month if that, but hey...a girl can dream, right? ;)

Anyway, I digress. So, I did notice, however, that a lot of people visiting my blog on a pretty regular basis are strangers (hi, avid googlers!)..and they found me via my original post on Audrey's strawberry hemangioma. I'm assuming they are looking for information themselves (cause really, why else would someone google "strawberry hemangioma"?). So, because of this, I thought I'd do an update about it, incase anyone going through a similar situation might be looking for some sort of help, if you will.

If you recall my blog post from several months ago, we hadn't done anything about Audrey's hemangioma. Her pediatrician said it was nothing to worry about, and that we would just watch it.
Fast forward to end of July, beginning of August. Our little wild child started crawling, and thus, bumping her head on things. Because of this, we became slightly terrified that if she were to bump her head hard enough, and in the right spot, her hemangioma could burst open. And well, as you all know, a hemangioma is nothing but dialated blood vessels..and dialated blood vessels equals blood. Lots of it. That, and she had bumped it just enough to bruise it, thus causing a couple little ulcers on it. At that point, we knew it was time to get a second opinion.

I made an appointment for the (only) pediatric dermatologist in Pittsburgh. The initial appointment went very well. The doctor decided to start her on a topical beta blocker medication called Timolol. It's a painless medication we put on her 2x a day, with zero side effects (our main priority/concern). At that point, our main goal was just to stop it from growing anymore. It was a little "late in the game" to hope for it to get smaller, but if it did, it would be a nice bonus. While the appointment went great and we were happy to have a plan in action, we were slightly disappointed by her regular pediatrician. The things she told us about the heman going away on its own were true, but she failed to mention that there were some treatment options that did not cause pain, and could have essentially stopped it from growing hardly at all. But, not all pediatricians are completely educated on them, and thats okay. My hope, through this post, is for anyone else that might be told to "just watch it" -- feel free to not take no for an answer. Get that second opinion if you think you need it!
Audrey was on the Timolol for not even a month and we began noticing a difference. It did not get smaller (maybe slightly) but the redness of it decreased drastically. We noticed it, but people who did not see her on a daily basis noticed it even more. When we returned for a follow up appointment, the doctor was very impressed with the results, and decided to stick with the topical treatment. She will not return to the dermatologist until next month, but I am certain our current treatment will remain in place.
Since August, we've seen a huge improvement. It had shrunk (not, not drastically, but its definitely smaller in diameter and puffiness) and as for the color, its very light now. It's almost flesh colored in certain spots. So, I can say that we are very pleased with the decision we made. I only wish we had decided to do it sooner, but we know it will continue to improve and soon enough, won't be there anymore :) If you are reading this and can relate..share your own story. I'd love to hear it!