Out of Breath

So I’ve been doing some practice hiking…  I’m a little concerned – how does someone in Iowa train for a hike in the Sierras?   It’s hard for me to find a 500 foot elevation change, much less cover a 6000-foot elevation difference in a 10-mile hike!

Although – I doubt if it would matter much if I could find one…  I’m out of breath if I have a 50-foot elevation change in 50 yards!   And that’s at sea level – I can only imagine how out of breath I’ll be hiking in the thin atmosphere up around 10,000 feet.  The view will be breathless, I’m sure – and so will I!

But I’m doing this in honor of our little Charlie Grace.. She struggles with a disease called histiocytosis, and the focus of its attack on her body has been in her lungs.   The story of our battle with histiocytosis first began when we had an oral surgeon remove a cyst on her gums that wouldn’t go away (later it was determined to be a manifestation of histiocytosis).  A biopsy revealed that it was a benign granuloma, and about 6 weeks later, the oral surgeon ordered a CT-scan to determine whether she had successfully removed all of it from her gums/jaw.

The CT-scan revealed that indeed it had been removed successfully.  But she was so tiny, the scan of her jaw also caught the top part of her lungs, and we were immediately referred to a pulminologist.  Subsequent full-chest x-rays and scans  looked like those of a 70-year-old that had smoked for a lifetime!  After a battery of tests – including an open-lung biopsy – we finally had a diagnosis of histiocytosis.  This is a disease where histiocytes (which everyone has) are overproduced, and they begin to cluster in areas of the body where they should never amass.   These areas are generally referred to as lesions, and Charlie had them in her skull, gums, ears, and lungs.

She’s responded well to treatment, and to prayer (not necessarily in that order)!   Thankfully, all systems seem to have healed completely, except a couple of spots that are of concern in her lungs (18 months ago, there was so much histiocytosis manifest in her lungs that doctors could not count the lesions).  However, the disease has left much scarring and holes (or very thin walls) in her lungs.  We’re believing for her complete healing, because without a miracle Charlie will probably never have much aerobic endurance.

Charlie loves to run and play hard – but in just a short time she is breathing heavily.   She has an excuse – I don’t!  So I’m doing this hike…  the whole hike!   And every time I have to stop and lean on my trekking poles to catch my breath – I’ll remember why I’m doing this.

Please help us make a difference for Charlie Grace, and others like her, by donating in honor of her to The Histio CURE Foundation.   100% of your tax-deductible donation will go to fund Histiocytosis research.


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