Thursday, December 04, 2008

No More Lupron Shots

One of the unfortunate side effects of what in all likelihood is Shaken Baby Syndrome for Alice is that the damage to her developing brain also affected her pituitary gland. This, in turn, caused her pituitary gland to become active well before its appointed time, causing her to enter puberty during her toddler and preschooler years.

Were we to allow this to continue, Alice's full adult height would have remained at wherever she was when her period began... and if that was when she was four years old, well, then, that's how tall she'd stay for the rest of her life.

So to induce "arrested development," we had to give her body an ongoing STOP sign. Starting at every 28 days and eventually having to move it to every 25 days, we had to administer an injection of Lupron® (leuprolide acetate, 11.25mg).

Did you know that one single Lupron injection costs well over a thousand dollars?

We've been able to manage the co-pays all these years, but this year we had to change plans because of financial hardship, and it made our co-pay for this injection jump exponentially.

I was relieved, then, when on Tuesday I took Alice to her regular visit with the pediatric endocrinologist and Dr. Tannin said it was time to stop the Lupron shots.

I'm not looking forward to the obvious and inescapable consequences of this cessation. She may be nearly thirteen chronologically, but she's nowhere near that mentally. And may never be. But we're not the first parents of a mentally-disabled daughter to have to face the physical maturation of a permanently-immature person.

What we're going to do is --eventually-- begin her on oral contraceptives. This should at least help us know precisely when to expect the monthly cycle AND help her cycle to be light.

I am certainly glad about never having to jab a needle into her thin little thigh every twenty-five days. That was a HUGE bummer and no-one else would do it, not even my dad.

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