Fighting for Michaela | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | January 5, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: January 5, 2017 at 8:10 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
“Thank you all so much for being faithful in your prayers – they are working!” – Robin Barnes, Michaela’s mother.
Michaela Barnes Busch is a 22-year-old daughter (Robin and John), a sister (Laurel, Sophia, Olivia and Victoria), a wife (Colton) and a mother (Andi) who has been in the Intensive Care Unit of MUSC since Sunday Dec. 18 battling a perplexing and very serious illness.
In the last several days, doctors have diagnosed Michaela with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common virus which can infect people of all ages. In most cases, CMV lies dormant and shows no symptoms. However, it can cause serious problems for those with weakened immune systems.
Robin, Michaela’s mom, is a long-time health science educator with the Colleton County School District. On December 22, she made her first request on social media asking for prayers for Michaela. “Michaela had worsened without any clear diagnosis,” said Robin in the Facebook post. “This morning it was discovered her lungs are filling with fluid, so she has been placed on a ventilator. More tests are being done to find a cause.”
That post would be the first of what would become daily updates, each allowing the community to stay updated and joined in prayer for Michaela. This is her story — through her mother’s eyes.
“Michaela started running a fever, so she went to her doctor on Monday Dec. 12,” said Robin. “They thought she had a strain of flu and put her on antibiotics. On Wednesday, her temperature went to 103 degrees. We took her back to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and they changed her antibiotic. Friday, she went back for a chest x-ray, but the following day her temperature was back to 103 degrees. Because she has ulcerative colitis (irritable bowel disease), we were advised to take her to MUSC. There, they ruled out her gallbladder and began treating her for a kidney infection.”
Unfortunately, things would worsen for Michaela and by Sunday her temperature hovered around 105 degrees. “She was declared a medical emergency and admitted to ICU,” said Robin. “They began a combination of antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals — the medical team treated her for all types of infections.”
Over the next few days, Michaela’s blood pressure dropped, her respiratory rate and heart rate increased and her temperature stayed high. “On Wednesday Dec. 21, they attempted to place a central line, but she was so dehydrated, they were unsuccessful until the following day,” said Robin. “Her lungs were filling with fluid, she was on 10 liters of oxygen and her respiratory rate was high, so they made the decision to intubate her.”
Following a bone marrow biopsy on Friday, the medical team believed it was possible Michaela had a very rare disorder called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), in which the immune system goes haywire and attacks the body. “The treatment for HLH was chemotherapy and steroids, but we were still not given a good diagnosis,” said Robin. “Although the team did not come out and say it, they did not give us much hope for her survival because they could not find the source of the infection.”
On December 27, after many prayers and through many tears, Michaela’s family received some very welcome news. “After 2-3 days of steroids and one chemo treatment, they received the results from the bone marrow biopsy,” said Robin. “It was discovered that Michaela has cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is the source of the infection. Because of her ulcerative colitis (which is like Crohn’s except it only affects the colon), she must take an immunosuppressant. When she was in the ninth grade she had mononucleosis, which can be caused by Epstein Barr virus or cytomegalovirus (CMV). Because of the immunosuppressant, she was taking for the ulcerative colitis, the CMV reactivated and grew throughout her body.”
Since the improved diagnosis, Michaela has begun to battle the CMV and its effect on her system. She remains in ICU and continues to fight a very high fever, which is believed to be her body fighting the CMV. According to Robin, the medical team at MUSC continues to monitor her progress and is working hard to find the right combination of medication and treatment.
With her husband and family surrounding Michaela, the fight is on to reunite this beautiful young woman with her beloved daughter, Andi. “It is so amazing that God has been speaking to us and showing us that He is here with us, even in the deep hours of the night,” said her mother, Robin. “God will be glorified.”
To help Michaela’s family with the mounting medical costs and help offset expenses, a Busch Family BBQ Plate Fundraiser is planned for Saturday Jan. 28 at North Walterboro Baptist Church. The dinner will be held from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the cost for each plate is a $10 donation. Tickets are available for purchase through January 20 from the following locations: The Press and Standard, Hill Tire, Griffin Jewelers and The Flower Barn. “We want to thank everyone in advance for their help, support and prayers,” said Hunter Hall, Michaela’s brother-in-law.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Hall at (843) 908-1988 or Alex Hall (843) 893-6635.