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From: Auckland

My Story

Logan Watson

Logan Watson

Logan was only two weeks old when his parents noticed something was wrong. His twin brother seemed to be alright so his parents took him to the GP. The fungal infection Balanitis was diagnosed and because of the severity of the infection, circumcision was the end result. Every two weeks after that Logan would have another infection somewhere else in his body. To add to this, he had croup two or three times every winter. Unfortunately, as Logan was so sick, his immunizations were delayed, to give him time to heal and settle.

At two years old, after continuous illness, Logan suffered a rash over his body. Testing was done and his parents changed his diet to see if anything could be the cause. After this Logan had multiple stays in Starship up until the age of eight. Everything seemed to come to a head then. Logan was diagnosed with Aspergillus in the lungs and was admitted to North Shore hospital. The doctors found he had pneumonia and dug a little deeper. Finally, Logan and his family had an answer; he was diagnosed with CGD (Chronic Granulomatous Disease). CGD means that a person can’t produce the immunity to fight bacterial or fungal infections. This explained all of Logan’s symptoms and why he struggled to fight off each new infection.

Logan’s diagnosis resulted in a four-month hospital stay. The family also found out that Caleb suffered from the same disease. CGD meant a lifetime of medication or a bone marrow transplant to help the body build an immune system.

At eleven years old, Logan started to have crippling gut issues. This was all tied into his CGD. He was then diagnosed with Colitis and the Crones. Unfortunately, Logan suffers from both conditions. His parents made the decision to home-school him, he then went back to school for year 9. Logan struggled on and off with problems through this period. He had no energy and didn’t grow much. His weight would also fluctuate. He needed the bone marrow transplant.

The decision was made to put him back on the waiting list and start looking for a bone marrow donor again. Logan’s tissue typing was done again and it was found that both he and Caleb had the same tissue type. This means that both boys can have the same bone marrow donor. Some matches were found but it wasn’t until the end of 2019 that a 100% match was found in the United States.

In a horrible twist, two weeks before the transplant was to go ahead, America closed it’s borders due to Covid-19. Logan’s transplant was delayed and the future became uncertain. His Hickman line came out and the waiting game began. Finally, although it’s not a process the medical professionals like to do, Logan had his bone marrow transplant with frozen marrow from his donor. When the news that the marrow had arrived came in, Logan’s mum’s stepmum came down form up north to support Logan and his family.

Logan admits he thought the process was going to be worse. He had been told how terrible a bone marrow transplant and the procedures before and after it would be, but he feels he is lucky that what he did go through wasn’t as bad as what he was told it would be. He didn’t have much pain and was exhausted for the first couple of weeks. However, after the first few days he started feeling nauseous and under the weather.

Rochelle, Logan’s mum says that the first day of chemo wasn’t very nice. Logan’s whole body came up covered in welts but the doctors were able to get it under control with medication. During the second week of chemo Logan started losing his hair which was pretty scarry for Rochelle. Logan became constipated so was given laxatives which then meant he had diarrhoea.

Finally, after all that, Logan was given the marrow from his donor. After having a relatively smooth time in the first part of the process, Logan and his family were unprepared for the sudden reaction he had to the preservative the marrow was kept in. Hives covered his body and he shook uncontrollably. Thankfully, the doctors and nurses were able to get his reaction under control and then stop it completely.

But everything wasn’t smooth sailing after that. Logan’s creatinine levels then spiked. 105-150 is in the normal range. Logans jumped into the 400s. the risk of high creatinine levels is that he would need to go onto dialysis to protect his kidneys. Two days later the levels jumped again up into the 800s. Logan’s kidney’s needed to be flushed out so he was told to drink as much water as possible while the medical professionals tried to figure out what was going on. Finally, the levels jumped to the 1200s. his family thought he would be put onto medication for kidney failure. However, the doctors tweaked one of the medications he was already taking and the levels started to steadily decline.

Despite all this, Logan is still adamant that his experience wasn’t that bad.

Logan hated hospital. He was stuck in bed and because of lockdown and the extra precautions on the ward during Covid, he couldn’t have visitors. It was very isolating. He also struggled to eat because he wasn’t interested in food or was nauseous or sick. Logan also lost his sense of taste halfway through the time in hospital. His grandmother put lots of berries, nuts and good food into smoothies to try and give him good nutrients for his body to keep fighting. But all he wanted was McDonalds. Finally, when his mum was able to get to the hospital from work one day, she relented and Logan got a burger. His sense of smell worked just fine but everything he ate ‘tasted grey’. It was so bad that at one point he didn’t eat for about a week. To help give him nutrients, an NG tube was inserted, something Logan hated because he would vomit it up every time he was sick.

At one point, a change of medication induced high temperatures and Logan had a visit to PICU, however he was back on the ward by the late evening as the problem was sorted out quickly. By day 30 post-transplant, Logan was allowed to come home for a visit. After that there were day visits to hospital and nights were spent at home. After about a week he was discharged.

From then on it was mostly smooth sailing. Resting at home can be a bit boring as all he has to do is to wait for Caleb to get home from school. However, Logan isn’t complaining as he is feeling fine now and only has to have check-ups via phone or with a ride from a friend or other family member twice a week. Logan’s medication has also dropped from about 18 types to only one tablet twice a day.

Rochelle says that Logan has been so positive throughout the process. Although he missed home, his brother, friends and normality, he knew that he had to go through everything to have a better life. She says that he just saw it as ‘it is what it is’.

Caleb will now have to go through the exact same thing within the next year or two. Luckily, he hasn’t been so sick and so did not need the transplant so soon.

The family are now taking their time to get back to normal. They are taking precautions to keep Logan safe and as healthy as possible. They are living in the now, enjoying their time together and the new chance Logan has been given by his donor.