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Posted on 24. January 2013

The Joys and Challenges of Parenting Teens

By Trudie Mistchang

As the mother of a teenage son, I often feel overwhelmed by the job I’m tasked with. At 14, my son is pulling away from my influence and increasingly allowing peers and the media to shape his world view. Our conversations are often combative; he loves throwing controversial topics at me to see if I will take the bait. Many nights, I go to bed feeling defeated, wondering if I have what it takes to help this “man child” develop into a caring, compassionate, productive young adult.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot more about the joys and challenges of parenting teens. We recently launched our IGL Teen website, and I am both inspired and humbled by some of the awesome kids we’ve come in contact with as we developed this project. I’ve also been thinking about the parents of teens with chronic illness; these brave moms and dads deal with the usual amount of adolescent angst, plus a laundry list of challenges that I can barely fathom.

According to recent statistics, 27 percent of American children have a chronic illness. That means 27 percent of American families are navigating this “new normal.” Like all parents, those with chronically ill children assume a wide variety of roles: healthcare advocate, teacher, chauffeur, cheerleader, ATM machine and relationship counselor. The difference is, dealing with the illness itself impacts every area of day-to-day parenting. A study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center outlines some of the major hot-button issues:

Emotional exhaustion: The roller coaster of emotions exhibited by hormonally driven teens can leave the most stalwart among us emotionally drained. Parents of chronically ill kids are encouraged to develop a strong support system of extended family, close friends and neighbors. Local and online support groups can also be invaluable. You can’t - and should not attempt to - do this alone. At IG Living, we provide support through our skilled patient advocates who can answer your questions, direct you to the right resources and lend a supportive listening ear.

Financial strain: Many parents of chronically ill kids feel overwhelmed by mounting medical bills and complex insurance policies. Depending on the child’s illness, parents may also need to make financial provisions for long-term care. Indirect expenses - such as time off from work, transportation and child care for siblings - can quickly add up. Many hospitals offer financial counselors who can help parents develop a fiscal strategy, and employers sometimes offer free financial counseling through their benefits programs.

Family dynamics: When a child is chronically ill, the family’s routine is greatly impacted. Healthy siblings may feel ignored, and parents may have less time to devote to their own relationship. Finding a balance is important so that all family members feel loved and supported. Some families have found sessions with a hospital social worker or counselor helpful. Joining a support group for families of chronically ill children can also provide a much-needed peer network.

Caring for a chronically ill teen (or any teen for that matter) requires flexibility, organization and a positive attitude. With the right support system, the challenges can be turned into opportunities for a family to grow even closer together.

For more helpful resources, visit the new IG Living Teen page.

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IG Living Blog | IVIG 101
IMMUNE  GLOBULIN  COMMUNITY
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Dedicated to bringing comprehensive healthcare information, immune globulin information, community lifestyle and reimbursement news.

Posted on 6. November 2014

IVIG 101

By Michelle Greer, RN, MBA

Many people begin intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy with little to no understanding of what it is and what it does. Immune globulins are antibodies that are part of the immune system. Antibodies are produced and mature in bone marrow and are an important part of a healthy immune response. IVIG is given when there is a deficiency or malfunction in antibody production. When there are not enough antibodies produced, or if those that are produced do not function properly, it can result in an immune deficiency. IVIG replaces this deficiency. When the immune system malfunctions and creates antibodies that attack one’s own body (autoantibodies), this can result in an autoimmune disease. IVIG is used to suppress the immune system so this attack subsides and symptoms resolve.

IVIG is made from thousands of pooled human plasma donations. To prevent transmission of blood-borne viruses or diseases, plasma donors are carefully screened, and the donated plasma is tested and treated to ensure it does not contain any pathogens. Basically, each person and their donated blood are tested prior to combining it with other donors, known as pooling. IVIG manufacturing has evolved over the years, and the product is very safe.

There are several manufacturers of IVIG, and each one uses a slightly different process to separate the antibodies from the plasma. These differences may result in patients having better tolerability with one brand over another. Antibodies cause reactions in the body. For instance, infusing them quickly from start to finish can cause severe and intolerable side effects. This is why an infusion is started very slowly and gradually increased to a predetermined maximum rate to decrease the potential side effects. In addition, if side effects are experienced, sometimes simply pausing the infusion and restarting at a slower rate is enough to alleviate them. Each person tolerates IVIG differently; therefore infusion times vary from person to person and should be determined by the doctor and/or pharmacist.

Once the infusion time is determined, the next step is to find out how the patient is tolerating it. If there are side effects, the infusion can be slowed. If there are no side effects, the IVIG may be able to be infused more quickly. IVIG can be a very lengthy infusion, so if it can be safely infused more quickly, it can shorten the process. Any changes from the original infusion time that was approved by the physician should be approved again. And, it is important for a patient to know his or her brand, how many grams he or she is receiving and what the infusion schedule is, including rates and duration. Do you?

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Comments (2) -

Lidia G. Barber
1:48 PM on Friday, November 21, 2014

I have IVIG for the past twelve yerar's, and it is a very difficult time for me, due to the side effects.  Last month we slowed it down from ramping of 150 to 125, it was the first time the side side effects of headaches, neck pain, cramps, nauseas, chest pains and difficult breathing were  less. I have myasthenia gravis, went trough 2 month of radation due to the cancer on my thymus gland and I am alive.  If it was not for the IVIG, I don't think I would be here today and I thank God for that and a wonderful neurologist here in Phoenix.

Jacquie Green
7:12 AM on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I have just been diagnosed with immunoglobulin deficiency and had one IVIG in the hospital and my first out-patient one this past Monday.  So far so good.  Headache, backache, cramping a little - may not be related - but I'm just grateful the doctors figured out what was wrong.  I bruise very easily, has anyone had a port installed for easier infusions?  Thank you.

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Before submitting your comment, please review the IG Living privacy policy.

If you prefer to submit your comment privately, please email Abbie Cornett ACornett@IGLiving.com