Karen Bellow’s voice was of pure joy.
“I believe miracles can happen, because of this,” said the elated mother.
Bellow and her husband Paul just received the news they’ve prayed for years to hear – that their 5-year-old son, Jaxon, was a kidney survivor. Since infancy, Destrehan boy has suffered from disease in both of his kidneys — hydronephrosis and vesicoureteral reflux — which necessitated medical intervention, including surgery. He’s not only faced serious discomfort since birth, but also the prospect of losing a kidney.
This month, Jaxon faced a key date in determining his health status – were an ultrasound to come back and show his doctor the necessary improvement, his kidney checkups would be moved back to once every two years and he’d be considered, for all intents and purposes, officially a kidney disease survivor. The ultrasound was clean, and a massive weight off of he and his family.
“He had been having some aches and pains (before the visit) and I was afraid it was going to start all over again. They said it was a little swollen around the area but nothing to be concerned about,” Bellow said. “Prayers work. All I’ll say is prayers work … the power of a prayer is more powerful than anything.”
Bellow is just now starting to be able to reflect and enjoy her family’s new reality – and health, as Jaxon was not the only child in the family who suffered a major health crisis. Last year, Bellow’s daughter Madison had to be rushed to the hospital as well due to chest pains – she needed heart surgery.
“We were shocked … like, he came out good, but now this is happening and you think, ‘we can’t catch a break,’” Bellow said.
Had Madison not been brought in for medical attention when she was, Bellow said she would have been lost. But the surgery was successful.
“Now, I have a perfectly healthy baby girl and baby boy,” Bellow said.
In 2017, Jaxon went through surgery called pyeloplasty, which repairs the most common type of blockage that causes hydronephrosis. Bellow called that the scariest day of her life.
“I didn’t know if I would be able to hold my baby again alive,” Bellow said.
That eliminated his hydroephrosis and would allow his other kidney disease to correct itself. In 2019, it was confirmed that his kidney was reducing to a normal size.
The situation still caused disruptions to his everyday life, however. Since birth, Jaxon has had pressure in his bladder — the comparison Bellow noted is he felt the equivalent of someone holding their urine for too long and constantly feeling like it must be relieved, but being unable to do so. Hydronephrosis causes fluid buildup in the kidney due to backed up urine, while vesicoureteral reflux means there is a backward flow of urine from the bladder to the kidney.
“He had pressure on his kidney since the day he was born, the pressure we feel when we hold our urine for too long. It caused him to not know,” Bellow said.
But Jaxon’s doctors informed the family that pressure was no longer there, and they were able to potty train him.
And with this most recent news, he’s been able to stop taking all kidney-related medication.
She calls him “a trooper” for what he’s endured.
“He’s earned that nickname,” she said. “He has been through so much in such his little time here on earth, all with a smile on his face and courage and strength in his heart. I’m so proud of him.”
She also said she has much gratitude for her community and support system.
“I mainly asked for prayers, because God can change anything in a second,” she said. “I asked everyone to pray and heal my son. And that’s what we got. We got calls, prayers, thoughts and kind words.”