Destrehan family can put health fears behind them 

Karen Bellow cried tears of joy when she learned the news.

“I don’t even have words for it … the nightmare is finally completely over with,” said Bellow. 

Bellow and her husband Paul learned on Jan. 4 that their 7-year-old son Jaxon’s kidneys were completely normal after a lifelong battle with significant kidney illness – no more doctors visits, no more worry and no more sleepless nights for mom and dad. 

“He said he was sad when his doctor told him he didn’t have to see him anymore. ‘But I’ll miss you,’” Bellow recalled. “So, we’ll still most likely be at Children’s Hospital here and there, just not for his kidneys.”

That news came just a few months after Bellow’s young daughter Madison received a similarly positive prognosis from her doctor following a 2022 heart surgery – there is no fluid around her heart, which was described as perfectly fine. 

It’s been a long, bumpy ride for the family, who may now finally be able to rest a bit easy. 

Since infancy, Jaxon 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.

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.

That eliminated his hydronephrosis 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.

“The only concern now would be if he were to get a UTI (urinary tract infection),” said Bellow. “He hasn’t had one in seven years, knock on wood, so it’s not too big a worry. We know the signs to look for – if he were to come down with a high fever, burning in his urine, then anything like that at all we’re rushing to the hospital to make sure.

“But otherwise, we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

As much stress as it was for his mother, it never truly slowed Jaxon down when things came down to it. 

“Jaxon is Jaxon. Even if it was a nightmare for us parents, it wasn’t for him,” Bellow said. “He’s always had a smile on his face. He’s played four years of baseball. He’s constantly making people laugh – he’s got what he calls his ‘happy dance.’ He’s hyper and constantly running through the house. He’s just Jaxon.”


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