12 March 2020

Ali Wheeler running a half marathon for her daughter

My daughter Abigail, now five, has not had the easiest start in life.

It started with excessive drinking of liquids from a very young age. No matter how much you distracted her, she would drink from anything or everything. We even caught her drinking bubble mixture once.

We live in Overton and were referred to Basingstoke Hospital for tests as they suspected she was diabetic. Here she had numerous tests, including a 24 hour water deprivation test which was pretty traumatic.

They had to stop the test due to her safety but as the results came back inconclusive, we were then referred to Southampton Children’s Hospital. She underwent more tests, including a 48 hour water deprivation test, and we had a three night stay on G3 ward as her blood sugars dropped. However, at the end of this stay they ruled out diabetes.

We were discharged from hospital but then over the next six to seven months, Abigail suffered from 10 urine infections, and had an extremely high temperature on multiple occasions. We were referred for scans on her bladder and kidneys February 2018.

This is when we got the heart breaking news that our daughters kidneys weren’t working properly.

Abigail went on to have a variety of different scans on her kidneys and bladder but she took it all in her stride. We found out she had severe grade five reflux in her left kidney and grade three reflux in her right kidney. Both were working at a low percentage of filtering out waste from her blood which was what was making her sick.

Abigail in Southampton Hospitals Charity

Doctors told us that she would need to start on long term antibiotics and booked her in for an operation.

She had the first operation in July 2018 where they put gel into her tubes to try and resolve the reflux. It was at this time that they found the tubes from her kidney to her bladder were in the wrong place so they didn’t know if they operation would work.

Fast forward on a few months to February 2019, and after constant urine infections and more scans, we found out that the operation hadn’t worked and needed emergency surgery.

During the operation she had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic and needed to be readmitted to hospital. She had more scans and saw the urologist who suggested that they perform open surgery to move her tubes from her kidneys to her bladder.

This was done in July, and Abigail was in theatre for five long hours. They only did surgery on the left side as it was more complicated than they were expecting.

Abigail and I spent most the summer on the G4 ward at Southampton Children’s Hospital. She is doing well and is such a little fighter. She really is an amazingly strong little girl who is proud of her scars across her tummy and will talk happily about all the tubes and operations. I’m super proud of how resilient she’s been over the last few years.

This April, I am running the ABP Southampton half marathon on the 26th April. By doing this I hope to achieve something I have never done before which is a half marathon!

I wanted to fundraise for Southampton Hospital Charity, which supports UHS by enhancing the care, experience and outcomes for thousands of patients every year. G4 ward has been like our second home and we really can’t thank the staff enough for their constant support.

Not just for Abigail, but also for the whole family through all the tears, pain and every other emotion whilst we were there. Her older brother Freddie found it extremely hard being away from us and visiting us whilst Abigail was in hospital, and the staff were always there with things and activities for him to do.

ABP Southampton

We are proud to be the lead local charity for ABP Southampton. If you love running, and want to support your local hospital and National Health Service, then sign up today: https://southamptonhospitalscharity.org/charity-events/abp-southampton-races/

Last updated: 12/03/2020

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