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Even as an infant, Leksi was frequently sick with respiratory infections, stomach pain and vomiting. Her family managed the symptoms but never understood the underlying cause. A simple cold would often escalate and lead to a trip to urgent care or even the emergency department.
This cycle continued for eight years, until July of 2016, when Leksi's symptoms became more frequent and intense. Her family was forced to cancel trips and events, and Leksi was missing more and more school.
“This was so upsetting to her,” said her mom, Elizabeth. “She loves school. She loves people and being active.”
Later that year, when the family was living in central Illinois, Leksi came down with pneumonia. Over the next several months she experienced numerous complications and multiple emergency department visits and hospitalizations in cities and health systems across Illinois.
Still, there were no real answers on the source of her illnesses — so they turned to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and met with Dr. Farhat Ashai-Khan in the gastroenterology program. “After so many complicated years and grueling months, we finally found a physician who truly listened to us,” Elizabeth said.
And, finally, they had an answer. Nine-year-old Leksi was diagnosed with severe acid reflux — so severe that stomach acid would end up in her lungs, leading to respiratory infections and other complications. With the correct medications and diet, Leksi improved dramatically.
The family was so happy with Leksi’s care at Children’s that they relocated to the Milwaukee area. But in late 2017, Leksi developed another serious respiratory infection, and it was clear that her reflux medications were no longer enough. They consulted with a surgeon at Children’s who recommended a minimally invasive procedure to reinforce the closure between the esophagus and the stomach.
Within a week and a half of the surgery, Leksi was ready to return to school for a few hours a day. A few months later, Leksi was her normal self, back to playing basketball and her violin.
Best of all is that her reflux is gone — and she no longer needs the medications that were causing side effects. Remarkably, Leksi’s allergies and asthma are also showing improvement, allowing her to gradually reduce other medications she has also taken for years.
Leksi continues to be positive, thankful and optimistic about the future. She enjoys sharing her story knowing that it might help other kids, and she supports Children’s through several of our events including the WKLH Miracle Marathon and Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk.
“It’s overwhelming to think that something like this caused my daughter years of troubles,” Elizabeth said. “The treatment we get here has been so amazing. We have seen a lot of hospitals and clinics, and nothing compares to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.”
Leksi recently had her one-year follow-up and her physicians continue to be impressed and proud of her!
You can help families and children like Leksi
Every day children like Leksi visit Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. It's through the generous support of people like you that we can continue to provide them with the best care possible. Do your part, donate today! If you would like to speak with someone in the foundation about more ways you can help, please call us at (414) 266-6100.