CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Please welcome Michael Davis, the newest one of our amazing #MollysKids. But before we go any further, you must know: I had an entire post written about Michael and the uphill medical battle he has been facing.
Before posting it today, I called Michael’s mom, to make sure there was no update since her email last week. Second she picked up and laughed in one of those exasperated ways, I knew something was off.
“Oh, we’ve had an update,” she said, sounding like a tired mother. “Michael got COVID.”
Serena Hawkins said her son has been throwing up for four days straight. His COVID, she said, started with a fever. Great news is, she thinks the worst is behind Michael. She is hopeful that starting tonight, he’ll eat something and be able to keep it down.
“I have been petrified of Michael getting this virus,” she said. “My husband, James, and I did everything we could think to keep COVID from being in our home. But Michael’s older brother came by last week to drop off a drink for him, just to see him quickly and support him in everything else he’s facing. The next day he called to tell me he didn’t feel good. It was just a matter of days from then until Michael got it.”
How has it been these past few days?
“A nightmare,” Serena said. “I want to be honest in that it has been a nightmare. But I do think overall Michael did better than I expected with the virus. I don’t want to jinx it, but we didn’t have to take him into the hospital for this. We go to the hospital for his other issues [that’s what this picture is from], but haven’t had to go for COVID.”
Serena’s tone changed. She suddenly sounded lighter.
“And right now as we talk he’s in the backroom watching wrestling videos—he’s obsessed with wrestling—so I think he’s starting to feel better.”
Michael and his family live in Lincolnton. The reason he was going to be one of our new amazing #MollysKids had nothing to do with the coronavirus. It has to do with an issue Michael first started noticing two years ago. He never told his mom how he felt, but she knew something was going on. He looked pale, she said. The circles around his eyes were dark. She’d ask often if he was okay and he’d just say, “I’m fine.”
“Turns out he wasn’t fine,” Serena Hawkins says. “But he was wanting to get through school, and not deal with whatever was going on.”
Serena says Michael’s goal that year was to have perfect attendance at school. (He is on the lower end of the autism spectrum, she said, and a perfectionist.) But one day, in February 2019, his teacher called Serena and said she needed to pick him up.
“He was holding his side and going to the bathroom a lot,” Serena said. “When I arrived, I could see in his face how badly he felt. So I called his doctor, who told me to take him to the ER. Eventually—with my pushing—they sent him to Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital. That’s when we started to get answers.”
Serena says an upper and lower GI found Michael had severe ulcerative colitis. That’s a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. It’s similar to Chron’s disease. He immediately got on different treatments to help control the inflammation, but was still going downhill.
“They transported him to Levine Children’s in Charlotte,” Serena says. “I was told he’d be there for three weeks.”
As awful as 3-weeks sounded, she said she wishes that’s all it was.
“Three months later, they ended up starting a 3-surgery process to get his colon removed,” she says. “Doctors say after the first surgery happened, he’d feel better. Only, nothing has gone the way they said it would go. He still has great pain.”
The 3-surgery process goes like this:
- First remove the colon.
- Second surgery to add a J-Pouch (a place to store stool).
- Third surgery everything—small intestine, rectum, etc.—gets hooked back up together.
Michael has gone through the first and second surgeries so far. His second one was this past December. This Friday he was supposed to have a required procedure you get right before the third surgery, but with COVID, that procedures was postponed.
“We still plan to get through COVID, the quarantine, and have the procedure by the end of the month,” Serena said. “We’re off-track a little with our schedule, but hopefully not delayed hugely.”
All three surgeries—are at UNC Children’s - North Carolina Children’s Hospital.
If you’re tracking with all this, you know timing-wise, Michael was 13-years old when issues began and in the 8th grade. Now he’s 15 and in the 10th grade, and (like most kids right now) being homeschooled.
Selena says she reached out to have him be part of #MollysKids for awareness. She also started a blog about his condition on Facebook. You can find that here >> UC Michael’s Journey.
“All he wants is his life back,” Serena said. “To be able to go back to school and be a ‘normal’ teenager. Thank you for sharing him. I just hope his story can help other kids who might be going through similar things that keep them distanced from others and make them feel ‘abnormal’: They’re not different. Tons of kids are in this position. They are not alone.”
Re-read. I am: “They’re not different. Tons of kids are in this position. They are not alone.”
Please keep us updated, Serena. Good to hear he’s feeling better from COVID and possibly going to be able to eat tonight... we’ll hope it stays in that direction.
The Good, the Bad, and the Always Real.