Brian and Leighanne Littrell Urge Parents to Follow Their Instincts
In late November and throughout December, Backstreet Boy singer Brian Littrell and his wife Leighanne were living a nightmare as they watched their 6-year-old son Baylee Thomas Wylee succumb to a mysterious illness. While he was ultimately diagnosed with atypical Kawasaki Disease, the diagnosis did not come without significant pressure from his parents. The couple have spoken out about their ordeal to OK!, and their message is simple. “If you feel like something is wrong, follow your instinct,” Leighanne says. “Doctors don’t know everything.”
Around his birthday on Nov. 26, Baylee fell ill with diarrhea, nausea and enlarged lymph nodes. A trip to the doctor yielded a diagnosis of strep throat and a prescription for Amoxicillin, but his condition continued to worsen. While the family was in Kentucky celebrating an early Christmas with Brian’s relatives, Baylee spiked a fever of 103-degrees and developed blisters in his throat as well as a rash. A return trip to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of hand, foot and mouth disease based on the blistering, while the rash was attributed to a reaction to the antibiotic.
Suspecting something more was to blame, Leighanne recalls that “the rash looked like a chemical burn” and had gotten so severe that Baylee’s eyes “were swollen shut.” Feeling “frustrated” because “there is no way you can believe a doctor who is telling you to go home and this will go away on its own,” the couple took their son to the emergency room — only to be met with more resistance.
Click below to read about Baylee’s prognosis.
Baylee underwent an intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment to repair the damage to his heart, and the couple should know in six to eight weeks whether it was successful. “It’s the only shot to cure Kawasaki,” Leighanne notes. While he is currently “running around in his Batman costume, feeling so much better” and displaying a “fantastic” attitude, Baylee is still somewhat restricted in what he can do — which is tough for a 6-year-old. “The other day, Baylee said, ‘I just want to be normal, Mommy,'” Leighanne shared. “Right now, he can’t do a lot of cardiovascular activity, but he can practice his karate.”
Determined to turn the experience into something positive, Leighanne feels that the doctors who handled Baylee’s case “would never run an echocardiogram unless we insisted.” To that end, the couple hope to help other parents who push for testing that the medical community deems unnecessary. Adds Leighanne,