LIVING

With EoE, Allergies, Asthma and a G-Tube

Seeing Straight

20180121_120706.pngI was very nervous when I first noticed Tinleigh’s eyes turning outwards. I still don’t 100% understand why, but I’m leaning towards connective tissue disorder to blame. We won’t know for sure until we do genetics testing in August.

20180328_171447.jpgWhen I found an eye doctor that looked past her vision being 20/20 and told me we could try to fix her eyes I felt some relief. They tested Tinleigh’s eyes and came up with her exact diagnosis, intermittent exotropia and oculomotor dysfunction in saccades, and what needed to be done. Although her eyes are 20/20, they can’t work together to focus. Think of holding a book in front of your face, both eyes focus on it. Tineigh’s eyes will focus, then one eye drifts and Tinleigh needs to move the book closer or further away so the eyes will refocus. When you watch her read she constantly is moving the book in and out to keep refocusing.

20180328_172548.jpgI was curious what vision therapy was. Once I saw her do it for the first time it totally made sense. It’s literally a work out for your eyes. If you’ve ever been to physical therapy, you know you work a specific muscle group to fix whatever your problem is. That’s exactly what vision therapy is. We are working Tinleigh’s eye muscles to make them stronger so they can work together as they should. Tinleigh only actually attends therapy once every two weeks. We are then sent home with her own folder and list of exercises. We must do these exercises 5 days a week. They’re short, sort of fun and super easy. The first few times she did get a headache but those have stopped.

Will it work? We hope so. We were told that she may do great and be done in a few months. It just depends on how her eyes react to treatment. It does happen that as they grown, she could have a growth spurt and may have problems again. We would just repeat therapy. Worst case scenario if her eyes continue to stray outward and she has troubles with reading and school work then we would be facing eye surgery. I don’t think it will come to that though.

 

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April 1, 2018 Posted by | daily life, LIVING, Tinleigh's allergies | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Va·ca·tion

The Oxford Dictionary defines vacation as:
NOUN

  1. An extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

I define a vacation as a time to escape the reality of our daily life. The allergic reactions, sickness, doctor appointments, limbs sliding out of place, strange rashes, making 50 meals a day and school.
A girl can dream right?
As the week grew closer for spring break I was getting super excited. I envisioned myself of the beach, the kids playing and everything else magically disappearing.
What actually happened…
We’re going to start 5 days before. I began packing. I had a free weekend day with no baseball and the house was clean. So I was going to tackle the long list of what needed to go. Nathan and my mom both laughed at me when I said I was going to get it knocked out. My response “Hey, you never know what my week is going to bring”. The first half of the week went surprisingly smooth with only one doctor appointment.
Thursday morning I woke up feeling dizzy. I got up and got the 3 big kids out the door to school. As I got their lunches and feeding tube bags ready I stumbled sideways a few times. It was really strange. I had a lot to do that day, our flight was at 5pm. I would need to pick the kids up around 1:30 to get to the airport an hour and a half away.

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I decided I needed to lay back down a while and see if this dizziness went away. I set my alarm for an hour and went back to sleep. When I got back up the dizziness hadn’t gone away. I tried to start packing some last minute things but I just couldn’t shake it. The room was spinning. Then I started feeling nauseous. I laid down on the couch and the room spun around me. What in the heck was going on? So I called the nurse. Explained I had no time for this and asked how to make it stop. She had me take my blood pressure, which was high, and advised me to go to the ER. I called Nathan home from work and by 11 I was in. After running an EKG, checking blood work and checked my blood pressure lying, sitting and standing nothing came up. The doctor came in and did some neurological tests. Fine. She began asking me about my ears. I told her I have been having ringing in my ear for a year. Ding ding ding, I have vertigo. She gave me some printed out exercises along with some Meclizine and Zofran then sent me on my way by noon. Fastest ER visit ever, they were awesome. Still dizzy and unable to drive Nathan had to take us to the airport. I managed to finish packing and we made it right on time. Good thing I started packing early.
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Once we got to the airport I let the kids pick out candy and a drink because WE WERE ON VACATION!!!!! About 10 minutes before we got the on the plane Layton started coughing, and coughing and coughing and coughing. What the heck? We got on the plane, I quickly wiped everyone’s seat down as the other passengers enjoyed watching my circus get situated, and Layton was still coughing. At this point

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she was constantly coughing. As I’m still trying to figure out what needed to stay in our seats and what needed to go overhead I just automatically grabbed an inhaler and had her take a couple puffs. I will admit, it was not her inhaler because she doesn’t have asthma. I knew though something was definitely wrong and we were getting ready to go on a 3 hour flight. As I got our things into place and buckled myself in I realized she was still coughing, the inhaler did nothing. The door was starting to close so I quickly TOLD the flight attendant I had to get some Benadryl out of the overhead compartment. I gave Layton a hefty dose and with in 10 minutes she was fine. This only leaves me to believe Layton is allergic to starburst. This was not a good start to our vacation.
Upon arrival of my parents place, in the dark, Charlie found a baby lobster in the first 5 minutes on the “quick look at the beach”. I love him.

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The next day we did our typical morning walk on the beach. Followed by lunch then swimming. That evening we went to dinner. Charlie ordered the alligator nuggets and fries. Gage was able to eat the bread on the table and got some butter noodles. The head chef told me they had disposable aluminum pans and they were able to broil Tinleigh some Mahi-Mahi. Layton had fries I think. About 15 minutes after sitting down and getting our drinks Tinleigh says to me, my throat is tight and it’s hard to breath. I took a deep breath, looked around the table gathered my thoughts along with the emergency bag and we headed outside for fresh air. Her airborne allergies followed us to vacation. Apparently they didn’t get the memo. Luckily the place we were at had vibrant Adirondack chairs all over out front for people to hang out in while waiting on a table. We were about to make this our seats for the duration of dinner. I gave Tinleigh her inhaler and mom brought our meals out. Once Tinleigh felt better I let her take a nibble of her Mahi. Unfortunately, it made her throat itchy. As we waited for the others to finish Charlie popped out to show me he had lost a tooth while eating his alligator. Did you know the vacation tooth fairy brings $5? I took my dinner home in a box, the whole situation made me lose my appetite.

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That night while sleeping Layton woke up itching like crazy. To the point I had to get up and give her Benadryl. The next morning she had a rash/ hives down her arms, on her face and all over her torso. What the heck? Sunburn? The pool water? Suntan lotion?

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Her face and arms were bright red. Was it sun poisoning? We went to the store and bought her a long sleeve suit and hat. We got to do the pirate ship that day and we kept her in the shade as much as we could. The itchiness persisted through the next day. So we kept her out of the sun altogether. Still not 100% what was going on. I thought she was starting to clear up at one point. It all came back again though all over her body and nothing made sense as to what it could be. I kept her on bendryl and slathered her in aquaphor along with hydrocortisone. At this point I contacted our allergist to get her in the loop on what was going on. Once we were home I made an appointment with our pediatrician. For the rash and her blockage in her belly he had felt the week before at her 4 yr appointment. That’s when it hit me. Could it be the miralax I had started a day or two before we left for vacation? At the pediatrician’s office we did an x-ray of her abdomen, which when the doctor touched she screamed in pain. Sure enough the x-ray showed impaction in her whole colon. So now she’s doing a clean out, yet still on miralax and still itchy. So I’m officially ruling out allergic to the sun, suntan lotion and pool water. We head to the allergist office tomorrow morning.

Also, while on vacation Tinleigh became extremely stuffy which I thought was her allergies kicking in. She’s been on allergy medicine for a few months now so that seemed strange. Turns out she actually caught a cold. Her asthma kicked in but we got it under control only needing one nebulizer treatment.

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Then there was the day Charlie, who never complains, comes to me and says his chest hurt. I asked if he hit it while swimming, could have been from using his boogie board in the ocean. He told me no, it was more inside. So I gave him a nebulizer treatment and that fixed it! There was no coughing or wheezing, just pain. Strange.

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Gage was the lucky one on this trip. The only thing that happened to him physically was a tumble with a wave on his boogie board. Mentally going to dinner twice was a bit hard. I made that up with some Hershey kisses. The second time we went to dinner we went to a place that we could stay outside so Tinleigh would be safe. Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything but salad for Gage to eat.

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Though I felt like I will never escape seeing my kids go through life with health issues we had a wonderful time. As Tinleigh said before we left, “The beach is a wonderful place to go. All the fresh air helps me breath better.” I think all the fun we had together, despite our few rough patches, the beach did help us all breath a little easier.

One of the biggest highlights for Gage and Tinleigh was being able to get something from the ice cream truck that came everyday.

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We also had a blast on the pirate ship. No food involved and the kids got to squirt all the adults with squirt guns.
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They learned the basics of shuffle board
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We even had a few serious rounds of Florida-opoly
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We swam and played together
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We all just breathed a little easier.

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And the only thing I forgot to throw in the suitcase in my dizzy state was Tinleigh’s underwear.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Charlie's allergies, daily life, Gage's allergies, LIVING, Tinleigh's allergies | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March

It’s March already! How is that even possible? The days have been flying by. We don’t seem to make it through a week with out seeing a doctor of some sort.

charlie.jpgCharlie just finished up his last week of physical therapy for his shoulders. The physical therapist that examined him has connective tissue disorder. She knew exactly what I was talking about when I brought up Ehlors Danlos. She did some flexibility measures on him and said no doubt he has some form of it. The biggest red flag being his shoulders sliding out of place. So now we’re armed with home exercises to continue to strengthen his shoulders up. He’s heading into baseball season now and we hope they stay in place for the whole season. I imagine we’ll be back to the PT department in the future as his hips are just starting to slide out as well.

gage.jpgGage gave us a nice scare a few weeks ago. He came to me and told me his shoulder blade hurt. He was throwing a ball around and I told him I doubt it hurts very much. I felt and poked around a bit to see if there were any bruises. Then I felt a very hard, nonmoving, lump right on his shoulder blade. So off to the doctor we went the next day. The doctor told me there is a definite bump there but he wasn’t too concerned. He said it’s where the muscle and tendon attach to the bone. Because of his rate of growth the bone is over compensating and forming this lump. We are keeping an eye on it and checking it every couple of weeks to watch for growth. We’ll go back to the doctor if we see rapid growth or for a 6 month check up on it, which ever comes first. On a good note he’s gained the 6lbs back he lost! We were having some struggles with hooking up to his feeding tube, he only wanted to eat food. I think letting him see that he wasn’t getting the right nutrition and weight loss helped him to be able to understand just how important that feeding tube is. Also this month Gage’s archery team made it to state finals. Lucky me, I was nominated to be the parent who got to ride along on the 4 hour bus ride. Lucky Gage, he got to ride the bus with his friends and stay safe! Up next, baseball season.

tinleigh.jpgMiss Tinleigh is loving school more that a kid should. Which is a good thing. She’s definitely thriving there. We had her long vision therapy appointment for evaluation on how much and what they will do to help strengthen her eyes and keep them from turning outward. When I had her at her 6 yr old check up the nurse and I both noticed her good eye was turning out as well. She is officially diagnosed with intermittent exotropia and oculomotor dysfunction. Tinleigh is having a rough time with all the colds and viruses right now. I expected her to have a rough year with all the new germs since she’s never been around a lot of other people. She also seems to be having more and more incidents in the evening when we cook dinner. I’ve watched her react to beef, pork and chicken now. Cooked dairy is still very bad for her as well. She now tells us her throat is tight and she becomes more and more stuffy along with coughing and watery eyes. I had started her allergy meds and qvar inhaler a month ago in hopes of building up her system so we could try getting her into the school lunch room towards the end of the school year. That way she may not have to sit in the nurses office during lunch while she’s in the 1st grade. If dinner time at home is going badly I worry so will school lunch. Her ankles have started giving her troubles again just as softball season starts. Time to get back into some at home physical therapy!

layton.jpgLayton is 4! I hate how fast the time is flying by. We had her 6 month check up for her toe walking and orthodics. Though she is staying flat about 80% of the time when she’s barefoot, we now have to work on her ankels. They’re not as strong as they should be because the muscle that runs down the front of the lower leg isn’t strong because of the toe walking. So now her ankles turn inward. We’re awaiting orthodics to call for something new for her. Layton has also been telling me daily she feels like she’s going to puke or she feels like she has guacamole in her throat. This began back in November and is slowly been getting worse. She has eczema down her torso, around her elbows and upper thighs. She’s also been having some bowel issues. We’re trying to clear that out and hoping that’s the cause of nauseousness. Her little cousin Ellie with EoE also has these issues.

Just to touch on Nathan a bit, he’s been in the emergency room. The doctor has discovered he has diverticulitis with a possible addition of Crohn’s disease / IBS. As we learn more about that and how to adjust his already limited diet I fear he faces a feeding tube down the road as well. We pray for now though we can get things under control. He has had 2 bouts of diverticulitis in 1 month already so we need to get things figured out quickly.

On a good note we got the kids into Cincinnati Childrens eosinophilic esophagitis clinic in Ohio. We head there the end of April. The bad thing is they only take 2 new patients a week so that means two trips. After that they will see them all at once if needed. We’re very excited. It’s four days of appointments. First day is scope day. Second day is bone density scan, which they’ve never had, along with behavior medicine. Third day is a tour of their research lab and we meet with the allergist. I’m really hoping to get some better answers for Tinleigh from the allergist while were there. I’ve requested someone that specializes in mast cell and asked for a certain test to be ran on her. They will also be evaluated for connective tissue disorder. The last day we meet back with the GI doctor, find out the results of the scopes and get a game plan together. We may also meet with nutrition.  

Why are we going to Cincinnati? We live in between Denver and Cinci where the top researchers are located. Having family in Ohio that can help us out when we travel just made more sense. Cincinnati does have access to trial drugs which we may be interested in trying down the road. We also want to help with their research in what ever way we can to hurry up and cure all kids with eosinophilic diseases.

The most exciting part about us going to Cincinnati is the phone call I received from Wings of Hope telling me that they would help fly us to and from Ohio for our doctor appointments. Wings of Hope is an aviation nonprofit organization which helps communities worldwide become more self-sufficient through improved health, education, economic opportunity, and food security. It was founded in 1962 in St. Louis, Missouri, and currently conducts operations in 11 countries, including the United States. The organization was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 and 2012, holds a 4-Star rating on Charity Navigator and is a GuideStar Gold Participant. In 2015, 92.3% of the organization’s budget was spent on its program services. We are so beyond lucky that they can help us with our travels. If not then we’re looking at a 10 hour drive one way, plus stops.  Things are definitely falling into place as we make the change to new GI doctors. I am still sort of shocked that Wings of Hope will be able help us with our travels.

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Charlie's allergies, Gage's allergies, Layton's food exploration, LIVING, Tinleigh's allergies | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How CURED helped me

As you know I spoke at the CURED 2017 conference last week. It opened my eyes. I knew that we were in our own little bubble world of EoE at my house. What I didn’t realize is that I also had a wall up around that bubble.

I was aware of what I thought CURED did. Attending this conference really brought me back to reality and showed me CURED is so much more.

CURED brought together professionals from all over the globe.

20171025_212054.jpgDo you even realize how amazing that is? Because of CURED doctors from all over the world are able to gather to share and learn about eosinophilic diseases. They are gaining knowledge and that means they are coming closer to a cure.

On Thursday I listened to many doctors and researchers discus different aspects of eosinophilic diseases. What really stuck out to me was hearing others in the profession stand to ask questions when the speaker was done. It made me realize that not everything is known. Doctors are still learning. They were there hoping to hear answers just as I was.

Friday was the same. What really brought me back to reality was hearing just how rare my kids still are. We are under 5% with how extreme their diets are and even a smaller percentage being that we have so many with EoE in our family. It opened my eyes, reminded me that I need to be fighting more for them.

I never realized the amount of research that goes into finding a cure. Do you know? It’s not just about finding a pill. They have to look at environmental factors. Is something triggering the disease to flare? How about genetics? My family has 5 people with EoE, other families have 1. They look at what the cells are doing and why they’re doing it. How food allergies play a roll, including environmental. I could go on and on. All of these different doctors are digging in at every aspect. It’s much, much more than just finding a pill.

Speakers at the conference.

Photo credit :Ting Wen

I left that conference feeling amazing. Just knowing all that is going on to help my kids eat one day. This group of people is really trying. I know this because they came to CURED to share and learn more. The amount of compassion they showed me after I gave my speech really reinforced that. They don’t really know what goes on at home, and I really pray that after hearing my speech it will push them to work harder.

Monday after the conference we visited our GI for an in office check up. I had a lot of questions to ask. Questions I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t been to the conference. What I realized was that a lot of the information I had gained is still unknown to many doctors. It even came to the point during our appointment that our GI sort of released us. She told me if I wanted to get a 2nd opinion she would understand. If I hadn’t been to the conference that never would have crossed my mind. I was stuck in such a rut with Gage and Tinleigh that I never imagined seeking the advice of another doctor. We’ve done a blood draw on Tinleigh to check her cortisol levels while being on the steroid. Gage is having one as well. Our GI told me that if Tinleigh’s levels are low she really won’t know what to do with Tinleigh at that point. I think it is time to move on.

So we are starting a sort of new adventure. I am now GI doctor hunting. That seems so scary to me. I truly believe our GI cares for us and really goes out of her way for us at times. How will I ever replace that?

I am a believer that everything happens for a reason. The opportunity I had to go to the CURED conference was two-fold. It opened my eyes to move forward and find a new GI that can help my kids come closer to a cure. It also showed me how important CURED really is. CURED does much more than raise money for research. It brings people together in the industry from all over the world that want nothing more than to find a cure. It allows patients and family members to join together in person. They have a chance to hug, cry and feel like they’re not alone. It allows children suffering from Eosinophilic diseases come together to meet others going through the same tough life. Because of CURED I left feeling a renewed hope that seeing my kids tube free in the future will be a reality, not just a dream.

So from the bottom of my heart,

Thank you, Ellyn, for creating CURED and bringing this mom back to life in the fight to help her kids. Thank you Shay, and everyone, that makes the CURED conference possible.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | Charlie's allergies, daily life, Gage's allergies, LIVING, Tinleigh's allergies | , , , , , | 2 Comments

CURED 2017

A few short months ago Ellyn Kodroff, CEO of CURED, asked Nathan and I to speak at the upcoming conference in October. We had no plans to go, but something told me I was going to do this.

So Nathan and I went back and forth on making it happen. I had planned to take the kids to Ohio the weekend before to visit family then Nathan would join us in Cincinnati for the conference. Then everything got changed around and it ended up that I would be the only one going. Once I accepted this change, I happily embraced the fact I would have approximately 48 hours kid free.

I watched some of the previous speeches that parents had given at the conferences years before. Nothing was really coming to mind of how I wanted to present our story to a group of doctors, researchers, patients and parents. As the end of September quickly crept up I knew I needed to get busy, Ellyn wanted a copy of my speech as the October calendar rolled over. So one evening I sat down and just went to it. The speech just flowed out and by the time I was done I had 5 pages of what I wanted to share.

There was a problem though, I was only given a 15 minute time slot so I had to trim down this 25 minute long story. That part may have actually been harder than figuring out what to write. Then I had to add a slide show. Once I remembered how to use Power Point, the perfect pictures came to mind so plugging them in was no problem.

Writing the story ended up being no problem, practicing it deemed to be a problem. I could not make it through with out coming to tears. Okay, sobbing. I finally worked up the courage to read it to Nathan. We were both a mess. Day to day I’m really fine. I don’t really ever cry. Once I had our whole story laid out in front of me, all smooshed together in one bucket, it was very hard to face. I’m not sure if it’s the disease and everything the kids have faced. It could be all the crying I have suppressed over the years. I don’t know. Just a few days before the conference I decided to read it to the kids. What was I thinking?! I didn’t read it all because some of it would have been too much for them. What I did read though brought Charlie to tears. He asked me if that’s what it was really like going through all of it. So maybe it’s just that our story is sad.

So off I went to Ohio. I could write a whole blog post on my first time ever renting a car. I’ll save you the details and let you imagine how that went. 20171023_001320.jpg

I made it through Thursday listening to doctors presenting. I noticed that a few did seem a bit nervous. Why not? They’re human too. Though, it really didn’t help me relax any. Friday morning arrived. I was up at 5:30, 4 hours and 15 minutes until I had to speak. I arrived at the conference and found a seat, then a muffin and coffee. I ate a few bites noticing my mouth was already dry as the desert. I decided to get up and head out to meet some people. Maybe that would loosen me up a bit and make me forget about having to present. I met a few moms that I knew only through facebook. It was so exciting. It’s sort of like meeting a celebrity.

I made my way back in to sit down to try and force my breakfast down. As more people came in someone placed their belongings in the seat in front of me. That someone was The Dr Marc Rothenberg, one of the world’s foremost authorities on eosinophilic disorders. Yep, breakfast was over.

As the morning started and the first speaker was announced I was focusing on my breathing. I kept trying to relax. I kept reminding myself how important it was for me to share our story with a sold out room filled with doctors, researchers, pharma, patients and parents. I believe there were 200 people there. 20171022_233920.jpgI recently came across this scripture, it came at just the right time. I saved it as the screen saver on my phone. I think I read it a thousand times that morning before my speech. Maybe this scripture is meant for something much larger, but it definitely helped me that day.

As each speech ended and the time grew closer I really thought my heart was going to jump right out of my chest. I’m pretty certain the guy sitting beside me must have thought I was crazy as I kept taking huge deep breaths trying to calm down. Before I knew it, it was my time to shine. I already had tears in my eyes, my emotions were so high.

I made my way up on the stage, asked the lady who introduced me how to work the clicker for my power point, she showed me then left me to present.

As I opened my mouth the tears started coming. I took another deep breath, and said “Phew! Let’s switch gears for a moment as I share a patients side of things.” Then I went right into it. After thanking all the doctors for coming to share and wanting to learn I thought I was going down. I don’t know how I pulled it together, but I did. I could hear myself talking, I wasn’t rushing and I had magically memorized my speech. I was able to look at the crowd that I had feared and shared my family’s journey with every ounce of my heart. As I clicked through the power point I would glimpse at the pictures on the small screen in front of me and every one reminded me why I was doing this.

When I finally made it to the end I was crying. Getting those last few sentences out was the toughest. But, I did it. All I can remember is that I said thank you. Picking my papers up off the podium is a picture that is burned in my head. I didn’t wait for questions from the audience. I walked off the stage and gave Ellyn the biggest hug. I felt SO good knowing I did it. What I didn’t notice though was that everyone in that room was giving me a standing ovation. WOW! How did I do that with our story? I’ve also been told there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. 20171023_001346.png

So many people approached me and thanked me for sharing afterwards. A few speakers that followed even mentioned me. It was amazing. I have never felt so accomplished. I know I did the right thing by accepting Ellyn’s invitation. I had opened the eyes of the medical professionals. I let them see just a glimpse of life in a family with EoE. I hope I lit a little fire under them.

There was one gentleman, who I didn’t get his name. He approached me and thanked me for sharing. He then told me I am an amazing woman. To handle what my family has gone through and is going through I must be able to handle anything. He told me I am very strong and that I am a super mom.  It was like what all of you, my cheering section, has always told me. You know what? It felt good to hear it again after giving that emotional speech. Like maybe now I accept that title.

Thank you to all of my supporters who cheered me on! This was definitely an experience that isn’t over. I feel it maybe the start of something new.

Stay tuned. I am going to share more on the conference!

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October 23, 2017 Posted by | Charlie's allergies, daily life, Gage's allergies, LIVING, Nathan's allergies, Tinleigh's allergies | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

We’re EATING!

It is awesome that Gage and Tinleigh are eating now. As of today Gage has added apple, buckwheat, corn, pickles / cucumber, VeganEgg, squash and oats. Tinleigh is up to banana, corn, squash, potato and pear. Tinleigh tried pickle and coconut but had a reaction to both. When she tried pickle her bottom lip swelled up and with coconut her throat felt funny she told us.

PicsArt_03-13-09.45.23What I completely forgot about was how hard it is to cook for all the people! I try to make fun things for them to eat so they get the full spectrum of foods with what little they have. I’ll tell you what though, it’s tough. Every recipe is 50 different ingredients. The dishes pile high and then it feels like you’re starting all over again.

I have successfully made Gage some buckwheat cornbread. Just to see the smile on his face when he eats it defiantly makes it all worth  the while. He’s also had buckwheat pancakes and buckwheat apple cinnamon muffins. I think he’s in heaven . I tried to make Tinleigh some banana coconut muffins but those bothered her throat. She’s loving corn and we had totally forgotten about corn pasta! Huge hurrah for that. She keeps telling me she is just having the best days of her life because she can eat different foods. Makes my heart smile and break all at the same time.

I’ve found them dried fruits to snack on along with safe fruit leather. Gage can eat crackers and they both have noodles now. It’s all so exciting to them. Potato chips, corn chips and popcorn! Things every kid should be able to enjoy.

20170313_131333On the new news front we had Layton’s allergies tested. She was so cooperative and brave. Poor thing had no idea she was about to be pricked 50 times. She didn’t even cry out. She did hit me twice when it was done though and that’s okay. Lucky for her only 3 things showed up; clam, oyster and flounder. She’s eaten fish sticks and snuck some of Charlie’s shrimp before but never had a reaction. Her testing was so small they said just use caution. Well I don’t think she’s a huge oyster fan so I doubt we’ll have any trouble telling her no. We still plan to scope her in April and see if anything is going on in there.

Tinleigh had a huge reaction to playing with play dough so that’s completely out now. She’s had smaller reactions here and there. Sometimes even played with it and didn’t have a reaction at all. This last one really got her so I told her no more. She wishes play dough was never created.

Tinleigh’s airborne reactions seem to be under control. She did have some freak eye incident a few days ago. Her eyes just swelled up. I have no idea why. We threw her in the shower and gave her some Benadryl and she cleared up. You never know who’s going to react to what here.

What I’m most excited about soon is spring break. We LOVE the beach and the beach loves us. It will be even more awesome that this year we can actually go out to eat. We never do because it’s just too hard to eat in front of them. This year I can pack them food and everyone will get to eat together!

March 13, 2017 Posted by | Gage's allergies, Layton's food exploration, LIVING | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tinleigh’s Complicated

In December the decision was made to remove Tinleigh’s 3 safe foods and scope her to make sure she’s clear when only on the formula. Turns out, she wasn’t clear. In fact, she was worse with no foods than she was at her last scope. Her previous scope with her 3 foods was zero in her mid and 20 in her lower esophagus.  This scope she was 7 in her mid and 30 in her lower. 

tinleighWe know it’s not reflux. Her numbers were even lower when she trialed watermelon 6 months ago. Then they spiked up, then back down and now up again.

Our GI spoke with other doctors and aside from saying “good luck with that one” we are now wondering if Tinleigh is an even rarer bird. Is rarer a word? Tinleigh’s been having airborne reactions. Could those be part of this problem? What if it’s environmental allergies causing her eosinophil counts to stay high? We can’t put her in a bubble.

Our game plan is to test Tinleigh’s environmental allergies and see where that gets us. She’s only ever tested positive to a few environmental things but that was in New York. She hasn’t had those tested since moving here. Is Tinleigh allergic to our new state? Wouldn’t that be just awesome, did you catch the sarcasm there. Will our doctor prescribe a new state for us?

Before we dive into trying to figure out Tinleigh though we’re going to give Tinleigh the same break we’re giving Gage. Tinleigh is going on the same swallowed steroid twice a day. Each week we’ll let her have one need food. As long as she’s not showing symptoms we’ll keep going. She’ll be scoped around the end of April to make sure her dosage amount works for her. She will get to do this for a year or two. Then we’ll go back to figuring her out. So far she’s had squash and all of it’s varieties. This week we’re working on potatoes. She will tell you French fries are amazing. 20170222_224546

I’m really going to enjoy this time with her of letting her eat. It’s almost like introducing food to a baby for the first time, except, it’s a very expressive talkative baby that has a million things to say about the food. 20170219_103708

February 23, 2017 Posted by | LIVING | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Helping hands

The evening I had posted my last post, about finding a new church, I received an unexpected phone call. It was someone from the church. It was a very important person from the church, the Pastor’s wife and children’s ministry director. Completely caught me off guard. Through the grapevine she had heard about my post and read it. She felt it in her heart to call me right then. Let me tell you, I really felt grateful for that phone call.

She didn’t need to call me.

She could have ignored the whole situation.

She wanted to know our story and wanted to help. They wanted to make their church a safe place for my kids.

As you know, I am a HUGE advocate for my kids. However, I’m not one to walk into someplace new and say hey you need to change this and this just for us. So I did feel a bit awkward explaining what my kids can and can’t be around. When we were finished talking I felt so much love, hope and excitement that they wanted us to come back. More importantly they wanted it to be safe for us. They really wanted us to give them another chance. I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do. The very next Sunday we went and this is what I saw. wpid-20150927_120025.jpgAs a matter of fact there is now no food allowed in the room Tinleigh is in. I could have cried. They didn’t need to go out of their way to make changes for us, but they did. That’s just HUGE! We’re just some little allergy family trying to find a new church home.

A number of times during the week the Pastor’s wife and I messaged about things that are okay and things that are off limits. I would smile every time I saw a message from her. Warmed my heart. I am enjoying sharing my knowledge that may help them to keep another allergy child safe in the future. I even had another mom that attends the church reach out to me who’s son also has a feeding tube. It’s nice to make those types of connections with people who know a little about what life maybe like for you.

I spoke with a number of people in charge of different positions at the church when we were there on Sunday. They all knew of our situation and all wanted to help us feel comfortable. They did. I felt so at ease and also excited, because I had helped a whole new house understand our allergies and how to help keep my kids safe.

I have learned a huge lesson through this, the hard way.

I’ve learned that I can’t just say she’s allergic to everything. That’s way to vague and leaves everyone wide open for disaster.

I’ve learned Tinleigh is VERY allergic to wheat. Those small reactions I’ve seen while she plays with play-dough could end up very bad. Wheat will probably be a food she never gets to eat again. I’ve also learned that a food she once wasn’t allergic to can become a huge allergen for her. Probably holds true for Gage and Charlie as well. SCARY.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say “Hey, while we’re visiting today would you mind making a few changes?” People do want to help, they do want to keep my kids safe. I’m not being out of line by asking. If they don’t try to accommodate, then we’re probably in the wrong place.

I’ve learned there are still many people out there that want to help and do care.

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Please pray for Gage and Tinleigh this Thursday. We will be making a trip to see the GI doctor and they will be getting scoped to see if we have things under control enough to move forward with food trials. Gage had to remove sweet potatoes and broccoli. We also started him on a medication for reflux. His last scope numbers were as bad as right before he got his feeding tube. If he’s not better this time then we have a big problem and his disease is out of control again, which will mean we have to start removing foods we thought were safe. Tinleigh got to keep sweet potatoes and oranges. She also started a medication for reflux. If her biopsies are bad then she looses sweet potatoes and oranges. This is one of those huge scopes that I am so worked up about. My nerves are about shot. I worry so much about how it will effect them, especially Gage, mentally. He wants to move forward SO BAD. EoE sucks, we hate it. Please pray for a cure. wpid-20150823_184703.jpg

September 28, 2015 Posted by | LIVING | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scopes x4

We scheduled all four kids to be scoped on the same day. Our crew filled the 4 spots the hospital would do that day.

The night before we made the 3 hour drive to the hotel. We set up a formula bar.camera 081Fed everyone a snack and attempted to settle in for the night. IMG_0724Layton luckily went right to sleep in her pack’n’play. Tinleigh slept with mom and I. Nathan and the boys took the pull out couch. I think Nathan got the short end of the stick as I noticed Gage basically slept on top of him all night.

We had to get up bright and early. I tried to keep track of the times things happened and do a blog post that way, it ended up too crazy for me to keep going back to log things in.

Here’s as far as I got

4:30am up and at em
4:37 i put my makeup on by the light of the microwavecamera 090
4:45 mom broke her diamond necklace in the dark hotel room and the diamond flew off
5:00 woke up kids
5:15 found missing diamond
5:30 headed to hospital
5:50 checked in all 4 kidscamera 099
6:20 got called back to our roomphoto 2
7:15 Layton got loopy medscamera 098
7:35 Layton went back
8:05 Tinleigh got loopy meds
8:10 Laytons done
Tinleigh went back
Gage got meds
9:07 Gage went back

After this I wasn’t able to keep a log. Once Gage went back Layton came out. Mom and I headed down to be with her and could hear her yelling as we rounded the corner. I knew I had another little Tinleigh on my hands. We walked into her curtain area where one of the nurses was trying to hold her as she screamed and tried to wiggle away. She was fired up. I noticed something in her mouth. I quickly asked what it was. The nurse said a goldfish cracker. WHAT?! I said don’t those have dairy in them? I don’t usually buy them because my other kids are allergic to them. The nurse looked at me and said no it’s just wheat. We scooped the cracker out of her mouth anyways, they handed her to me and then they all left. I grabbed the bag of crackers and sure enough there’s milk in the crackers. I looked down at Layton and right there around her ankle is her little allergy bracelet with one work on it: MILK. I was pissed and nervous all at the same time. I was trying to calm her down, watch for any signs of a reaction and trying to figure out in my head how to handle this situation with the nurses. Her regular nurse came in and I told her in a calm manner the crackers do have milk in them. I then told her if this would have been Tinleigh she would be having an anaphylactic reaction. The nurse went and said something to the pacu nurses about their mistake. I left it at that. Luckily Layton was fine. I called the patient advocate line the next day and took care of the situation. photo 5I then asked the nurse for a glucose bottle for Layton in hopes it would calm her. That’s what always worked for Tinleigh. Sure enough it worked for Layton as well. Layton didn’t like the heart monitors, her IV or the blood pressure cuff. She just wanted it all off. So we keep giving her little bottles of water and turned on the tv. I was able to keep her a little more calm until it was time to unhook her from everything. Once she was finally calm Tinleigh came rolling into our recovery bay. photo 4Tinleigh has a history of waking up crazy mad. The doctor now gives her a little something to calm her down. It works like a charm. She woke up happy and mellow this time. She saw Layton’s little bottle and instantly wanted one too. She may be 3-1/2 but if it keeps her happy then so be it. We entertained the girls for a while and then Gage came out. photo 3We propped him up in a chair and he was quiet and content. Didn’t want bothered only wanted some sprite. Layton was starting to want to run around by this point. So we found a wagon and took the girls for rides up and down the hall. It was still early in the morning and we were the only ones in the whole recovery area. photo 1(1)Finally Charlie came out. We propped him up in a chair as well.camera 171They boys sat drinking sprite and watching tv.  No one got sick. No one threw a fit, except Layton. It was a good day for scopes. The doctor came and spoke to us once everyone was done. Everything appeared good in each of them. Tinleigh had one little spot that looked like small ulcer so they biopsied it. Other than that all the inflammation was down. We know not to get our hopes up because that doesn’t always mean they’re eosinophil clear but it is a good sign that things could be better. We left the hospital by 12:30. We were all exhausted but it was over, we did it.

Friday afternoon I got a call from the doctor. Results were in. I felt numb. She asked who I wanted first. Layton of course! Guess what Layton scoped clear! She may also start on dairy. I couldn’t believe my ears. I think I’m still in shock. Does this mean she’s cleared for life? No, not really. She is on all food at this point in time and is scoping clear. It could flare in the future. We’ll pray that she doesn’t. Charlie was 4 before he started having issues and he was on a regular diet until that point. Let’s think positive though. IMG_0737Next up were Charlie’s results. He was clear all the way through. There were no more eosinophils in his belly either. We had removed soy and started him on reflux medication. The eosionphils in his lower esophagus were gone also. So we will keep him on the meds and off of soy going forward. Even though he doesn’t show any allergic reactions to soy his skin and blood test for soy are huge. So in this case allergy testing does work for him trying to figure out EoE. Charlie is going to trial beef next. He hasn’t had beef since he was 4 and that was the food that set everything into action for him as far as allergies and EoE go. He can only eat pork and fish right now and really needs another protein. Chicken is a trigger and he keeps testing positive to shellfish so beef it is. Fingers crossed he doesn’t have an allergic reaction. camera 039

Gage’s scope was better. All of his inflammation and furrowing were gone. So the removal of corn helped clear things up. However, he was still showing 10/12 eosinophils in some areas. Gage has always had a lower number of eosiophils since having a feeding tube. The highest it’s ever been though is a 9. We don’t want to see these numbers in a steady climb. Cauliflower was the only thing he was trialing. I mentioned to our doctor he has been complaining of his throat burning. So we are going to let Gage keep cauliflower and start him on reflux meds. We are hoping maybe he has some reflux going on and this is why he’s showing low numbers of eosinophils. We will let him take the meds for 2 weeks before letting him start a new trial. His new trial will be broccoli and watermelon. We will scope him at the end of July. photo 1

Tinleigh failed her food trial this time around. Although she didn’t have any visual signs of EoE her numbers were 10/20. So we have to remove bananas and squash from her diet. The doctor is letting Tinleigh keep Enjoy Life Chocolate chips because they are just cocoa. We are going to pull these 2 foods from her diet for two weeks then she will trial oranges and sweet potatoes. Tinleigh will get scoped at the same time as Gage.

For both Tinleigh and Gage if they have high numbers at their next scope we will have to dial things back and get them to a clear scope before we can continue to move forwards. So i’m really praying things straighten out for them these next two months.

We’re very happy with how things are going for the kids.  A little sad Tinleigh has to take away bananas and squash but she still gets to move forward. It’s all just part of how crazy this disease is.

May 30, 2015 Posted by | LIVING | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

6 Weeks

The last few days have been ok. Gage has asked for popcorn, chips and a few other corn items. I remind him that he can’t have corn anymore. He says okay can I have… and asks for something else. He doesn’t complain. It’s just matter of fact and that’s it. He has asked why corn messed him up and we talk about it. He hasn’t complained or thrown any fits. Tinleigh has also asked for food. We offer her blueberries, olives, Popsicles, candy or to make her snow. Of course she’s sick of all of those things and says no. So we try and distract her by suggesting she play something. It’s going to be a very long 6 weeks.

We’re on day 3.

I feel horribly for them.

I can’t imagine being in their shoes. wpid-20150118_103535.jpg

So, that’s just what I’m going to do, walk in their shoes.

I am going to limit my diet down to just a few foods for the next 6 weeks.

NO cheat days.

NO “just one nibble won’t hurt.”

So here’s my list of foods I CAN eat:

chicken

spinach

yogurt

banana

blueberries

oatmeal

raisins

eggs

green beans

cucumber

peppers

flour tortilla

Cliff bars

Starting tomorrow I will only eat these foods for the next 6 weeks.

I’m hoping to get insight on how my kids might feel mentally about food. How it affects them socially. Just get an overall sense of how it is for them.

Anyone want to join me?

Follow along to see how I’m doing.

Sponsor my 6 weeks by donating to CURED and help my kids get the cure they need.

Help cure them so they can eat more than just a few foods.

Make sure and write in Honor of the Root family when you make your donation. karas camera 1314

January 18, 2015 Posted by | daily life | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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