Cheyanna’s extremely rare condition, Fructose/Sucrose Intolerance, was a mystery to all the doctors we saw for several years. The doctors told me she would be slow and that she would not be able to participate in sports or live a "normal life."
After receiving her vaccinations at age six months, she began showing signs of Failure to Thrive. By age one, she was turned over to Dell Children’s Center. She was consuming near 3000 calories a day and did not grow a single millimeter nor gain a pound throughout that year. She began losing her hair, could not speak, and was listless. She awoke every morning at 5 AM with a shrilling scream for food, which continued throughout the day until she fell asleep. She would eat more food than a man and consume it so quickly she would choke. She would eat a lemon with a peel, a can of sardines, or anything edible. She was starving. She literally would have to be pulled away from food. She would never stop eating and would never leave a crumb to be seen. This lead to isolation as we could not go to restaurants or places with any food in sight. She would not stop eating unless there was no food to be seen.
My educational background in Nutritional Science became priceless. It broadened my knowledge to medical and nutritional avenues to pursue in order to possibly help find answers to Cheyanna’s undiagnosed condition. We began to branch outside of western medicine seeking all and any alternatives while she was continuously tested for all imaginable conditions and put on every diet possible. I never stopped my pursuit to find a cure for her. I desperately traveled across the states, seeking anyone with knowledge that could help save my baby girl. I spent hours upon hours on my knees in prayer and tears begging the Lord to save my Cheyanna! The teary eyes of my child looking up at me wondering why I was holding her down for blood draws, Barium swallows, or other uncomfortable procedures made my heart never rest. The exploratory surgery in which she endured a mild seizure to the medication further fueled my eagerness to find a cure so she would never again have to undergo surge
Through Muscle Testing, Cheyanna was diagnosed as Fructose Intolerant, and the diagnosis was confirmed through testing at Dell Children’s Hospital. Fructose intolerance meant she absolutely could not consume food containing sucrose or fructose as it would cause her to mal-absorb her other nutrients. At her young, fragile stage of age, she could only consume limited veggies (as even many vegetables contain sucrose) and protein with no sauces (as most contain sucrose or fructose). Thus, this diet restriction led to much social isolation. As visits to the bank (lollipops), pictures with Santa (candy canes), children’s church or pre-school (cheerios/ fruit for snacks) all involved food that Cheyanna could not have but too young to understand and made her very upset.
However, determined to not allow my daughter to feel alone in the battle I would eat the same things right beside her. At the park or social gatherings, I sat with my Cheyanna so she would not be alone eating sardines (high protein, healthy fat and calcium content), bell peppers and drinking unsweetened almond milk, while all the other children and their mothers were enjoying sandwiches, fruit and drinking Capri-Suns. This Mama would be a teammate and not let her child endure the journey alone.
Cheyanna is now healthy and completely healed from the condition I was told she would have for life. She has no restrictions. It was years of alternative therapies, specialized diets and intense nutritional regimens to regain her physical health on top of countless other therapies to improve her speech and her mental wellness.
Cheyanna now - becoming the Texas State Champion for vault.
I now know why the Lord had me pursue a degree in Biomed and Nutrition, even though my career path was to own my own business, God knew I would need this knowledge to care for Cheyanna’s very rare health condition. God has presented and compelled me with a mission to bring help, happiness, and empowerment to children and their families who suffer these conditions, just as our family did.
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