“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” –Thomas Carlyle
Our warrior, Kendall, was born with a significant heart defect in June 2005. Her first four years were punctuated by four open heart surgeries; one surgery to match each precious year of her life. As we marched through those surgeries with all the faith and courage we could muster, we looked forward to an uneventful future for our family. A future where the extent of our medical worries would be making it to a standard check-up on time, kissing a skinned knee or wiping a runny nose.
We would soon discover Kendall’s four heart surgeries had only scratched the surface. Our future would be anything but uneventful and standard.
In August 2006 Kendall was a cooing, bright-eyed, golden-haired 13 month old girl. It was supposed to be a time for snuggling and bedtime stories. Walks in the stroller and trying new foods.
It was also the time she got her first pneumonia. August 2006 was when we learned what our child sounded like as she struggled for air. It was our line of demarcation from the known to the unknown.
Kendall was admitted to our local Children’s hospital and quickly transferred to the ICU. With each of her labored breaths, our worry took hold. Doctors performed the first of what would be a desperately endless stream of bronchosocopies at her bedside. Their goal was to keep her airway open. Their discovery was an unexplained and alarming amount of mucus in her lungs.
She went on to have chronic pneumonia for the next seven years. A chronic pneumonia of unknown origin. A chronic pneumonia requiring we hospitalize our daughter every 4-6 weeks. A chronic pneumonia that robbed us of any sense of normal or safety.
We traveled the country on a quest for answers. Why are Kendall’s lungs so sick? What piece to the puzzle have we missed? Who can help us?
The longer we searched, the sicker Kendall became. Our lives became a frantic tightrope walk of balancing care for Kendall’s symptoms and searching for something…anything to make her better.
We didn’t understand. We were doing all the right things. She was getting worse when we were doing all the things that were supposed to get her better.
In 2012, we heard the words that no parent wants to hear. Another line of demarcation.
“There’s nothing more we can do, your daughter will always have pneumonia.”
We had exhausted every possible test. As her illness progressed, her treatments were actually causing more issues. We learned Kendall developed adrenal insufficiency from the inhaled steroids she was taking to keep her airway open.
We could not find our path forward. We were told there was no hope. We were lost.
Throughout four open heart surgeries and chronic respiratory disease, Kendall’s spirit remained joyfully intact. She sang through her lengthy breathing treatments and chatted up anyone who would listen. She was curious and always up for a new adventure. She loved music, playing outside, children’s theater. She lives and loves so deeply. We would never give up on her.
In our hearts, we knew she could have a normal life free from the hospital and illness. We just needed to keep searching. We tried many things and many holistic type doctors.
We found Functional Medicine in 2015. Kendall’s doctor read through a “War and Peace”-sized novel of her medical records prior to our visit. We also filled out a few questionnaires.
Something felt different. Something felt hopeful. We were doing more than recounting symptoms and surgeries. We were working toward identifying root causes.
Under the lead of our Functional Medicine doctor, Kendall completed some nutritional deficiency testing as well as a Lyme Disease test. This resulted in what we had been searching for–an answer. Kendall not only had Lyme, but methylation issues and significant nutrient deficiencies. These answers gave us what we longed for; plan to heal our daughter.
Along with an anti-inflammatory diet, Kendall’s doctor was able to select nutritional supplements and appropriate Lyme treatment based on her testing. Her lung secretions decreased, hospital stays became distant memories and she was free to be a little girl.
A little girl who could ride her bike, play with friends and go to school. A little girl free from the shadow of uncertainty and filled with the carefree zest for life only youth can provide.
Functional Medicine has given us hope, health and healing. We are so grateful and want to share this with other children like Kendall. With her in our heart and our mind, we founded Hope Rooted to share our knowledge and lend a hand to hold.
We want this for all children who suffer. A life spent living fully without worry. A life free to grow and flourish. A life of hope.
Hope Rooted. Healing happens here.
Read Kendall’s ADHD Story HERE.