Medically Fragile

It occurs to me sometimes that when people in general refer to Nicky or any child with EB as “medically fragile”, they may not truly understand what that means. And the truth is that the definition varies widely not only depending by the form of EB but also from patient to patient. Since my only “specialization” is with Nicky himself, I will attempt to clarify what that means to Nicky being called “medically fragile”, which may not be far from describing the experience of other RDEB families. Let’s start with the acronym itself before I go any further to explain why this condition is so rare: RDEB = Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. It is called “Recessive” because it’s inherited recessively,Read More

Healing

I came across this blog this morning and it gave me pause… It spoke about the sacrifices of a special need parent and what’s involved, which include depression and problems with self-worth among others pressing issues, such as isolation and financial problems. I saw myself in this post… the myself of a few years ago, and how low I felt. The lowest low one can ever imagine. I can’t help but feel that special need parents, as a community, don’t get enough attention nor respect in that regard. Nobody can ever say we don’t make sacrifices for our kids! I see family members dropping off their kids for weeks, even months to grandparents or other relatives, while we cannotRead More

It’s All About Family

… and just like that, it’s over… We got back from Italy late last week and I am sitting here pondering how it went so fast. But the truth is, it didn’t. It didn’t feel fast, I can still feel the warmth of my family and the beauty and love that surrounded me. And while the trip was rough on Nicky, he’s glad he went. The flights we took to get there were from Los Angeles to Paris for 11 hours and then Paris to Turin for 90 minutes with Air France, and coming back we took Alitalia from Turin to Rome for less than an hour,  and then Rome to Los Angeles for 12.5 hours. I can’tRead More

Anemia with RDEB

When Nicky was born I was told of anemia being an issue with RDEB (Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa). With this knowledge I gave him Ferrous Sulfate supplements as suggested by his pediatrician thinking that would fix it, but somehow I was unaware of how serious anemia could really become. It wasn’t until he was 7 years old that he was tested for iron levels and we found out his levels were so low they were “borderline lethal”. Talk about scary. It was then that we started a routine of giving him iron and blood infusions that continues ’till this day. Why blood? Because over time his blood loses the ability to absorb iron so by giving him a freshRead More

To Bandage or NOT to Bandage. That is the Question.

If there was one thing I’ve been criticized endlessly for, and for which I’ve stood my ground over and over again, is my need to bandage Nicky. I wrote extensively about it in my book (Butterfly Child), but I feel the need to make my feelings more “public”, so to speak, because, once again, I was attacked for it, merciless. I am not sure why people I do not know, who very obviously (having met them or seen their pics) are dealing with a different subtype or subform of EB feel the need to go to the extent of calling me a “bad”, “horrific” or a “crazy mother” and why they feel the need to “tell me what to do”, asRead More

…and the truth of the matter is…

I don’t often talk about Connor in my blogs, but I will today, among other things I just need to get off my chest in the nicest way possible. 😛 I truly feel that the unsung heroes in the special need family are the siblings. Because Connor was born after Nicky, he never had to learn to accept EB, he just “knew” at a young age that Nicky was fragile and he naturally touched him gently even as a toddler. As he grew older he even started being his little servant, not minding at all when Nicky would ask him to get water or get him whatever he needed and never resented him. Connor is now 12, andRead More

What Does It Mean To Have A Child With RDEB?

Since this is “EB Awareness Week” (#EBawarenessweek) I wanted to write a short blog about what is like to have a child with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. For me, it means having to inspect every inch of my son’s skin every night. It means taking a sterile needle to lance every new blister and drain them so they don’t get any larger. It means deciding how to bandage each wound, because they all need different ointments and bandages depending on how far along in the healing process they are. It means having a house full of mass quantities of bandages and creams, all of which will only last a month. It means having to help my son getRead More

Nicky’s Hands Ordeal

For EB Awareness week this year I want to take a moment and give everyone a rundown of the horrible side effect of RDEB and the mittening of the hands and how I found out about it and how we dealt with it. Of course hindsight is 20/20 as with everything else with EB. When Nicky was born the information I was given and I found did not mention this particular problem. The internet in 1996 was worthless. The only thing I was mildly aware of was that the hands “could” web. And by “web” I thought the fingers could web together or develop skin between like a duck’s feet. I know… crazy, but having no contact withRead More

“Butterfly Talk” on YouTube

I am slowly adding all the episodes of “Butterfly Talk” on YouTube as time allows for your listening and viewing pleasure. Butterfly Talk is a monthly radio show/podcast I run myself. The episodes not only are available on the Blog Talk Radio website but also on iTunes. Putting them on YouTube expands the audience, the more awareness the better! This was the first “official” episode with my good friend Lorraine Montello as my first guest. Her son Garrett has RDEB and is 18 years old. She also started a business with her son called “Montello Fine Foods“. Happy Listening!! Love & Light, Post Views: 18

Nicky’s Life Part 6

This is part 6 of an infinite series of photos I am posting on the Facebook page I have for the book I wrote about my journey raising my son with RDEB (Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa) called Butterfly Child. I am posting a few images from Nicky’s life and commenting on either what was going on at the time or explaining things about the picture per se. This “picture commentary” will serve as a companion for anyone that is kind enough to purchase and read my book as my appreciation and thanks. April 2000 – Nicky is 3.5 years old here. Wrapping the hands had become second nature. While it didn’t 100% stop the webbing and contracting of the hands (mostly becauseRead More

EB Still Surprises Me.

One would think that after 18+ years, nothing about EB would surprise me anymore. Well, it does. EB still manages to shock us at what it can do and how it manifests itself. Last night as I was taking off a bandage from Nicky’s upper left arm, it looked as if an infection (pus) was setting in a wound-but not in the usual way. Normally the pus (I know, yuk, but EB can be just majorly yucky) fills up a blister, or it colonizes a wound, but this time it was different. It looked like it managed to infiltrate itself way under the skin somewhere, so the pus had to be “squeezed out” of this little hole. WTF?Read More

Infections Beware!

On our first trip to Stanford, back in August 1997, Dr. McGuire told us something that would forever be etched in my mind. He told us that the #1 enemy and the #1 reason for the demise for children with RDEB was infections. To say he scared me to death in one sentence it’s the understatement of the year. Not only he confirmed his RDEB diagnosis, but also mentioned the word ‘death’ and ‘infections’ in it. Fantastic. This was about 17.5 years ago, at a time where the only information I could get about RDEB was from books, and they were vague. Children with RDEB were (and still are!) rare, and any Doctor I saw back then treatedRead More

Ask Nicky!

I will be done with my book real soon, and then comes the hard part of selling it or self-publish it, we’ll see. However, in the new year, I want Nicky himself to be able to answer questions on a video I will make of him which I will then upload to YouTube. So, ASK away by leaving a message below on the facebook plug-in. Please be kind and sensitive, it’s all I ask. Nicky is truly a trooper, he wants everyone to know about his condition, so we’re gonna run with it. I am hoping to make several videos each perhaps tackling a different subject per se depending on what Nicky is comfortable talking about. Remember, NickyRead More

Updates on Nicky and What-Nots

I wanted to share this picture of Nicky’s right hand a year post surgery. It’s doing fantastic! We do wrap the hand religiously and use the splint every night to keep the opening between the thumb and index finger intact, and while we lost a bit on the pinky, it is still ‘straight’, which means it does not pull the wrist inside, which is really great regardless. Even if it gets webbed again, as long as it stays straight Nicky does not mind, it’s the thumb which is most important for us to keep open. I wanted to share this pic of the same hand 13 years ago (below), 2002 to be exact, just before the surgery he hadRead More

It Is What It Is

Have you ever had that feeling of being so completely overwhelmed and depressed, yet refusing to give up because, well, you’re not made that way? That’s how I am today. Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person that just ‘gives up’, ‘put a fork in me, I am done’. This whole thing we call life is just depressing. The thing is… I can accept EB and what has brought into my life, but the sheer amount of pain it has brought to my son on a daily basis, it’s just incomprehensible to me. I don’t get it. Yes, 17.5 years later, things are getting worse, much worse, and I just don’t understand why, how, what theRead More

1/2,381,000

I got hit with a big blow yesterday, one I’ve known all along nonetheless. As the DNA results came back that Nicky did in late April at Stanford to find out if he’s eligible for the skin graft trials, I’ve been trying to decipher them myself. I will talk to the Doctor this week (hopefully) to find out if he’s a candidate, in the meantime through my googling I found out that Nicky does have the “Hallopeau Siemens” subtype, which is, sadly, the worse form of Recessive Dystrophic EB. Yes, he has a nucleotide substitution in exon 109, and the mutation is denoted R2685X at the protein level, which points to RDEB-HS and ONLY to RDEB-HS. Ugh. IRead More

No, I am not Latina ;-) & misc. EB stuff

Good Morning to all my friends. I feel a little chatty this morning, so please indulge me! One of the most interesting assumptions people have about me because I live in the Southwest part of the United States with my name spelled with a ‘i’ instead of the English-ized version of Silvia with a y (Sylvia) is how I must be either Latina or at the very least I must be able to speak Spanish. When I tell them I am Italian I am invariably told that Silvia is a Spanish name. Actually… that is not true. Not only I am Italian, my name is also. Wikipedia lists my name originally as Italian, and it’s also a veryRead More

Nicky’s Left Leg & The Deal With Walking

As per Nicky’s wishes, I am posting a few pictures I took a week ago of his left leg/foot. He’s been trying so hard to start walking again. Doctors and others have treated him as if it’s something so easy to walk, his EB team wants him to go to rehab, something he sooooo does not want to do (you can read about that at his CaringBridge Journal October entry). He wanted me to post these pictures to show what he’s dealing with. Let me give everyone a brief summary of what’s been going on with his legs and walking since he was born. I will try to keep it short, promise! Nicky didn’t start walking well onRead More

Beautiful You!

In my quest to collect quotes for my Facebook Page where I share them (I’ve always been a quote freak!), I’ve come through a lot of wisdoms over the years that make me stop and think for a second. None come closer to my heart than those that urge you to be you, you, beautiful you, and to never, ever compare yourself to others. That is a fine and an inspiring statement, but what happens when it’s people in your life that compare you to others? That happened a lot to me growing up and that’s why I find these statements compelling. A few examples are in order. My older sister and I have always been extremely close, butRead More