Gio Caro, 6, helped bring holiday cheer to patients at Seattle Children’s.
The holidays arrived early this year for families at Seattle Children’s and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). Amazon brightened the day for patients and families by making one of their largest – and most special – deliveries of the year.
“We so appreciate the important work Seattle Children’s and Odessa Brown does for families in our Seattle community,” said Sam Kennedy, an Amazon spokesperson. “We are proud to give back to such amazing organizations and to put a smile on people’s faces during this special time of year.”
The hospital was filled with excitement as patients and families gathered around a giant Amazon gift box in the inpatient playroom at the hospital. Giomoni (Gio) Caro, 6, a long-time patient at Seattle Children’s, was given the honor of unveiling what was inside the box – a brand new Kindle For Kids Bundle with the latest E-reader for every child in the hospital and a $50 gift card for families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – and was designated as an “Elf for a Day” to help spread holiday cheer throughout the hospital. Read full post »
Dr. Ambartsumyan poses with items from her wall of memorabilia.
Everyone poops. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about it.
Dr. Lusine Ambartsumyan, director of Seattle Children’s Gastrointestinal Motility program, is on a mission to open up a dialogue about poop.
According to Ambartsumyan, people tend to shy away from conversations related to bowel movements. She says many people feel uncomfortable or shameful talking about it, but these are vital conversations for parents and children to have together.
Millions of children around the world have problems with constipation and fecal incontinence, or the ability to control bowel movements. However, these issues can be difficult to diagnose if children and parents aren’t willing to speak up.
“There’s a stigma, and sometimes parents don’t know their child is suffering from constipation or incontinence because they feel ashamed to talk about it,” said Ambartsumyan. “We have to desensitize and demystify shame around poop. I talk about poop all day long, every single day, and I love talking about it. I want people to feel comfortable talking about it too because it’s critical for their health.” Read full post »
Milestones deserve a celebration. At least that’s what Seattle Children’s Pediatric Advanced Care Team thought when 9-year-old Gabby Krueger, a longtime patient at Seattle Children’s, received some good news the week before Christmas. After 14 weeks in the hospital, doctors gave the family the green light to go home.
“We’ve been here a really long time,” said Kim Sistek, Gabby’s mother. “We were really excited to go home.”
The news came after Gabby showed improvement in motility. For three years, Gabby has needed assistance going to the bathroom. She’s needed to use enemas to pass stool on her own. Her parents were beginning to have conversations with doctors about what Gabby’s life would look like if she lost motility. Her outcome was looking bleak. But just a couple weeks ago, Gabby made an improvement. Read full post »
Avi Shapiro, 15, on a beach in New York, weeks after starting novel diet.
When Avi Shapiro, 15, began complaining of an ache in his stomach, the last thing his mother thought could be the cause was a chronic disease. But after several trips to the doctor, that’s exactly the diagnosis they received.
“I thought the tummy ache would go away, or that maybe he was lactose intolerant,” said Ingrid Elliott, Avi’s mother. “My next thought was, ‘If it’s anything, I hope it’s celiac disease.’ I know how to deal with that. I am gluten intolerant so I know it’s something we could treat with diet.”
After multiple visits to see their pediatrician and a trip to Seattle Children’s for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, the results were confirmed. Shapiro’s intestines were severely inflamed. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowl Disease (IBD). Read full post »
Esmee (left) and Willa (right) pose for a photo.
A clinical trial was the only hope for Esmee, a little girl adopted from China. Read below about her story and the innovative research being done at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Institute to help those who would otherwise have no treatment option for chronic hepatitis B (HBV).
Renee Jones always wanted a little girl, so when the adoption agency called one day to tell Jones about Esmee and Willa, she was thrilled – two little girls instead of one!
She filed the paperwork for adoption and waited patiently to hear back. Read full post »
Elizabeth doesn’t let Crohn’s slow her down, enjoys hiking.
Elizabeth McIntosh, 19, has been through a lot to get to where she is today. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, one of the most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), at age 2, she felt like she was never going to be able to have a normal life – one uninterrupted by Crohn’s flare ups and debilitating abdominal pain.
But after undergoing surgery to remove more than three feet of her colon, she’s finally living the life she’s always hoped to live and wants to offer support to others living with Crohn’s.
“Never lose hope,” said McIntosh, who’s been a patient at Seattle Children’s since diagnosis. “You may have a long journey ahead of you, but you always have to have hope. It will get better.” Read full post »
Elizabeth McIntosh, 19
A unique fashion show took place at Seattle Children’s Hospital this weekend during the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Conference, presented by the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and Seattle Children’s. To help end stigmas around ostomies, eight children and teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease, ages 8 to 20, walked the runway styled head-to-toe in the latest spring fashions by Nordstrom. Four of the children in the fashion show had ostomies, two did not have ostomies, and two of the models have IBD, but do not have an ostomy.
The only question was: did the audience know which models had ostomies and which didn’t?
The answer was a resounding “No.” Read full post »
Gluten has been in the news a lot lately and often gets a bad rap. Some see a gluten-free diet as a cure all for a vast array of stomach problems, including pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and even weight gain and behavior problems.
But gluten – a nutritious mixture of proteins found in wheat and other grains – isn’t necessarily the culprit, says Nancy Nelson, a nurse practitioner at Seattle Children’s in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology program who specializes in stomach problems and inflammatory bowel disease. Cutting it out of your diet may not magically make you feel better.
That doesn’t mean that gluten sensitivity isn’t real – just that it gets the blame more often than it should. And while the cause of stomach problems varies, the symptoms are often very similar making it difficult to figure out how to feel better. Read full post »
Sometimes, everyday moments can have the most profound impact on an individual’s life. For Dr. Jeffrey Avansino, a surgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, that moment came many years ago as a new attending physician. An appointment with an 8-year-old girl changed his path as a doctor and inspired him to become a national leader in reconstructive pelvic medicine.
“There needed to be a better way”
“I walked into the exam room not really knowing what to expect,” said Avansino. “The little girl I was seeing that day had fecal incontinence and had previously undergone surgery to repair an anorectal malformation.”
For most of the appointment she hid behind her mother, not wanting to talk. She was socially withdrawn, and her mother explained that she was having trouble concentrating at school. Avansino learned from their discussion that she had been going to school in diapers. She wasn’t able to control her bowels and would have accidents throughout the school day.
“I was shocked,” said Avansino. “I knew I needed to do something to help, but also I couldn’t manage patients like her on an individual level.” Read full post »
Dr. Ghassan Wahbeh, right, diagnosed Paige Norris, now 14, with Crohn’s disease three years ago.
Paige Norris’s young life seemed to be sailing along with fair winds and sunny skies. At 10 years old she was an enthusiastic tennis player with lots of friends and a stellar academic life – two years ahead in every subject.
But sometime in fourth grade her internal weather shifted, and she developed debilitating abdominal pain.
Her parents felt helpless as doctors downplayed Paige’s symptoms. “It was so frustrating to hear condescending advice like, ‘kids have stomach issues; she’ll get over it,’” recalls Deborah Norris. “But I know my daughter, and she’s not a complainer.”
Paige’s condition worsened as mysterious bouts of vomiting and diarrhea sapped her energy. She stopped growing, lost 20 pounds, and had to quit her favorite sport.
Read full post »