For many kids, getting to run around and play outside is the easiest thing to do, but for seven-year-old Mckenna the simplest action such as walking around the house can be a challenge.
Kenna was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease at birth and has had complications ever since. At birth, she was unable to tolerate feedings and vomited constantly, which was very acidic. It would constantly burn the skin on her face, neck, chest, and pretty much anywhere the vomit would touch.
Kenna also suffers from slow motility of the stomach and intestines. As a baby, Kenna, like many patients diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, took most of her nourishment through a feeding tube.
Kenna’s mitochondrial disease continues to increase and make her daily activities very challenging. The parts of the body that need the most energy are affected most by mitochondrial disease. This includes: the heart, brain, muscles, and lungs. Symptoms of mitochondrial disease may include strokes, seizures, gastrointestinal problems such as reflux, severe vomiting, constipation and diarrhea, swallowing difficulties, failure to grow, blindness, deafness, heart and kidney problems,heat/cold intolerance, diabetes, lactic acidosis, immune system problems, and liver disease.
Treatments do not cure mitochondrial disease but they can help make the symptoms less severe. Kenna goes to a number of doctors and specialists every month to relieve some of the pain she is in. Kenna is constantly being hooked up to an IV to pump nutrients into her body.
“Kenna was able to shower the other day. It is amazing what a warm shower can do for you. She is finally starting to feel like herself everyday. Everything else is just minor hurdles,” Kenna’s mom said.
Everyday doctors are discovering new things about mitochondrial disease. Every year more money and awareness is raised to help find a cure.
A Facebook page was created several years ago by Kenna’s mom to spread awareness about mitochondrial disease and gastrointestinal disease. The page is entitled “Miss Kenna’s Mito Maniacs.”