Patient Perspectives – I am 13 and I have EoE

Hi my name is Zachary and I am 13 years old. I was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) at 13 months of age. I have had this disease my entire life.

Besides EoE, I have food allergies. In the beginning I was on formula only (an elemental diet, which is only amino acid-based nutrition) because there weren’t any foods that were safe for me to eat. When I was 9 years old and in the 4th grade, I switched to Neocate Splash. I was happy to switch to Splash because it is premade in a drink box so I could just put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes and voila! There’s my meal! Throughout the years, the number of safe foods that I have has grown. Right now, I have around 40 safe foods. In the last three years alone I have gained 5 foods.

EoE impacts my everyday life since it restricts what foods I can eat. It has forced me to plan ahead by being prepared for every scenario. If I want to go to a restaurant with my friends, I have to make sure that there is something on the menu safe for me to eat, or bring my own food. I also have to bring my epinephrine auto-injector everywhere I go.

I am very excited that this week is National Eosinophil Awareness Week because I have a personal connection with its origin. In 2007, my family helped the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) to get this special week declared. I was one of the kid ambassadors that went to talk to members of Congress about eosinophilic esophagitis. That was one of the best things that came out of having EoE!

-Zachary

For more information about EoE and National Eosinophil Awareness Week, please check out www.apfed.org.

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