Karen Trisby knew the moment she saw her newborn son, Cazz, that something was wrong. “He was covered with blisters all over his little body,” she said. Doctors from various specialties were called in, but it would be weeks before a diagnosis was given: severe eczema triggered by life-threatening allergies.
Since birth, Cazz has suffered with chronic itching, sleepless nights, blistering rashes and seeping skin lesions. His condition sometimes deteriorates so badly that Cazz has to be admitted to Rady Children’s. He’s been hospitalized a dozen times already, often for weeks at a time.
Cazz is allergic to just about everything. He can’t stay out in the sun (his skin is too sensitive), he can’t swim much (he’s allergic to chlorine), and he can’t play outdoor sports (he’s allergic to grass). He can’t eat anything except lettuce, Rice Krispies and an occasional chicken breast. He survives by drinking an amino-acid-based formula and taking allergy drugs and other medicines.
It hasn’t been easy for Cazz. Strangers stare at him when he goes out. You can clearly see the rashes on his hands and arms and sometimes on his face. He has endless doctor and lab appointments, initially for his eczema and now also for arthritis. Twice a day, when he comes home from school and again at night, his mother slathers his body in ointment and wraps him in bandages like a mummy.
Cazz is fortunate to have three older brothers who look out for him, even hiding their candy so Cazz won’t be tempted. He loves Spiderman, and his mom recently bought him a Spiderman Wii after a particularly grueling day at Rady Children’s. Cazz also enjoys watching wrestling on TV and studying math.
Karen Trisby is extremely grateful to the doctors who have treated Cazz for nearly a decade now. “But I keep waiting for a cure,” she said. Cazz is waiting, too. He constantly asks his doctors, “When am I going to grow out of this?” With a case of eczema as severe as his, no one knows what lies ahead. “This year was better than last,” his mom said. She hopes next year will be even better.