Samantha is an active teenager with a passion for cooking and baking.
Allergic to Everything
Eating has always been a challenge for Samantha Pecoraro. As an infant her mother, Susan McArthur recalls Samantha constantly vomiting. In preschool Samantha would have belly aches, which her pediatrician mistook for separation anxiety. Samantha underwent rounds of steroids, eliminated wheat, eggs and soy from her diet and was even diagnosed as being lactose intolerant before doctors were able to determine the true cause of her stomach pain.
In April 2007 at the age of 10, she was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an allergic inflammatory condition of the esophagus.
With the condition identified, Samantha, her mother and her Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Dr. Jayshree Ganatra, discussed inserting a nasogastric tube (NG), but the tube proved to be too difficult for Samantha to use. Dr. Ganatra made the decision to remove the NG tube and discussed another option for Samantha, a gastrostomy tube (g-tube).
Naturally Samantha and Susan had concerns about the g-tube. “Will it hurt? Will it be noticeable? What if the balloon pops? How do we change the tube, flush it and keep it clean?” Dr. Ganatra recommended the MIC-KEY*, a low-profile gastrostomy tube. To ease her concerns, Susan turned to the internet and spent several hours on the Halyard Health MIC-KEY* website watching videos of other children like Samantha over and over again. “The website was like my Bible,” said Susan. “I could see that these kids were having normal lives. It helped a lot.”
In January 2011, Samantha received her MIC-KEY* g-tube. She feeds with the MIC-KEY* tube every few hours whether at home or at school, and loves that it is small and easily hidden under clothing, allowing her to decide whether or not to share that she uses a feeding tube.
A Passion for Food
Although Samantha can’t eat food, she is passionate about cooking and baking because it keeps her involved with food. She refers to herself as the “Blind Chef” because she can’t taste what she’s cooking, and dreams of going to culinary school. In fact, Samantha is challenging the cast of Iron Chef America to create something without the top 8 food allergens or corn. These include milk, soy, eggs, wheat, nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, and corn. To sign her petition, please click here.
Samantha and her mother were surprised to learn how simple the tube was to clean and change. “As a mother, I just want people to know that going into it is scary. But within two to three weeks it’s like your life was always like this. If you don’t want people to know they don’t have to know because it’s hidden. The MIC-KEY* tube is very easy to maintain and keep clean.”