“Her body mistakenly attacks healthy cells”
Carly’s parents became concerned when they noticed their daughter wasn’t developing like other girls her age. At eight years old, Carly’s growth was delayed in comparison to her peers. She had very little energy and experienced frequent stomach pain. Carly saw a gastroenterologist, but the doctor didn’t find any problems with her health. When she turned 14, her stomach pain became unbearable. Vomiting bile and running a high fever, Carly was admitted to the hospital. Her doctors put her on a liquid diet for the next few days as they waited for the results from her MRI, endoscopy, and colonoscopy. The tests showed that Carly had structured blockage and severe inflammation in her intestines. Her iron levels were also so low they wouldn’t register on the chart, a common development associated with chronic intestinal bleeding. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a rare inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. It can lead to relentless abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. The inflammation often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. It is both painful and debilitating, and may lead to life-threatening complications such as bowel obstructions, colon cancer, and gallbladder or liver disease. The liquid diet allowed nutrients to be injected into Carly’s veins in order to give her bowels a chance to rest, reducing the inflammation in the short term.
Carly’s treatment plan mainly consists of drug therapy. She takes immune system suppressors to reduce the inflammation and has to have her blood checked regularly to look for side effects, such as a lowered resistance to infection. Carly also has TNF inhibitor IV infusions once every eight weeks. Through this process, the medication goes directly into her bloodstream to neutralize an immune system protein known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This is necessary because Crohn’s disease causes the immune system to become overactive and produce excess amounts of the TNF protein, prompting the body to mistakenly attack healthy cells in the GI tract resulting in inflammation. In addition, Carly takes antihistamines to induce hunger so that she can gain weight.
Carly enjoys reading, painting, and playing the guitar. She loves school and excels in all of her classes. Carly is also a fan of accessories and make-up. One of her favorite activities is watching the special effects make-up artist competition show, Face Off.
Kids Wish Network is hard at work planning a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Carly; make sure to stay up to date by checking back soon for all of the grand details of her spectacular wish!