Tag Archives: CDG SLC35A2

Happy 9th Birthday Ladybug!!

3 Dec

December 3 – not only is it International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it also happens to be my Ladybugs 9th birthday.

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Two incredible reasons to celebrate this magical day.

I think about this day 9 years ago and am so proud of how far we have come. Ladybug is a fierce, strong, beautiful, little rainbow miracle. On December 3, 2009 I was given the gift of becoming a mother – a dream come true.

I am eternally grateful for everything over these past 9 years, and am truly blessed to be this sweet little girls mama.

Happy Birthday Bug!  xoxo

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Giving Tuesday

27 Nov

Giving Tuesday is a movement that was created in 2012, and has become an international day of giving. It follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two very busy shopping days in North America.

I want to share with you a few of the organizations that are near and dear to our hearts.

During the summer of 2017, when Ladybug was in the hospital for back to back surgeries, and a lengthy stay, I had an aha moment. Sounds cliche I know.  I’ve written many times about the special needs community and how they are amazing for rallying around each other at times of need.  This was very evident that summer. Families that Ladybug took dance with a couple years prior, came to visit several times always bringing snacks, and a complete stranger drove from over an hour away to drop off a weighted blanket to help Ladybug sleep. I could go on and on with the amount of people, not just in the SN community, who were there for Ladybug and myself when we needed it the most.

I felt very fortunate to be a part of a group like this, and knew I wanted to pay it forward. During that summer I saw a Facebook post from a girl, Nikki, who I used to work with. She had moved to India several years prior to volunteer with Sarah’s Covenant Homes. SCH is a group of family like foster homes for children in India who have special needs. These children are in need of sponsors for things like food, clothing, schooling, medical equipment, surgeries etc. The things that many often take for granted.

I felt drawn to help out, even if it was only a little bit every month. That was still a little more that SCH didn’t have. It became a family event, as I would sit down with my own children and talk about SCH, India, and the first little girl we sponsored. My boys would often take the globe out, point to where India was, and were always excited when we’d get an update or photo of our new friend.

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It was an incredible teaching/learning opportunity for myself and my children. It also inspired us to help children from another organization. We became Birthday Box sponsors for a little girl in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut.  The cost of typical birthday party supplies in the far north is insanely high, that is if they are available. This was our second year putting together a box filled with cake mix, icing, candles, party decorations, some treats, and a few gifts. The kids are a part of the entire process, from picking out the items all the way to going to the post office to ship them.

My children are learning what it means to be kind, generous, and give every day – not just one Tuesday a year. This is the best gift I could ever give them.

Here are a couple other organizations that are also very close to our hearts:

McMaster Children’s Hospital – Ladybugs home away from home.

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute – The incredible lab that offered to find out Ladybugs CDG subtype for us, when Health Canada refused. They continue to be an integral part of our journey, and I’m hopeful they will find a treatment and perhaps one day a cure for CDG.

 

World CDG Day

16 May

I can’t believe how fast one year has gone by.  I remember writing about the very first CDG Day last year, a few things have changed some good – some not so good. The one constant is that my little Ladybug is one fierce little girl.

Since Ladybugs two emergency surgeries and summer hospital stay, she has struggled to stay healthy. Each cold and flu that she caught seemed to take longer for her to recover from.  She has missed the majority of the school term. The smiles and happy jibber jabbers have been few and far between, but are slowly returning. Though she be but little, she is fierce. I keep reminding myself of this when I get a little sad about how fragile she is.  She will get better, and I’m hopeful her loud chatter will return soon. Until then, Ladybugs little brothers more than make up for it.

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This photo was taken on Mother’s Day (May 2018). 

CDG has been a massive rollercoaster in our lives, Ladybugs fragile little body is fighting and we will fight for her. It is a disorder to which there is no cure, and that is heartbreaking. I have to say though – it isn’t all bad. If it wasn’t for Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation, I would never have become a part of the most amazing tribe. I’ve grown so incredibly close to families that I’ve never met in person, we chat online, on the phone or FaceTime. Usually to ask questions about treatment options, questions about different ailments, etc., but it’s also just to talk to another mama who gets how rare and frustrating CDG can be. There is one mama in particular – she gets it! When we FaceTime I feel like I’m talking to a close relative or friend that I’ve known my entire life. It helps that our daughters have the same subtype too.

Last summer we were planning on heading to the USA for a family road trip with our Airstream “Juniper”, to see Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. (Due to Ladybugs hospitalization we weren’t able to go) We were also going to meet Ladybugs CDG SLC35A2 sister. This sweet little American love bug is the 2nd girl in the world (Ladybug being the 1st) to be diagnosed with the same CDG subtype that my princess has. I’m so unbelievably excited that we will now be making that trek this summer. On the bright side of last summer, I had a lot of spare time while in the hospital, so all of the packing lists and must see tourist attractions like the Worlds Largest Ball of Twine list are already complete. Like last year I will be documenting our travels on a separate blog which I’ll post when I have it all up and running.

In Honour of Rare Disease Day – Help Me Get CDG Recognized as an Official Day.

29 Feb

Today, February 29th 2016 marks the 9th International Rare Disease Day.

5 years ago I published this blog post dedicated to Rare Disease Day.

When my daughter was first diagnosed with Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation, there wasn’t a lot of information or even support for families like myself.  At the the time of her diagnosis she was the only girl in the entire world known to have her subtype. Now, thanks to the wonders of science and social media, I have been in touch with a family in the USA who has a beautiful little girl with the same subtype as my little Ladybug. Through the dedication and hard work of my CDG family, there are now CDG conferences both in North America and Europe and several Facebook groups that have become an amazing means of support for so many.

I couldn’t think of a better day to announce that the CDG families are working towards making May 16th World Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG) Awareness Day! Please sign our petition to The World Health Organization (WHO) here. 

I also encourage you to share this blog post with all of your friends and family.  You can easily share via Twitter, Facebook or email with the buttons at the bottom of this page. The more signatures we get the faster we can make this dream a reality.

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Discovering CDG SLC35A2: A Parents Perspective

5 Jul

CDG SLC35A2

Even though it’s been a few months since we were first told  that Ladybug has CDG SLC35A2 I still find myself in awe of it all. In my previous post I mentioned there was more to it that I wasn’t ready to talk about. From the initial diagnosis we were told that CDG was a genetic disorder and that Ladybugs father and myself were carriers. Makes sense! With CDG there is a 1 in 4 chance that a subsequent child will also have CDG. I was heartbroken. For as long as I could remember I wanted at least 2-3 children. I’m not the gambling type and was far too worried about putting another child through the pain that Ladybug had been through, so we decided she would be our only child. It was always so difficult to hear of others around me becoming pregnant because it was a constant reminder of what I would never be able to experience again. I desperately wanted to be able to enjoy a worry free pregnancy like those around me, and this would often bring me to tears. Now 1.5 years later I had come to accept this and we began the long process to become foster parents.

CDG SLC35A2 is caused by spontaneous somatic mosaic mutations in the X-linked gene. I’ll break it down for everyone.

Spontaneous or “de novo” – a genetic mutation that neither parent possessed nor transmitted.

Somatic – ‘of the body’ Post fertilization.
Mosaic – Two different types of cells – For the boys 1X chromosome and 1Y (flashback to biology class). In their X-chromosome, there are normal cells and CDG SLC35A2 cells – With Ladybug having 2X chromosomes 1 has the mutation and 1 doesn’t.

“But sometimes that normal X is randomly inactivated. This is called X-linked inactivation and all females have this. It’s mother natures way of making sure males and females only have 1 active X-chromosome.” Bobby Ng Sanford-Burnham

X-linked Gene – The Gene is on the X- chromosome.

The most significant finding of Ladybugs diagnosis in my point of view, is what Bobby (one of our CDG superheros) from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute told us:

“We have confirmed that all parents and unaffected siblings do not contain mutations.”

I think I have read and re-read this one sentence dozens upon dozens of times and even now it hasn’t quite sunk in. For the past year and a half, I fought through tears and heartache while I came to terms with not having another child. Then BAM!!!!!! Just like that everything was different. In that first 24 hours my thoughts went from oh my gosh let’s have another baby, to – this spontaneous somatic mosaic mutation happened once what if it happens again?

I have many dear friends who are fighting with infertility and aren’t able to have children. The dichotomy of it all is that there are moments I feel like it’s trivial to be so upset about this. I should be happy I was able to have at least one child and leave it like that. Right?!?!?

To be honest, because it’s a new discovery there are still so many unknowns and the whole thought of trying for a second baby scares the bejeebers out of me.  Not only because of the risk of more miscarriages, but there is also a chance that Ladybug’s CDG may have been caused by a germ line mosaicism – when either the egg or the sperm have the mutation.(Not good) As opposed to a somatic – Post fertilization. (A little better) It’s hard to know for sure unless we spend tens of thousands of dollars on having this tested or take a leap of faith and try again.

For now I’ll leave everything in the hands of the universe, and be thankful everyday that I have my beautiful little Ladybug.
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1 in 7 Billion

23 May

7 Billion The current worlds population (and growing)

3 The number of incredible children in the world who share a new type of CDG.

1 The number of girls in the whole wide world who have this new type of CDG.

That 1 girl is my beautiful Ladybug.

Several months ago we received an email that essentially changed our lives. When Ladybug was first diagnosed with CDG we pleaded with the Ministry of Health (Canadian Government) to cover a genetic test for her. Their response was and I quote “what difference will it make”. The governments thought was it won’t change her prognosis so what’s the point.

I was devastated that our “wonderful”, “fabulous” Canadian health care system had the gall to say that. Many thoughts crossed my mind – write to local and provincial politicians, call this woman at the Ministry of Health and tell her exactly why it was so important. Not long after I got my first taste of what it would be like to fight for my daughters rights, a post was made in a CDG group I belong to. The Sanford Burnham Institute was asking us to contact them if we would be interested in further testing to discover our children’s subtypes. It’s so cliché , yet so true … “ When one door closes, another opens ”

Now I had to try to convince our genetics team to take samples and send them to California. Fortunately our entire team at Mc Master Children’s hospital are phenomenal so they didn’t even give it a second thought.

Fast forward many, many months and the email arrived. The initial email was incredibly cryptic and read something like. We’ve made a discovery. stop. It’s a pretty big deal. stop. Can’t say too much now but will let you know soon. stop. Of course I might be exaggerating a teeny tiny bit. But that’s what it felt like.

The first portion of the HUGE news was that Ladybugs little friend in Jolly Ol’ England was indeed the same subtype as she. DUH…..yes I just said duh! We (being the two parents) have felt this in our hearts the moment we began chatting and sharing pictures of our kids. Then there was a third little boy who was also the same subtype from the USA.

Here is a picture from the Sanford-Burnham Science Blog – The Beaker that featured our 3 special kiddos. The new CDG finding was also published in The American Journal of Human Genetics and Science Daily to name a few. If anyone would like to see these please feel free to email me.
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The next portion of news was that these three beautiful children – whom I love to bits, have a brand new type of CDG. CDG SLC35A2. This explanation will require a blog post of its own which will come soon.

It was and still is A LOT to take in. There were quite a few new developments on top of how rare she really is that I’m still trying to digest, and when the time is right I will share them with everyone.