For an active 11 year-old-boy who plays baseball, soccer, basketball and dances competitively, the burden of being monitored by so many medical specialties can weigh heavily on Anthony. Today he is seen concurrently in the Divisions of Rheumatology, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, Audiology, and Otolaryngology. “Although Anthony’s many different diagnoses are not life threatening, the amount of medication and the number of medical appointments can be very upsetting to him,” says Kendra, Anthony’s mom.
Because Anthony was constantly plagued by ear infections as a baby, Katherine Kavanagh, MD, pediatric otolaryngologist, recommended surgically inserting tubes in his ears. Kendra said, “That was one of the best decisions I made.” He was in such pain and discomfort, and the tubes dramatically changed his quality of life.
Joint pain, hearing tests and tummy trouble
“There was one day when I went in to get Anthony ready for school and all of his joints and wrists were swollen,” said Kendra, “and the scary part, he couldn’t bear weight on his legs.” Anthony was initially treated with anti-inflammatory medication and ultimately required a steroid injection in his hip due to fluid build-up in that area. Anthony still struggles with joint pain and takes medication twice daily to combat it. And he knows in order to play sports, he has to continue his strict medication regimen, which includes a weekly injection. Every two to three months Anthony is monitored and medication adjustments are made, if necessary.
Anthony failed two hearing tests at school and was sent to Connecticut Children’s for a more comprehensive level of testing. Anthony met with doctors there who determined Anthony has hearing loss in his left ear. Anthony visits Audiology and Otolaryngology every six to nine months to check hearing, as well as monitor his hearing aid.
In addition to these medical concerns, Anthony also encountered gastroenterology issues. Victoria Grossi, DO, pediatric gastroenterologist, recommended various treatment options including physical therapy, medication and an adjusted diet. Due to continual abdominal pain, she ordered an ultrasound.
An unexpected diagnosis
The ultrasound of his abdomen uncovered another chronic issue. Anthony’s kidneys didn’t look quite right, so Anthony’s care now included the pediatric nephrology team where he was diagnosed with mild chronic kidney disease.
These days, he has to be watched closely since some of the arthritis medications can cause renal failure. Renal failure is a dangerous condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluid within the body. Sherene Mason, MD, pediatric nephrologist, Division Head of Nephrology and the Robert R. Rosenheim Endowed Chair for Nephrology, oversees Anthony’s care which includes blood work and ultrasounds once or twice a year.
Finding his happy place
To say Anthony loves sports is an understatement. He moves between the soccer field, basketball court, baseball mound and the stage where his Michael Jackson routine brings crowds to their feet. Above all, Anthony’s competitive spirit and love of being active is always evident. The unceasing medical appointments, treatments, medications, x-rays and ultrasounds can be distracting at times. But, when Anthony is in the game or on the stage, he’s fully present and completely forgets his problems for a few moments.
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