Leaving baggage claim and still high on our magical Disney vacation, I look at my phone and notice I have email. At the top, is an email from Dr. K, “DNA results update”.

We have a diagnosis.

After over four years of testing, waiting, testing, waiting and more testing and more waiting, we have a diagnosis. A year ago samples of DNA from Cara, Dan and myself were sent to Utah for full genome sequencing. A mutation was found in the “PDHA1 gene that encodes one of the proteins in the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex.  In other words she has pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) deficiency.”  We knew from previous tests, how she presented and her response to the ketogenic diet that there was an issue with pyruvate metabolism. Thanks to Dr. K, Cara has already been on the treatment plan, the ketogenic diet, and has been responding as we hoped. The other piece of news we received is that neither Dan nor I are carriers of this gene. This was just really poor luck for sweet Cara.

Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Deficiency (PDCD) falls under the umbrella of Mitochondrial Disease. Walking at The Energy For Life Walk in Seattle on October 4th just took on a new meaning.

We received the news 2 days ago. I knew I wanted to write something but I have been, and still am, at a loss for words. Yes, it is nice to finally have an answer and to know that neither Dan nor I carry the gene and that Natalie is in the clear. At the same time, there is a deep pain in my heart for Cara. The pain is not new, it’s been there since the beginning. Most of the time the pain is in the background but it came rushing to the forefront this day. I am in a place that is hard to articulate – not happy, not sad, not angry just a “Yup, this is where we are.” I guess it isn’t that I am not feeling any one of those particular emotions, but rather, all of them at once.




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