This is Saxon, our energetic little man who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was a week old. We gathered together many friends and family members and created Strides for Sax. Our mission is to raise money and create awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to find a cure for cf. This is all about Sax and our team's efforts for the cause. As of the creation of this blog, Saxon is 21 months old, has been hospitalized several times for pneumonia, and had undergone 3 surgeries since his first birthday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What does it all mean??

After some recent incidents in our lives, I've come to realize that I have based this blog on an assumption. In the header, I talk about Saxon being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. But I guess I never really explained what cystic fibrosis IS!

If you're looking for the exact meaning and want to take the time to sort it all out, there is a great website that can explain it all to you. For those who don't want to look it up on your own, I'll help you out a bit.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease. We receive one gene from each of our parents. If a person receives one copy of the mutated gene that causes cf and one good gene, the person is called a cf carrier. If a person receives 2 copies of the mutated gene, one from each parent, the person has cystic fibrosis. In the state of Minnesota, we are fortunate enough that newborns are automatically screened for this and about 50 other genetic defects. If it weren't for the screening, we wouldn't have found out so soon!

The defect in a person such as Saxon causes him to sweat out most of the salt in his body. The mucus in his lungs and organs is very thick and very sticky. It clogs his lungs and blocks his pancreas. As a result, kissing him tastes like kissing a potato chip. His skin tastes salty, especially when he sweats. He often coughs. He is very susceptible to respiratory infections and a simple cold can easily progress into pneumonia. This is why when Sax was in daycare, he was almost always on antibiotics. The clogging of his pancreas is what is causing his weight issues. The mucus doesn't allow his pancreas to release the enzymes needed to break down and absorb his food. This explains why he has so many bowel movements when he was first born - he WASN'T ABLE to absorb what he was eating! The balance of enzymes is very important - too few and he doesn't absorb enough, too many and he gets bound up.

Maybe this will help. A listing of all of his most frequent medications, and what purposes they serve.

Albuterol - What's that? A bronchodilater. It relaxes the muscles in the airways and makes it easier to breathe by increasing the air flow. More commonly used for asthma relief.
How taken? Nebulizer medication
Dosage - 1 vial once daily. When respiratory infections/illnesses/allergies are present, 2-3 vials daily.
Cost? - Approx $9 per month

ABDEK/Vitamax - What's that? Multivitamins. Since so much of his food is not absorbed, these vitamins supplement his daily menu.
How taken? Oral solution
Dosage - 1 ml twice daily
Cost? - Approx $15 per month

Claritin - What's that? An antihistamine. It helps to relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. This medicine is used to treat the symptoms of indoor and outdoor allergies.
How taken? Oral solution
Dosage - 1 tsp once daily
Cost? - Approx $13 per month

Creon 12 - What's that? A pancreatic enzyme preparation consisting of pancrelipase, an extract derived from porcine pancreatic glands. Pancrelipase contains multiple enzyme classes, including porcine-derived lipases, proteases, and amylases. 12,000 USP units of lipase: 38,000 USP units of protease; 60,000 USP units of amylase capsules have a brown opaque cap with imprint "CREON 1212" and a colorless transparent body. The shells contain black iron oxide, gelatin, red iron oxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, titanium dioxide, and yellow iron oxide.
In English please? Basically, it's pig enzymes that Saxon has to take orally every time he eats. The enzymes help him to break down and digest his food, and also helps break down any mucus he swallows (although not completely). They come in 6,000, 12,000, or 24,000 units. They are effective for 40 minutes before he needs to be re-dosed. The dosage is based on weight. He upped to the Creon 12 when he was at 6 of the Creon 6 - less to haul and less capsules to crack open!
How taken? We open the capsule and dump the granules into applesauce (the acid from the applesauce helps the enzymes do their work) and he takes them orally
Dosage - 3 capsules with each meal or snack
Cost? - Approx $800 per month

Exlax - What's that? Stimulant laxative to relieve constipation - taken with Miralax to stimulate bm's.
How taken? Orally - chewed
Dosage - 1/2 piece of chocolate approx 1-2 times per week
Cost? - Approx $6 per box of 24

Miralax - What's that? Laxative to relieve constipation - non stimulant. Taken with Exlax
How taken? Powder added to beverage -orally
Dosage - 17 g approx 1-2 times per week
Cost? - Approx $6-8 for generic

Nasonex - What's that? For adults and children aged 2 years and older, NASONEX® Nasal Spray is approved to treat seasonal (outdoor) and year-round (indoor) nasal allergy symptoms. At least, that's what it's GENERALLY used for!! Saxon has used it per the referral of Dr Cofer, our ENT, since he was 1 to keep his nasal polyps from reforming.
How taken? Inhaled - Nasal spray
Dosage - 1 spray per nostril, 1x per day
Cost? - $200+

PediaSure - What's that? A vanilla shake that provides protein, vitamins, and minerals needed for healthy growth and development.
How taken? Orally - in place of milk in sippy's
Dosage - 3 cans per day
Cost? - Approx $50 for a case of 24

Pulmozyme - What's that? A synthetic protein that breaks down excess DNA in the pulmonary secretions of people with cystic fibrosis. Pulmozyme is used to improve lung function in people with cystic fibrosis by thinning pulmonary secretions and reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections.
In English please? It breaks down the film of dead white blood cells left behind after CPT and mucus clearance, and thins out the mucus still present to help the CFer cough it up.
How taken? Inhaled - nebulizer medication
Dosage - 1 vial daily
Cost? - $1600-$1900 per month

Tobramycin - What's that? Tobramycin, better known as TOBI, is an aminoglycoside antibiotic used to treat or prevent certain kinds of bacterial infections in the lungs. It will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Often used for treatment of pneumonia.
How taken? Inhaled - nebulizer medication
Dosage - 1 vial daily when ill with pneumonia/respiratory infection
Cost? - $4,000+ per month

Zantac - What's that? A type of antihistamine that blocks the release of stomach acid. It is used to treat stomach or intestinal ulcers. It can relieve ulcer pain and discomfort, and the heartburn from acid reflux. Most CFers suffer from some acid reflux
How taken? Orally
Dosage - 1 ml twice daily
Cost? - unsure - once I know the cost of it, I'll update this!!

I'm working on a page of "key terms" which should be coming soon!

Any other questions you are curious about, just ask!!

The only stupid question is the question not asked!!!


  1. Great list! That sure puts things into perspective.

  2. I love this! Mind if I put my copy & paste skills to work so I can re-post this???