Tag Archive | Mermaid

New adventures…

This past week we said our farewells to our favorite Physician who has chosen to depart our health care organization and explore other options in this crazy thing we call life. Where selfishly we are sad, we are excited to see where his next adventure leads him. It feels like we have been saying a lot of goodbye’s lately but it’s not completely surprising. We are home. Most physician’s take jobs far from their roots and eventually life leads them back home. I have long thought that any decision that puts your family first, is never the wrong decision. Medicine is a tough world to be in, appointment times are getting shorter, enrollment increases, demands skyrocket and all the while we try to do what we can in the given time, but its never really enough time. It’s stressful to say the least. There are a million reasons one chooses to leave, we are just sifting through the emotions of seeing another fantastic person go.

I had to ask myself why I am so upset about his departure, yes – we have been with him for many years now and he has been with us since day one with Mermaid, but it’s not the length of the relationship that brings me down. I’m not one to feel overly impressed by a degree or status. knowledge is helpful, but even in the beginning he let us know he would be learning with us when it came to Mermaid and I respected that honesty. You can be the best scholar, have rotation experience beyond your coworkers, years under your belt, but is that all that matters? So what is it? It was a different relationship, I never felt like I was a number, he listened, understood where I was coming from and trusted my thoughts that weren’t always traditional. On our last visit he mentioned me wanting someone who would think outside of the box and he nailed it on the head. I have a daughter with an unconventional rare disease, with little to no treatment, it forces me to think outside of the box when it comes to treatment. With little knowledge in the medical world I lean on all of you along with extensive research to help guide us and he respected that.

I have spoke briefly about my rough pregnancy and struggles that followed after birth but not a lot of detail, saving that for a different avenue I’m working on, but he was there through what feels like the roughest 3 years of my life, physically and emotionally. When Bailey was diagnosed, I was heartbroken, when her specialist declined to perform a biopsy, he did it. It may have been a first on such a little one and he did amazing. When I needed a signature for one of our unconventional treatment ideas he signed it, and again to hold onto at our last visit for future use, despite recently being denied by someone covering because they felt uncomfortable with it. When I felt crazy after having Bailey and cried every single day from the pain I was in, he helped me through it. When my options ran out and it led to my hysterectomy, he was there for anything I needed leading up to it and after as we sift through the last leg of remaining symptoms. The thought that I have to start at ground zero with someone who won’t fully understand the level of despair and need we had been at is hard to swallow. Yes, I cried in our last visit.

We are nearly the same age and did  lot of life events close together, marriage, kids… it gave us more to talk about than just “what can I do for you today” and I always appreciated that. No, I have never been one to be overly impressed by a degree or status, but I AM impressed with how someone treats you. We spent most of our last visit talking about life, where we hoped both our paths would lead in the coming years and it was bittersweet.

Mermaid was snapping pictures with her tablet as we talked, it was borderline creepy, but she was entertained and honestly, it’s probably my fault for taking pictures literally 24/7 so I couldn’t blame her. Now, I’m glad she did, where she really needs to work on her skills, I suppose this is how a 3 year old views her visit.

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Don’t get me wrong in reading this. We have an amazing support system. Immediate family, extended family, work family, friends, my amazing husband, we truly are blessed, but there are some things your support sytem can’t do for you. You know, like the medical side of things. To so many people reading this I know you understand what it means to find that right Physician, someone who you trust, in our case, someone who felt like a friend, I know you are keen to how important it is in our world, and when it goes away, we all feel a little lost.

To our favorite Physician, may you ever lay eyes on this… and don’t feel like I made it clear,  Thank you. Thank you for being our rock, our advocate and always treating us like people. Whether you feel it or know it, you are an amazing Physician, as you know, I have been around a long time and I put you in that handful of exemplary people to walk into my Kaiser world. Whether you choose Medicine or a different road, keep that bedside manner. Continue to get to know people and truly show them you care. It will take you far.

To all our readers, so much of my knowledge never would have happened without that biopsy, it led us to a true diagnosis and the Yale study, without that signature we never could have shared the incredible results of our wartPEEL trial and without his helping hand I personally never could have gotten to the place I did to start this whole adventure. Wish us luck on our journey to find our next cohort on this wild ride.

Onward and upward to our next chapter.

Thanks for walking with us today,

Mermaid’s Mommy

Back to ground zero…

Well, sadly… we are losing our Primary Physician. Those of you that have been with us from the get go know that he has been the one constant in supporting Mermaid’s care. When we fought with dermatology to have the biopsy done because they said it would be too “traumatic”, he gladly did it for us and she was a champion. In fact, everytime we went to see him there on after, she said she would let him have another mermaid scale if he wanted. When Yale wanted the biopsy sent to them, he put it into action without hesitation. When we needed physician approval for the wart-PEEL, he signed off on it and backed my decision to trial it, knowing it may be a bit controversial – and to date, it has been the best treatment we have had.

Though our early days left him perplexed and we were sent to Dermatology, we never quite stuck with anyone and he became our safety net for all our needs. It seems kind of silly to recognize just how upset I am about it when there is a huge pool of perfectly educated Physician’s to choose from but when someone has been there from the beginning, it’s hard to let go.

Some of you know, others don’t, but after Mermaid I got moderately ill. Enough that after 2 years of treatment a decision was made that I had to have a hysterectomy. When the decision no longer feels like you own it because there are no other options, you crumble a little bit. Throughout that process he has definitely seen me at my worst. Within a matter of a few short years I rode quite the emotional roller coaster between Mermaid and myself and through it all, he was with us, helping in every way he could. For the care he has provided I will forever be grateful.

While we sift through a period of limbo searching for our next permanent physician we may turn to all of you more than normal for help and direction. Luckily, we have all of you! So, with that being said… were looking for some advice!

Mermaid’s hand seems to be progressing again. I don’t want to use the peel on the surface of her hand due to potential scarring and pain but not only has it cracked and bled it’s now thickening. Aside from “moisturizing”-  those of you that deal with the thickening aspect of it, what do you recommend and does anyone have experience with hand lesions specifically? It’s such a sensitive spot and I hate to cause any damage drawing additional attention.

Have any secrets you care to share?

Wish us luck!

Thanks for walking with us today!

Mermaid’s Mommy

Small gestures make big things happen!

Over the past few weeks I have grown weary. Mermaids Nevus has spread and thickened  down her arm. For the first time EVER it cracked on her hand and began to bleed. My heart sank.  Like all of us Nevus parents, we worry… will it be painful? Itchy? How much more will it grow? Will people now start saying stuff about it? Will she be able to tell me if it’s bothering her? What can I do to FIX it? Though deep down inside, I know I can’t “fix” it.

The timing seemed impeccable that just as all of this was running through my head, we had our dermatology check up. More than a check up, we were once again, meeting a new Physician. From day one of questioning my little one’s first initial “spot” at less than 24 hours old, this marked our seventh physician to now play a role in her care. Some passed it off as nothing, others perplexed, one with which – we will just say – we didn’t “click”… and now another to lay eyes and insight into our world. I am always nervous about their responses to me, how they will treat all of us, what they will advise, will they be knowledgeable?

Well, I can only say this… best appointment to date. He spoke to the given they all do when we meet someone new – no cure, little treatment, managing symptoms but then hit on the piece I have been dreading. I have been told by two separate physician’s now that the location of Mermaid’s Nevus on her hand will most likely result in surgery. The target was school age. The thought of taking the risk to put her under and the pain she would endure following the procedure is hard to swallow, though I fully understand the downfall of not having it done. With each patch that grows I feel our days are numbered. Going into this visit I was prepared to hear the dreaded words. To my surprise it was the complete opposite. I showed him before and after pictures of the wart-PEEL treatment we did and the spot now cracking and he seemed both intrigued by the product, which he had never heard of being used for this, and impressed by the results. He felt that she was still in a state of manageable care.

We talked briefly about abnormalities and he felt it would be a reasonable time to have her eyes re-checked. For those of you asking recently about the ocular abnormalities, he did confirm that cataracts could develop at any time, it is not something that would necessarily arise in the youngest of age.

He noted that her skin tone works nicely to hide a lot of her nevus which made me laugh, supported our use of the controversial wart-PEEL that contains a cancer agent and said I was doing a good job. It didn’t hurt that he also complimented my own knowledge but what I appreciated most, was that he said he trusted me. He said we do not need to return for 1-2 years unless I have a concern and to keep doing what we have been doing. At that time we will re-asses the need for surgery.

It was short, to the point and felt amazing to leave knowing that as a family, we are doing all the right things.

Moving forward we will schedule another eye appointment with the specialist and continue to search the world for helpful products, and of course… share the outcome with you! Speaking of… seems like it’s time for a new trial!

With the new growth and being in swimsuits, dresses and tank tops over the summer I have wondered about more kids seeing it or asking about it and how she handles that. Picking her up from school one day last week one of her teachers shared a cute little story with me about Mermaid loving bumblebees. I said ya, her Dad taught her they are nice and she pets them at home and we have made some products for her skin with beeswax. She has said to me many times that the nice bees make honey for her scales and it’s adorable to hear her make that connection. Her teacher said she noticed her Nevus and asked Bailey what happened, her response? “Oh those are my Mermaid Scales” and just moved on.

It brought me comfort knowing that even when brought to her attention by someone, she is not ashamed nor phased  nor hesitant to answer about her uniqueness. It made me feel proud to hear of her confidence.

It doesn’t matter what your differences are, be them seen by the naked eye or something internal, it’s how we handle what we were dealt. It took me a long time to get here, to feel confident both in my own understanding of her disease and making sure she knows it’s ok. I didn’t get here alone though, whenever I feel like we have a success, I feel like I owe thanks to those who helped it come about. My dear friend Aindrea who is across the country not only introduced me to the treatment for her hand and walked me through it but has remained at my side through this entire journey since our first encounter with one another(one day we will get to have the biggest hug ever) and to all my family, who have never treated her differently and encouraged my path of finding more knowledge. Last weekend I saw my Mom kiss Mermaid’s scales on her hand,  letting her know she see’s them, but loves them. Of course, lastly, to each one of you reading this, whether it’s because you love my Mermaid and enjoy hearing about her journey or find yourself looking for answers and support through our path to relate in your own nevus world, we know you are here and appreciate you.  It’s the small things that get us to big places.

Here’s to hoping we have many more successful months ahead of us!

To being confident and finding acceptance, we thank you all!

Thanks for walking with us today,

Mommy’s Mermaid

Lending a helping hand…

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”  

I rarely use this platform for anything not related to our Nevus journey. However, when I do, it’s for good reason, and THIS, deserves your attention.

With the help of Nichole Montgomery and the approval from Lauren Wallaert, I am reaching out for help by way of donations and prayers. I know this platform reaches people across the World and hope you will take a minute to look despite it being a different subject matter than your used to seeing from us.

I grew up in a small town, a very close knit community and one of my childhood friends who now resides in New Mexico, was involved in a very traumatic accident this past weekend. Neither time nor space can change that we come from the same place and in time of need, we reach out. While riding his motorcycle with friends, and wife on the back, an SUV crossed into their path at a high speed causing them to wreck.

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As of now Jeremy and his wife Lauren are receiving care in separate hospitals, I can only imagine how difficult it is to be apart during this time. Both of them have had portions of a leg amputated and Jeremy may need further surgery to amputate more. They sustained other substantial medical injuries and have a long road to recovery.

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Jeremy is self employed and at this time it is still unknown how long they will both be in the hospital. They have a blended family and share children,  including a little girl together, who now has 2 parents that are not only embarking on a long road to recovery, but a new way of life.

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I have included the news story below and a link to the Gofundme. Yes, the goal is high but remember, we are talking about an entire family needing help, not one person.

I typically pass these things up unless I truly know it’s valid or needed and I can personally vouch for this. Remember, it’s not about the amount we give, every single dollar adds up if we all give a little. Please take a look and share!

Gofundme Link:

https://www.gofundme.com/2jtrdwak

News Stories:

Original –

http://www.koat.com/news/1-dead-at-least-2-others-injured-in-sandoval-county-crash/41084142?utm_campaign=KOAT&utm_medium=FBPAGE&utm_source=Social

Latest information:

http://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/victims-identified-in-fatal-crash-on-state-highway/4227460/

I will also ask you to keep the other families involved in your thoughts and prayers, as noted in the news article, a 15 year old girl lost her life that day and other members of their extended family were in the car. Where Jeremy and Lauren survived, someone else did not and I can only imagine there are a lot of people out there grieving her loss.

In the blink of an eye so many lives were altered.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
– Charles Dickens
From our family to the Wallaerts, may you find strength and faith during your recovery, you are in our thoughts and prayers and we hope you are home soon with those beautiful children!
Thanks for walking with us today,
Mermaid’s Mommy

Mermaid’s Ashore!

To most people, Portlandia is just a quirky show poking at the oddities of Portland, Oregon. I have to admit, “put a bird on it” and “the dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland” are genius and crack me up every time I see them but most of it is beyond me. We live in a small town East of the city and trips there are rare.

Where I may not frequent Portland these days, being born and raised in this great state I am very aware of who “Portlandia” really is. In the midst of downtown in a rather modest location sits the second largest hammered copper statue in the United States, right behind the Statue of Liberty. At 34 feet 10 inches tall a woman holding a trident reaches down to the people below her. Portlandia was modeled after the city’s seal which also boasts a woman holding a trident.

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The trident is known to be the weapon of Poseidon, the God of the seas, and Neptune, the God of freshwater and the sea. As a city that was once known to be the number one place in the western hemisphere for “crimping” and “shanghaiing” amongst the sea captains and sailors, a city that’s known for it’s beautiful bridges spanning the river, a city that boasts the amazing dragon boat races, has a waterfront walkway that hosts festivals – bike riders – walkers – runners – fountains and those just gazing at it’s beauty and a city who’s access to the water make it an easy port for transportation of goods; once known as one of the most dangerous ports in the world; it seems only fitting that it has a protector in Portlandia watching over the city.

With so much action on the water it was only a matter of time before it hosted it’s own Mermaid parade.  On July 30th Una the Mermaid & the travelling Fanta-Sea Cove organized Portlandia’s first annual Mermaid Parade.

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Those familiar with us can only imagine the excitement in my household upon hearing this news, those new to us, let me explain.

My beautiful daughter was born with a rare genetic skin disease called Linear Epidermal Nevus. It’s complicated, it comes with a laundry list of potential complications including skeletal, ocular and nervous system abnormalities. Has the potential to cause both benign and malignant tumors, raises the risk of melanoma, and in our case, may potentially take over the entire left side of her body. At first we were devastated, plagued by the “what if’s” and lost due to the lack of information and medical knowledge surrounding her disease. Over time we found some support groups and started this blog to share our journey and connect with the world to both learn from them, and share what we know. It’s hard to explain to a child what’s slowly growing on their body, we joked that her “scales” were from her previous life as a fish. A friend said to us, can’t you find something better? Like a Mermaid? and it stuck. From that moment on she became Mommy’s Mermaid. As she has gotten older she has told strangers, doctors, friends and family about her Mermaid scales, she whole-heartedly believes that they were a gift from a Mermaid. She believes they are a special and wears them proudly.

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An opportunity to take her somewhere full of Mermaid’s, those magical creatures that shared their beauty with her, to walk amongst them and relate, could not be passed up. I had no idea what to expect, I thought it would be small, generic, cute but nothing to write home about. I could not have been more wrong. I know now, that I need to start preparing for next years event! Mermaid could barely contain herself as we got ready, Mama are we leaving yet? Mama, are we ready? Mama, can we pleeeeaaaaasssseee go now. As if she knew just how special it was going to be.

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We were blessed to have a friend and her little one in tow with us, with the girls in wagons we headed to the historical waterfront, the friendship circle to be exact. The friendship circle celebrates the sister city relationship between Portland and Sapporo, Japan. The Friendship Circle includes a pair of 20-foot stainless towers that generate electronic tones. I can only describe it as nothing shy of magical. Men, Women and children of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicity filled the gorgeous backdrop of Portland in full costume. There were people giving out gifts, bubbles, shells, dancers, birds, artists and even a man fishing for Mermaids with a cat on his line.

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We flipped down waterfront passed Saturday Market and the Brewfest. People lined the path taking pictures, videos and cheered. After the parade we took some time to enjoy the city and played in the fountains!

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We get caught up in the daily grind, I often forget to take moments to stop and truly let myself enjoy the beauty of imagination. Mermaid’s disease will be with us forever, there is no cure, very little relief for symptoms, and at this time – minimal research or trials to move in a forward direction. If allowing my 3 year-old to believe that she was gifted her scales by a Mermaid gives her even one small ounce of happiness in this journey, I will believe it too.

To the amazing group that made this dream a reality, to every single person that came to celebrate and to our honorary Mermaid’s Geneva and Charlee for walking this path with us, I thank you all. This parade meant so much to us. As magical as I saw it, I can only imagine what my little girls thoughts were.

There are no words to describe the beauty and creativity that was bestowed upon us that day but thanks to the talented Christelle Morgan who has graciously allowed me to share some of her work, you can enjoy some of the sites from our day. Enjoy!

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You can find more information about the wonderful Christelle and her work at:

cmphoto.smugmug.com

To learn more about Una the Mermaid you can visit her site at:
Thanks for walking with us today,
Mermaid’s Mommy

Eye see you…

Let’s talk about the connection between Epidermal Nevus and ocular abnormalities. Right out of the gate I  want to clarify that a diagnosis of Epidermal Nevus in any form without one or more of the potential abnormalities is the disease itself. To be classified as having the syndrome you must have additional abnormalities. Additionally, there are different types of syndromes depending on what form of epidermal nevus one has and what abnormalities are present. This has caused a lot of confusion and controversy in the medical world. I see the term used interchangeably all the time, causing additional anxiety but have clarified with multiple physicians that the absence of any abnormalities does not classify as the syndrome. I for one, am the first person to recognize that the diagnosis itself carries enough anxiety provoking elements and issues without any abnormalities that making sure I understood the difference was vital.

It is also important to remember that the sydromes are rare and chances increase with wide spread lesions.

Ocular abnormalities may include Colobomas of the pupil, iris or eyelid and Cataracts.

A coloboma is a hole in one of the structures of the eye, such as the iris, retina, choroid, or optic disc. The hole is present from birth and can be caused when a gap called the choroid fissure, which is present during early stages of prenatal development, fails to close up completely before a child is born.

Colobomas are sometimes referred to as keyholes due to their shape. They can effect one or both eyes.

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There can also be an association with colobomas of the eyelid. This would be the result of incomplete cell migration and present at birth.

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A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can make it harder for you to see. Cataracts happen when protein builds up in the lens of your eye, making it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. There are many causes including, age related, from trauma, congenital – meaning born with it, or secondary – which can be due to other medical conditions.

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I have searched and searched and cannot seem to find a solid answer to whether or not cataracts would be present at birth only or can develop at a later age but I have an upcoming appointment and will be sure to ask.

Oregon Health and Science University told us that it is recommended to have eyes of nevus owners checked by age one. Where some of the abnormalities would be obvious to the naked eye, others are not.

I downloaded a pediatric neurology book that speaks in more detail about the syndromes and hope to find more valuable information to share soon.

To all our new followers and newly diagnosed nevus owners we hope you find this useful!

Thanks for walking with us today,

Mermaid’s Mommy

 

 

 

Tides are changing…

A few weeks ago Mermaid was playing on the floor and her arm looked dirty, I asked her if she had been outside and what she had gotten into, as I got closer, I realized it wasn’t dirt at all, but Nevus. Then today, after bath time, I noticed even more changes and thickening. It seems as though overnight her Nevus has completely morphed.

I put together some comparisons and when I looked at our pictures from the first year, it amazed me that I was so upset, it seems so minor compared to now.

I have always hoped and prayed that Mermaid’s Nevus would not continue to spread, as I am sure all of us effected by Nevus have, but I knew deep down inside, that it would. I just didn’t expect it to happen so fast.

Mermaid now has a more prominent line from under her arm to her wrist, new growth on her hand, top & bottom (which is the one I fear will require surgery) and thickening on both her elbow and underarm.

Here are few of the changes…

New growth on arm:

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Elbow: 8 months apart

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Armpit: 8 months apart

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Armpit: Ages 1-3

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We have a dermatology appointment coming up and I will certainly be asking for more information about possible triggers that stimulate growth.

We have added some new pictures under the photos tab of both Mermaid’s Nevus and a friend’s. The progression is interesting to see.

Coming up this week we will have a story about a fellow member of our ILVEN support group so keep your eyes open.

Thanks for walking with us today,

Mermaid’s Mommy.

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From our family to your’s…

Happy Memorial Day!!!

May we all remember what today is truly about and give thanks.

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

-Arthur Ashe

 

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Thanks for walking with us today,

Mermaid’s Mommy

 

A,B,C,D,EHK,LEN,ILVEN,ENS…

Navigating the world of Epidermal Nevus can be confusing. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to forget the day I received Mermaid’s diagnosis. I know now that it’s going to be ok and we can jump whatever hurdle presents, but I didn’t always feel that way, we are constantly gaining new followers, many who feel the way we all did in the beginning. Lost. I feel like It’s been a while since we have broke down the basics, like what do all these acronyms mean? So many are used interchangeably that it may cause confusion and more fear. So, today I am going to break down 4 of the most commonly used terms surrounding EN that I see. LEN, ILVEN, EHK and ENS. I will touch briefly on other forms but highlight these 4 acronyms.

It is so important to understand that where all these terms refer to Epidermal Nevus, LEN is different than ILVEN, EHK is slightly different than both LEN and ILVEN and MOST IMPORTANTLY, having a diagnosis of Epidermal Nevus does NOT mean that you have the syndrome.

Here is a reminder of Mermaid’s official biopsy report:

-Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis.

Exam demonstrates aconthotic and hyperkeratotic epidermis with focal dyskeratosis. The differential includes linear epidermolytic epidermal nevus and epidermolytic acanthoma.

Though we were told that ILVEN has not yet been ruled out.

(linear epidermal nevus occurs in 1 out of 1,000 people. However, epidermolytic hyperkeratosis only occurs in 1 out of 2/300,000 people worldwide)

Epidermal nevus is a clinical term for a family of skin lesions that involve the outer portion of skin, the epidermis, and are distributed in a linear and often swirled pattern.  The lesions may be single or multiple and are usually present at birth.  All epidermal nevi show some changes in texture which can range from very rough, warty and spiny, and often darker than the surrounding normal or uninvolved skin (verrucous epidermal nevus), to red and scaly (inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal nevus or ILVEN),  to yellowish, rough and pebbly appearance due to proliferation of oil- or ’sebaceous’ gland-like structures (nevus sebaceous).

Epidermal nevi are genetically ‘mosaic’, meaning that the mutation causing the nevi are not found in other cells of the body. Mosaicism arises when the genetic mutation occurs in one of the cells of the early embryo sometime after conception; such mutations are called ‘somatic’ mutations.  This mutated cell, like the other normal cells, continues to divide and gives rise to mutated daughter cells that will populate a part of the body.  The linear patterning of the epidermal nevus reflects the movement of the mutant daughter cells during fetal growth.  These linear, developmental patterns are termed the ‘lines of Blaschko’.  Many epidermal cells within these affected areas harbor the mutant gene, while most or all cells from uninvolved areas do not.  After birth, the nevus “grows with the child”, although some new areas of involvement and/or extension of the nevus to new areas can occur.  ILVEN is an exception: here, lesions often do not appear until later in infancy or childhood.

Types of epidermal naevi:

The skin lesions most often referred to as epidermal naevi are due to an overgrowth of keratinocytes (horny skin cells).

  • Linear epidermal naevus
  • Epidermolytic epidermal naevus
  • Acantholytic epidermal naevus
  • Systematised epidermal naevus
  • Linear porokeratosis

However, several other conditions are also characterised by benign overgrowth of the epidermis and its appendages (organoid naevi)

  • ILVEN
  • Sweat gland naevi
  • Sebaceous Nevus
  • Comedone Nevus
  • Becker Nevus

Let’s start with LEN: Linear Epidermal Nevus:

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Linear epidermal nevus (LEN) is an uncommon skin condition. It usually affects the limbs and torso on one side of the body. The lesions are typically present at birth. LEN is the result of a genetic abnormality. It is not inherited but arises from somatic mutations in cells that occur after conception.

This is a type of birthmark that is usually present at birth, but may develop later in childhood. They are usually light or dark brown in color. They may start as a flat area in the shape of a line or as a “skin tag.” Over time, they grow and become thicker like a wart. They can be located anywhere on the body. Often, epidermal nevi follow a pattern on the skin known as the lines of Blaschko. The lines of Blaschko, which are invisible on skin, are thought to follow the paths along which cells migrate as the skin develops before birth.

Second is ILVEN: Inflammatory Linear Verrucous Epidermal Nevus:

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Inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal nevus is a special kind of epidermal nevus. Like other linear epidermal nevi, ILVEN is characterized by warty lesions that tend to group together in a linear pattern. The difference is that the lesions are red, inflamed and itchy, sometimes intensely so. The surface of the lesions may look like eczema (dry, red, scratched) or like psoriasis (red and scaly).

ILVEN most often affects one leg and may extend from the buttock to the foot. It may be present at birth, but usually arises during the first 5 years of life and spreads over months or years. ILVEN is very rarely observed during adulthood. It is somewhat more common in females.

Next up… EHK: Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis

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Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis is a skin disorder that is present at birth. Affected babies may have very red skin (erythroderma) and severe blisters. Because newborns with this disorder are missing the protection provided by normal skin, they are at risk of becoming dehydrated and developing infections in the skin or throughout the body (sepsis).

As affected individuals get older, blistering is less frequent, erythroderma becomes less evident, and the skin becomes thick (hyperkeratotic), especially over joints, on areas of skin that come into contact with each other, or on the scalp or neck. This thickened skin is usually darker than normal. Bacteria can grow in the thick skin, often causing a distinct odor.

Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis can be categorized into two types. People with PS-type epidermolytic hyperkeratosis have thick skin on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet (palmoplantar or palm/sole hyperkeratosis) in addition to other areas of the body. People with the other type, NPS-type, do not have extensive palmoplantar hyperkeratosis but do have hyperkeratosis on other areas of the body.

Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis is part of a group of conditions called ichthyoses, which refers to the scaly skin seen in individuals with related disorders. However, in epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, the skin is thick but not scaly as in some of the other conditions in the group.

Lastly… ENS: Epidermal Nevus Syndrome

The term “epidermal nevus syndrome” has generated significant controversy and confusion in the medical literature. Originally, the term was used to denote a disorder that was actually several different disorders erroneously grouped together. In the recent past, the term was used to denote a specific disorder now known as Schimmelpenning syndrome. However, the term epidermal nevus syndrome could be correctly applied to several different disorders. Therefore, the umbrella term “epidermal nevus syndromes” now represents a group of distinct disorders that have in common the presence of one of the various types of epidermal nevi. However, there is so far no general agreement how to classify the types of this diverse group of disorders, adding to the confusion within the medical literature

Epidermal nevus syndromes (ENSs) are a group of rare complex disorders characterized by the presence of skin lesions known as epidermal nevi associated with additional extra-cutaneous abnormalities, most often affecting the brain, eye and skeletal systems. Epidermal nevi are overgrowths of structures and tissue of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.

In ENS, neurological involvement may include:

  • Epilepsy or infantile spasms.
  • Intellectual impairment.
  • Structural or vascular brain abnormalities.
  • Spinal lesions.

Skeletal involvement includes:

  • Incomplete formation of bony structures – eg, spina bifida.
  • Hypoplasia of bones.
  • Bony cysts.
  • Asymmetry of the skull or spine.
  • Spontaneous fractures and rickets.

Ophthalmic involvement includes:

  • Colobomas.
  • Strabismus.
  • Ptosis.
  • Nystagmus.
  • Corneal opacities.
  • Retinal changes.
  • Various other ocular abnormalities which have been described.

Endocrine features have been reported:

  • Hypophosphataemic vitamin D-resistant rickets has occurred in a number of cases.
  • Precocious puberty has been described in several cases.

Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) has been reported in one case.

Other potential complications of EN:  

Complications due to Epidermal Nevus are rare; but, it is observed that there is an association with the development of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, keratoacanthoma, and clear cell acanthoma.

It is suggested to search for dysplastic kidney disease in patients with neurocutaneous disorders. Neurocutaneous syndromes are disorders that lead to growth of tumors in various parts of the body. One being a Wilm’s tumor. They’re caused by the abnormal development of cells in an embryo and characterized by the tumors in various parts of the body (including the nervous system) and by certain differences in the skin. It is important to understand this is very rare but something to be aware of.

Whew, that was a lot of information, I hope it brought a small amount of clarity surrounding all the terms thrown out there.

Thanks for walking with us today!

Mermaid’s Mommy

Buzz buzz little bee…

After using a product called WartPEEL on Mermaid’s thicker patch of Nevus it proved to be raw and a bit painful. I had been sent some amazing products from a company called Wild Carrot Herbals and amongst them was a salve. I personally had never used one but thought it might be the trick, within 24 hours all the rawness, swelling and discomfort was gone. I was beyond tickled and started reading more about “salves”.

Mermaid has one particularly “itchy” spot on her back so I thought I would take a swing at making my own. I researched all the ingredients that potentially soothe dry or itchy skin, a few recipes and came up with my own concoction.

I’m blessed to have a lot of savvy people in my life so most of these ingredients were gifts from people’s own labor’s of love. I included:

  • Pure raw honey – (given a jar from the neighbors hives)
  • Organic Beeswax – (given a bar made by my parents from their swarm)
  • Shae butter – (given a pure bar from a local Oregon company)
  • Lavendar oil – (a gift from Mermaid’s Grandma)
  • Coconut oil
  • Baking soda

The process in harvesting beeswax is interesting and my Mom had some pretty great pictures – here are a few.

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We gathered our ingredients:

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Started prepping them, if you have ever tried “grating” beeswax, it’s not easy, Mermaid gave up on that part and let Mommy finish.

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Melted part of them together:

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Time consuming, I learned quickly that slow and steady is required. After it was all melted we removed it from the heat and slowly added our other ingredients.

We poured it into a few containers and waited for it to cool. I feared for a minute that it might not bind, it stayed liquid for better than an hour and we continued to mix it, but eventually, it became this nice smooth product.

Given the ingredients I expected it to be slightly oily, which it is but we put some on Mermaid’s arm and it absorbed quickly with less grease left behind than I assumed would be present.

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We added a little garnish and closed up our afternoon project.

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I suppose the real test will be to see how well it really works, I have high hopes!

We are going to ship a container to one of our “itchiest” Nevus babies on the other side of the country and let them be the true judge.

We have plenty of leftover ingredients so I feel a round two of a lotion coming on.

Round one of find a natural aide complete.

Thanks for walking with us today,

Mermaid’s Mommy