At first, Taylor parents thought their 11-month-old daughter had colic, a pattern of intense crying in a young infant. So her parents took her to the gastroenterology clinic at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. The diagnosis changed—Taylor was suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease that causes severe respiratory and digestive problems. Instead of producing mucus that normally acts as a lubricant in the pancreas and the lungs, a defective gene causes the mucus to plug up passageways in the pancreas and lungs.
Taylor’s case is in the moderate stage, and Kristina Enz, Taylor’s mother, says that her daughter’s main struggles are lung infections, digestive problems and gaining weight. On average, Taylor comes to the hospital two times a year.
Taylor takes about five pills before each meal every day to help her digest her food. She spends a half hour twice a day receiving breathing treatments and another half hour twice a day in a machine that puts pressure on her chest and helps shake mucus buildup off the walls of her lungs.
She also participates in medical studies for new cystic fibrosis treatments.
“Taylor has been in about three different research studies,” says Kristina.
“She likes the money—she is a teenager after all—but she also knows it might eventually help others with cystic fibrosis.”
Despite her condition, Taylor is a teenager on the move. The 16-year-old from St. Paris runs the hurdles in track and occasionally appears onstage for productions by the Troy Civic Theater.
Taylor also shows rabbits at local fairs. She began by showing pigs but had to switch to smaller animals because the family relocated to a house in the city.
When she is older, Taylor hopes to continue her work with animals by becoming an animal rehabilitative specialist.
“I love animals and I hate to see stray and abused animals,” she says.
When Taylor is in the hospital for treatments, she still is able to have some fun.
“I am very close with my doctors and nurses, and I play tricks on some of the nurses,” she says.
Taylor’s parents are thankful for the excellent care Taylor has received at Dayton Children’s. Kristina says that even though the family almost had to move to Kentucky, they would have continued to travel to Dayton’s Children’s for Taylor’s treatments.
“Everyone is very friendly and they make the entire family feel comfortable,” she says.
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