PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – It's snack time at the Nelson house in Pembroke Pines, and Mackenzie,4, is helping her mom make the only thing she can eat -- crushed ice.
The preschooler has a mysterious illness that prevents her from eating food properly.
As soon as Mackenzie was moved from breast feeding to baby food, she became violently ill and at one point spending more than a month in the hospital.
The latest round of efforts to get to the bottom of Mackenzie’s illness involved a week stay at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, which included a third round of food allergy testing.
"Through patch testing, she reacted with rash and blisters to everything except milk," Ashley Nelson, the preschooler’s mom, said.
Feeling hopeful, doctors put tiny amounts of milk directly into her feeding tube.
"So although that's considered a top allergen food, we did it, because according to the patch test, she wouldn't react, but she did react, which only complicates things even more," Nelson said.
Nelson hopes to get Mackenzie to a group of specialists, and in the meantime, they went to a special clinic in Alabama to do genome testing.
"There's only a 25 percent chance they can help, because only 25 percent of the genes have been studied," Nelson said. "If one of Mackenzie’s, perhaps, faulty genes is one of those 25 percent then we might have an answer or at least point us where we should go."
Mackenzie may be heading back to the hospital soon for more testing.
As much as she wants to eat, at the same time, the little girl is becoming afraid of food, another issue that complicates things even more.