Genealogy and Diarrhea

Saul has been home now for 53 days and we are still dealing with doggie diarrhea. We have called the vet and tried Imodium. We have gone to the vet and after spending $200, we were sent home with antibiotics and probiotics.The Imodium worked, until he wasn’t taking it. The antibiotics and probiotics worked, until he wasn’t taking it. Another call to the vet and an ultrasound would cost $325.

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We seriously need to invest in “pet” insurance, stat. (*Note: Saul is not a pet. He is a service dog. There is a difference. Ask me about it if you want). So, yeah, we have had diarrhea and then normal looking poop and then diarrhea again. Saul is still playful, except for that one morning that he didn’t feel like eating, which is so not like him. He was obviously sick at that time and blood work came back showing elevated white blood cell count.

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Now he is acting like his playful self again, but still has diarrhea. My solution? Try putting him back on the probiotic. He might just need a probiotic for the rest of his life and I am okay with that. $50 at the vet’s office and the same, exact stuff on Chewy.com is $30. Yup, we’ll go with Chewy.com for that. The only other recommendation from the vet is to change Saul’s food. That won’t work since Saul has to be on a gluten free diet to keep Thatcher and me, who both have Celiac, healthy. Also, this wasn’t an issue in Ohio and Saul had been on the new food for a month before we got there (we sent some to 4 Paws). So, yeah, not the food. But maybe too much peanut butter and Powerbites (those are his regular treat). We cut out the Powerbites and replaced regular treats with kibble. Peanut butter is given in very small amounts and not as often. Hopefully, that will help. If not, it’s back to the vet for a $325 test.

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*This is Saul trying to figure out how to get all three nylabones into his mouth at the same time.

Can we write this stuff off on our taxes next year? I don’t know, but I am definitely going to find out. So, yeah, my life is full of poop. Doggie diarrhea and wiping my 10 year old’s bottom. That is my life. I’m not mad or resentful. I love my life and wouldn’t have it any other way, but man, I sure hope we can get Saul having some normal poop soon because if it’s just poop and not also doggie diarrhea, I can handle it much better.

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As for the genealogy portion of this post, I am working on a massive genealogy project in an attempt to better understand the genetic factors of Autism, Epilepsy, and Celiac, all of which have genetic factors, in Thatcher. So, recently I made an interesting discovery in my family. My grandmother grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky in Breathitt County near Troublesome Creek and some of her relatives turned out to have the last name Fugate. If you don’t know what that means, let me explain it. The Blue Fugates of Kentucky or of Troublesome Creek were a family with a genetic blood disorder called Methemoglobinemia or Met-H. It has been documented that a man from France named Martin Fugate immigrated to the region and married a woman there named Elizabeth Smith. Martin Fugate was blue and of their seven children, three of them were also blue. Being that they were in the backwoods of Kentucky with no real way to get out of the area, they married people that were around where they lived. Generations of this family inbred several times due to their circumstances. You married the people you met and if you didn’t meet anyone that wasn’t your cousin, you married your cousin. This was just the way it was done. This caused the genetic blood disorder to take hold of the family and there were many blue people living in the area. As technology got better and people could leave the backwoods and spread out, the disease was seen much less since it is caused by two parents both having the recessive gene for the disease. The last known case of this disorder was in 1975 with Benjamin Stacy.

This new knowledge that I acquired by simply watching television cause me to start thinking. If Met-H is genetic and Autism, Epilepsy, and Celiac all have genetic factors, answers might just be hiding in our genealogy. I already know that there are several other genetic disorders running within the family. So, my research began with my maternal grandmother’s family. That has been pretty easy to piece together, but getting the rest isn’t as easy. Two relatives in my maternal grandmother’s family have already done much of the leg work. The real trick will be getting the information that I need on my biological father’s side. I know a little bit, but since we have a cracked (I don’t say broken because I still am able to make contact on occasion) relationship, it is difficult to acquire all of the necessary information. When I take my cemetery trips this spring, it will be impossible to fit in my father’s family since he lives in North Carolina.

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It wouldn’t be too far to travel, but we are also purchasing a house, so anywhere we can save money has to be considered. The cemeteries in North Carolina will have to wait. But I can visit the ones that are closer, in the backwoods of Kentucky and in Ohio. Those are easier for me to get to on a budget, so that’s what I will do. The research is interesting, time consuming, and difficult at times, but I know it will be worth it to have this more complete picture. I have already discovered that a great uncle died of Bright’s disease, which is no longer used in medical terminology, but basically means he had kidney failure due to an underlying condition. I don’t know what that underlying condition was, but I do know that it could have been an autoimmune disease, like Celiac. Specifically, in my research another autoimmune disease, Lupus, was mentioned. Did my great uncle have un-diagnosed Lupus? I don’t know, but I am hoping to find out. I plan on asking my grandfather what his brother’s symptoms were like. I realize that opens old wounds and I don’t know if he will be able to answer my questions, but for Thatcher, I must try.

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*Please note: We are taking part in two genetic studies. One of them is the Spark study, which is the largest genetic Autism study in the U.S. The research that I am doing could help me better understand the genetic disorders that Thatcher has, but it could also help many other families. I am hoping that the research won’t take too long, but that isn’t how research works. I will keep working on it until it is finished.

The cool thing about researching one’s genealogy, though, is that I am not only stumbling upon medical information, but also information about who my relatives were. I have found some WWII draft cards, one WWI draft card, some WWII registrations, a death certificate, and several handwritten US Census records that all tell me more about my relatives. There is still so much work to be done, but half the battle is the journey to get there.


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