Young Firefighter

Pediatric Services Raleigh

Protecting the Eyes of a Young Firefighter

John-John’s favorite hat to wear is his firefighter’s hat. He is five and a fighter who has overcome some large obstacles in his young life. John-John was born with muscle hypotonia, or low muscle tone.

Young Firefighter Triangle Compounding RaleighWhile John-John’s mom, Lori, was busy raising her family and coordinating the many therapists needed to help John-John overcome his illness, 6-month-old John-John fought off a series of illnesses back-to-back for two months. One of the viruses, a herpetic virus, caused young John-John to develop keratitis, a painful condition where the cornea becomes inflamed or ulcerated.

Lori recalls, “John-John was on the mend of his two months of illnesses and then all the sudden he woke up one morning, and he couldn’t open his eyes. He was very light sensitive, and he was screaming. He was only 16 month’s old and couldn’t tell us what was wrong.”

A Cornea Specialist diagnosed his condition. As a result of the keratitis, John-John developed permanent scarring on his cornea. Highly qualified and well-respected doctors worked together to develop a plan of care to prevent further damage of John-John’s eyes. This plan of care involves the use of Valtrex, a medication which must be compounded when used for children. John-John must take Valtrex twice every day for the rest of his life, in combination with an eye drop regimen.

Lori remembers first meeting Joe Cabaleiro of Triangle Compounding Pharmacy when she moved to the area. “Joe sat down and talked with me, and I said, ‘this is the recipe for John-John’s medicine, and this is our situation. Can you help us?’, and Joe said, ‘No problem.’ It was so assuring to have someone who could make the medication for John-John.”

To a five-year-old, taste matters — a lot. When a child has to take a specific medication every day, it has to taste good or the child won’t take it.

Triangle Compounding Pharmacy worked with John-John to come up with a flavored medication that worked well for him. The pharmacist from John-John’s old hometown made the medication by hand. Triangle Compounding Pharmacy makes their medicine on state-of-the-art compounding equipment. Although the medicine is blended perfectly, the taste of the medicine was different from what John-John was used to. John-John did not prefer this new tasting medicine.

Triangle Compounding Pharmacy was up for the challenge of making a good tasting medicine for John-John. With 250 flavors to work with, it only took Joe and co-owner Danny Barnes about 8 batches to find a flavor that John-John would tolerate.

“That really touched my heart,” Lori shares, “that they were willing to find something for my child because this is a medication that is never going to go out of our life. Everybody at Triangle Compounding Pharmacy went through so much to find John-John a flavor that he would take.”

For John-John, Valtrex keeps his condition in submission better than any drug out there. He does have occasional outbreaks that could potentially further damage his eyes, which makes consistent use of his medication of utmost importance.

Lori finds visiting Triangle Compounding Pharmacy very comforting. “Whenever I go in,” she says, “everyone always comes up and says hello to me and John-John. They always ask me how he is doing. And, they ask him, ‘Hey John-John what’s up?’ At Triangle Compounding Pharmacy, we’re not a script. We are people and that means so much to me.”

Lori finds the personalized service and support she needs at Triangle Compounding Pharmacy to help John-John’s eyes from further scarring, so John-John can concentrate on his firefighter hero skills and Lori can concentrate on being his loving and supportive mom.

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