Rare disease forces Wichita boy to undergo surgery every few months

WICHITA, Kan. Eleven-year-old Caleb Hoshaw was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis in December of 2016. His family describes it as a disease, usually triggered by certain foods, that eats away at his esophagus.

“I don’t really know what it means,” Caleb explained. “It was kind of weird, I really didn’t know how to spell it at first.”

Now, Caleb lives life without foods that most kids his age love and live on. The treatment includes eliminating common food groups for 9-12 weeks, bringing one back each time, then having a surgery of roughly 17 biopsies to see if the disease was triggered in different areas of the body. Those foods include wheat, milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. So far, Caleb did well with wheat, but learned milk triggers the disease.

“All you can have is fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. As adults, it’s like, this is really healthy,” explained Linda Hoshaw, Caleb’s mom. “But then it’s like, that’s not at all what kids want to eat.”

Caleb had issues for the first few years of his life, thought to be acid reflux. But when he vomited frequently late in 2016, his parents knew something more serious was going on. Eventually a specialist in Kansas City diagnosed him.

“Be an advocate for your child,” Linda said. “For him, he was in sports camp all summer, and we just had some vomiting issues. That was the only real sign that I saw.”

Caleb says he is a little afraid he’ll never get to eat brownies again, but as for being afraid of what lies ahead with treatment?

“I’ll get over it someday,” Caleb said confidently. “I’ll think back at it and just be so happy that I got to get over it.”

Zion Lutheran Church in Newton is having a Soup Supper Benefit to benefit Caleb and the costs incurred for his diet and treatment. That event is Friday, January 26th from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. For more information, you can call (316) 804-2954.

You can also keep up with Caleb’s journey on a
Facebook page set up by the family.