LEHI, UT (WTXF)- Alex Visker has been sick for most of his life. He's only 19.
From the time he was young, Alex has been allergic to all food. When he ate, he would constantly experience nausea, stomach pain, headaches, bone and muscle pain, drops in blood pressure, hives and even stomach convulsions.
By the time Alex reached 5th grade, his symptoms had worsened, and his family began looking for answers.
Those were hard to come by.
Alex's family writes on their GoFundMe page that over the next six years he saw countless specialists and had an array of tests done. He was diagnosed with everything from constipation to anxiety. More recently, as more and more tests came back negative in terms of known illnesses, doctors began to speculate that it may have been psychological.
Apparently, Alex's tests did end up revealing a number of food allergies. Alex and his family began to realize that many of his problems had stemmed from what he had eaten.
Doctors tried to put him on elimination diets, and even tried alternative medicines. Still their answers were few and far between.
Then, two years ago, Alex's condition worsened. His family says, "Alex had essentially quit eating because it made him so sick and made him hurt so bad."
"Our 6'2" son was down to 155 lbs. Our family doctor worked with us to start him on a picc line and he began to feel better than he had in years. After four months he felt good enough that we took out the picc line and tried food again. He crashed quickly. At that point we had a feeding tube put into his stomach and he began to live on an elemental formula," she continued.
Finally, a beam of hope came in the form of Dr. Gleich, a longtime Mayo Clinic employee who had done research on similar disorders. He believed Alex did indeed have a problem and began to help.
While Alex is still undiagnosed, he is simply classified as having a rare disease. So, Dr. Gleich started him on medicines for severe allergies and a Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), a newly recognized disorder that is difficult to test for.
Those medicines, including a number of others meant to treat his many symptoms have proven costly.
Together with his elemental formula, Alex's medications cost the family about $7,000 a month. Years of doctors' visits and testing have put a financial strain on the family. The family's health Insurance does not cover all of his medications, including the Mast Cell Stabilizers.
In the meantime. Alex does his best to remain positive and lead a normal life. He managed to graduate high school with a 3.6 GPA despite hundreds of absences. His family writes that he still takes his girlfriend out for ice cream, and never makes anyone feel bad for eating in front of him.
He is hoping to go to college online to become a computer programmer.
Until more research is done, Alex's prognosis leaves him with no cure. He will likely have this condition his whole life, which will mean ever increasing medical expenses.
For more information, or if you would like to donate, visit Alex's GoFundMe Page.