Today we’d like to introduce you to Trisha Gioia.
Hi Trisha, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Two years ago, almost to the exact day of this interview, my life went into a tailspin. Not just my life but our entire family and my amazing, bright, loving 17-year-old daughter’s as well.
Fourth of July 2019 started as our holidays always do. We were living in South Florida at the time due to work. The kids were happy and gathering all of the fireworks and getting ready for a fun night. I was in the chicken coop getting the girls ready for the evening fireworks as well. The day seemed normal. When night time came, my eldest daughter came to me and said that she didn’t feel all that great. (We had all had colds a week prior, so I thought maybe she had an infection of some sort.)
We ended up staying inside and relaxing all evening. Around midnight, Cayden came and woke me up and said she was having trouble breathing. We walked into the kitchen as she was telling me how she felt, and she turned and projectile vomited everywhere. She looked at me and said, “mom, my stomach doesn’t even hurt. It’s not upset. I don’t know where that came from.” I then told her to go get her stuff together so we can go to the hospital down the road.
By this time, it is now the middle of the night. Cayden has not slept at all yet, and I had maybe an hour. We head to the hospital and they do an X-ray on her lungs because she was having trouble breathing. ER doctor comes in and says she has bronchitis. The doctor ordered a child’s size breathing treatment for her. While waiting for that breathing treatment, Cayden keeps vomiting but saying that her stomach is not upset. The nurse came in and gave her Zofran for her tummy. Zofran didn’t work. The first breathing treatment didn’t work. ER doctor decides to give Cayden an adult dose of a breathing treatment. By this time, things are getting worse, and Cayden feels absolutely horrible. She said she felt weak and not like her.
The ER doctor came back into our room in the early morning hours and said she had done everything she can do and that Cayden needs to go home and get some sleep and wait for the antibiotics to work.
After the doctor left the room, Cayden started gasping for air and her chest looked funny as she was breathing. I ran out to the doctor and nurse’s desk to tell the doctor and the doctor repeatedly told me that Cayden was fine. She had bronchitis, and this is a part of it. I returned to Caydens bedside so scared. The nurse came in with discharge papers that I still have today with the first diagnosis of bronchitis. Cayden couldn’t get off the bed. She could NOT walk. I told the nurse that something was very wrong. They got a wheelchair and wheeled her out to the car anyway, and they also had security walk out with us. Have no clue why.
We arrived home and again, Cayden couldn’t walk. I had to help carry her inside the house. She got to the couch and laid down. She is still vomiting at this time too. I sat next to her on the floor for a couple more hours before I watched her slip into a coma right in front of me. When we got back to the same hospital later that morning, it was a whole new staff.
Back in the ER, but this time there was no waiting! We were immediately taken into the back. The head ER nurse came in and looked at me and said your daughter has diabetes. She is in DKA. Why did it take you so long to get her to an ER? After I had come off of my Knees from hearing what I heard, I told the nurse to go look in Caydens file. The nurse was in disbelief when she saw that we had been there all night. Now Cayden was going in and out of consciousness, and I was told they weren’t sure if she was going to make it. They started using terms like brain swelling, cat scans, MRI’s, brain bleeding, the whole nine yards. But how could this be? She was perfectly fine just 8 hours prior! The ER doctor repeatedly told me she was fine!
Suddenly things started moving quickly. We were told her sugar was 1400 and her A1C was 17. She was being moved to the NICU now. The next 24 hours are crucial. My first thought was that I needed to get to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and I need to get her there now! Drs were coming in and explaining all kinds of things that I cannot remember for the life of me. I lived on the hospital room floor. I thanked God for sparing her this far and to please heal her body. I told him to take me instead. Anything just to bring my baby back to this side of Earth. She didn’t deserve this. This isn’t fair.
Minutes seemed like hours. Hours seemed like days. Days seemed like months. A week felt like a year!
Finally, almost a week later, Cayden opened her eyes and smiled at me!! She had a million questions asked to her in a very short time. The Drs left the room, and Cayden asked me what was going on. What was wrong with her. I had been trying to figure out how to tell her, but I honestly had no clue. I started from scratch and told her the entire truth while doing my very best not to cry. But it wasn’t just a sad cry. I was happy! I was so happy to see her beautiful face. I told her that her grandmother, whom we call “Mom,” saved her life and kept her alive until a doctor could figure it out. I truly believe that to this day. Cayden has a guardian angel and her angel saved her life!
After Cayden was discharged from the hospital, I went and asked for as much bloodwork as possible on Cayden as it is common knowledge that autoimmune diseases can run together. Thirty days later, she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
We put the house up for sale and we moved back to St. Louis! There’s no place like St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Since coming back home, Cayden is doing phenomenal! St. Louis Children’s Hospital is wonderful. Especially the endo department. While going through all of this, Cayden would say to me that there needs to be more fun “things” for people with diseases and disabilities. She is proud of who she is, with type 1 diabetes and Celiac Disease! We should all be proud, no matter what our situation is!
So with Cayden’s help, Unique Home was born. We create many things for many causes and awareness. We are an all-inclusive shop and also offer thoughts and prayers if needed. Cayden and I seek out warrior children and adults as often as we can and give them a gift of support and love. Warriors need to hear how amazing they are!
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Believe it or not, I have had a lot of people tell me that they think our idea is crazy. We have thought about not continuing the shop on multiple occasions. What would that accomplish? There are hundreds, thousands, millions of warriors out there, and they are NOT alone! We want to make a change. We want to help children and adults to not be afraid. Help them get through whatever they are going through. That’s what we do. With all of our heart.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I create a multitude of items. From flower shadow boxes, Rosie the Riveter Awareness Decals, throw blankets, serving trays, wreaths to personal accessories. Awareness shirts, wreaths, and decals are my most popular items. The personalized trinket boxes\keepsake boxes are just a few of my favorites. If I can put a smile on your face, it’s the best day!
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Yes! Do not give up!! Persevere! Listen to your heart, not your mind!
- T Shirts~20+
- Keepsake Boxes~39+
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: Etsy.com/shop/