PKU and College Life

PKU and College Life

Avatar of Breanna

PKU and College Life

September 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

I recently started college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Last Spring I had no intentions of living in the dorms, because I live less than fifteen minutes away from the school that I am attending. At the last minute my parents were able to convince me to move into the dorms. I think they knew I would be missing out on a great experience if I commuted. I will admit that I was more than just a little bit worried about what I would eat. At the school I am going to it is required that all first year students have a meal plan. I assumed this would be pointless for me, because I thought the likelihood of being able to find PKU friendly food was slim. Let me just say I was very surprised when I arrived at the school. The first morning I had breakfast in the dorm cafeteria I realized there were some very acceptable foods available. Every morning I am able to choose from hashbrowns, a variety of cereals, fresh fruit, and every kind of juice under the sun. I moved in less than two weeks ago, so I am certain there are more breakfast foods that I can eat that I have not yet discovered. When I ate lunch for the first time at school I had a bit of a scare. I went downstairs to the cafeteria with my roommate, and we were unable to find anything that I could eat. We ended up going to a local restaurant for lunch. Immediately after eating lunch I called my mother to let her know about my situation. Being the amazing mother that she is :), she got on the phone with the food service staff right away and started working on our issue. My mom spoke to the head chef, and he asked to speak to me right away. I went downstairs to talk with him, and he was a great help! He reassured me that there would always be french fries, salads, and fresh fruit on hand at both lunch and dinner. I had been in such a rush to get something to eat that I had not seen these foods! He also assured me that they could make me veggie sandwiches with low protein bread, but because I am currently taking Kuvan, I am able to eat the veggie sandwiches with regular bread. I was also told that he goes to a whole foods store on a weekly basis, because he shops for two other students needing dietary accomodations in addition to another girl at Marquette that has PKU (she and I met up a few weeks before school started...what a small world we live in!). He agreed to pick up any foods for me that I would like to eat. My roommate is very willing to let me use as much fridge space as needed. We keep foods such as tomatoes, green beans, pears, and apples in our fridge all the time. It helps that my roommate is a healthy eater as well. I also have access to the floor kitchen, should I decided I want to prepare my own food. I drink Phenylade and the Vitaflo PKU Coolers, but I have eliminated the issue of taking up too much fridge space by only keeping as much formula as I need in the fridge at a time. The remaining formula stays on my shelf in my closet, and I only keep two weeks worth of formula in my dorm. The rest is at home. I thought this was a blog-worthy topic, because when I first decided to live in the dorms I was very concerned. A month before move-in-day I began asking everybody I know that has PKU if they know anything about dealing with PKU in the dorms. I was able to find a few helpful people, but I still felt very unprepared, and I hated feeling like I was being left in the dark. I do not want others who have PKU that will be attending college in the near future to worry about whether or not they will be able to live in the dorms, because I have learned that it is very possible to live on campus even with our dietary restrictions. Today, I am very glad that I decided to live on campus, because I am having a blast. I am living on the "Nursing Floor" with all the others who are studying nursing, and it has really helped me to stay focused on my school work. If anyone has questions please feel free to contact me!

8 Reviews of PKU and College Life

  1. Registered: Jul 1, 2009

    Posts: 0

    , INTERNATIONAL

    That’s great BreaMarie. I’m really glad that things have worked out for you and that’s fantastic that the chef is so welcoming of dietary needs and goes shopping for people. How cool is it that there’s another PKUer there? I think that will really help you :)

  2. Registered: May 2, 2009

    Posts: 0

    Topeka, Kansas

    wow that is amazing i am so glad for you :) Wonderful that you have another girl on campus that has pku. :)

  3. Registered: Apr 24, 2009

    Posts: 0

    Cornwall, New York

    While I was reading this blog, I felt like you were speaking words for me my freshman year of college. I had the same worries going away and the fear that there would be no food I could eat. College can be scary enough, but adding in the worry of whether or not you can eat is a big deal. I also contacted the head chef at my college (Iona College) when I was there and they were MORE than happy with accomodating me. That is super neat there is another girl with PKU there. She is super lucky because I know you will be a great role model for her! Have a super time away. If you need anything at all, let me know! 

  4. Registered: Jul 8, 2008

    Posts: 0

    , Wisconsin

    You really are a true inspiration and your mom is soo awesome! Good luck with school:)

  5. Registered: Jul 14, 2009

    Posts: 0

    , INTERNATIONAL

    Hi Breamarie really glad that your college is so accommodating. Really love the photo of you and your two sisters. You are certainly an inspiration to them and many other people

  6. Registered: Oct 2, 2006

    Posts: 0

    brodhead, Wisconsin

    Hey Breanna I am so glad that you found a college that supplies the food you need it gives hope to those of us who still havnt started college yet who also have pku. i wish you the best in your studies for nursing and i really hope you have a great year at school. i also want to go to school for nursing so if you could i would really appreciate it if you could tell me what the classes are like that you have to take. Thanks alot.

    Angela Kazar

    P.S. I hope you will be at camp again next year!!!:)

  7. Registered: Feb 17, 2007

    Posts: 0

    , New Jersey

    I had such a similar experience with my freshman year at school! Isn’t it awesome how kind and accommodating people are? Now that I’m a junior I’m living in an on campus apartment which is perfect for preparing my own meals. I was able to skip out of the housing lottery and get placed there with the help of the disabilities coordinator- definitely worth it. You should check with your school if you can do something like this to make next year even better for you. This year, there is a freshman at my school with PKU- what a small world that we both have someone else! I’ve been helping her out and it is so cool to have someone close by who know what you’re going through.

    Best of luck to you!

  8. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    It won’t be awkward bringing boxes of your formula. On move-in day everybody is so excited about moving in that they’re too worried about themselves to even notice. When I moved in I just brought my formula in and put it on the shelves in my closet. It wasn’t a big deal. My roommate knew before hand that I had PKU, because she saw my pictures from PKU camp on my Facebook, and she asked about it. So when she asked what was in the boxes I just said special drinks for my PKU, and she was cool with it. I only live fifteen minutes from home, so I only keep a box of my coolers and a box of my Phenylade, which is about a two week supply. If you are going to live farther away then just bring more. You can store it in your closet, under your bed, etc. When you go home for holidays you can always bring more.

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