My Family, My Foundation

These are my people.


Mr. HInes

Tyler is the love of my life and the “carnivore” I refer to so often in my blogs and videos.  He met me in a time when I said I was totally comfortable educating others about PKU.  Turns out, I had some insecurities there that arose when I told a guy I liked about it, and then visited his family who had to cook differently for me.  He helps me thrive every day with PKU....whether it be pricking my finger for blood phe tests (28 years old and I still have a flinching problem), reminding me to count the handful of goodies I just consumed straight from the pantry, sweating away in the kitchen while filming Thriving with PKU youtube videos, or researching and cooking PKU friendly meals with me. And since he’s so cute and I love him dearly, I cook for us, but have him check and double check how I cooked his chicken because I have no idea what it should look like and am paranoid I’ll accidentally kill him.


MOMMA and dad

Sue is my own personal nurse, who, when I was diagnosed, only vaguely remembered what PKU was.  Without the internet to research with, she cracked open those old nursing school textbooks and found out about one sentence of information about PKU.  She's an insanely great cook, who spent a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen to find foods that I would willingly consume as a kid.  She was and still is my buddy that takes long trips to the doctor and pharmacy with me.  And let me tell you about insurance issues....don't mess with mama bear.

Bill is a rockstar.  While mom and I were driving out to the doctor together, dad was working hard so that we could have that medical insurance that would pay for that doctor's visit and the insanely expensive PKU stuff we needed.  He's where my mindset about PKU comes from, I think.  It's a trial, a little bump in life....and, we deal with it.  No point in whining or crying over it.  It’s not to be used an excuse or a crutch…I just am the way that I am.  And, can I tell you, if papa bear is a term, dad would be it...if dad's dealing with insurance issues, you'll be sorry you ever messed with the Mellen clan.


The siblings

We won’t fault them for not having PKU, they can’t help it. But, I guess they are kinda cool even without it.

Andria is a culinary genius. She’s always the hostess with the mostest and is our family’s chef at Thanksgiving every year (her potatoes are UNREAL). She is constantly finding new ways to make my tummy and I the happiest of campers and I could not be more thankful for her.

While Andria’s the culinary genius, Russ shocked us all by being a literal genius. He’s getting his PhD currently and spending his time researching improvements in treatment and cures for another genetic condition, which makes me the proudest sister on the planet.