BROKEN BOW, NE -- A young Nebraska girl is battling an extremely rare eating disorder.
Mackenzie Sisson is just like any other eleven year old, only she's addicted to metal.
"She can see a staple laying on the floor in a classroom, in the carpet. She can find metals in the rocks that you can never see," explained Mackenzie's mother Patricia.
Mackenzie started eating unusual things in preschool.
Things got worse in kindergarten.
"She started chewing on the lead part that holds the eraser on a pencil, eating her erasers, breaking up her crayons," Patricia added.
In second grade Mackenzie disassembled a school chair and put the screws in her mouth.
Mackenzie is good at hiding metal objects in her mouth.
She can hide two AA batteries under her tongue and speak normally.
From doctor to doctor, no one could explain Mackenzie's affliction.
After five years of searching for answers, the Monroe-Myer Institute in Omaha diagnosed her with pica, an extremely rare eating disorder.
Mackenzie also has Tourette's Syndrome.
Doctors tested Mackenzie blood levels for for lead.
Mackenzie was a class 3, with a lead level of 37.9.
The normal is 10.
The high levels of lead have caused complications.
In November of 2006, Mackenzie complained of abdominal pain and a fever.
A CAT-scan revealed something both frightening and amazing.
"The first words out of his mouth were 'Oh my god'. He took me over to his computer and showed me her body was covered," said Patricia. "If you have lead in your body on a Cat-scan it will show up white, and there was white all over her body." And I was scared, I didn't know what to do I wanted to go hug her and just take her away."
Doctors thought the lead would pass through her system without surgery, but by December Mackenzie started vomiting at school.
Doctors eventually operated.
"He had to cut her intestine open in two different places. One to take out the four ball-bearings that were in there, and on the other side there was a little rock that had gotten stuck in her intestine that had scar tissue growing around it, so it had been there quite a while," Patricia explained.
Mackenzie still has to be watched carefully.
"I think she has a lot of frustration with it. And she doesn't understand the cause and effect of her problem. She doesn't understand the cause effect that putting something in her mouth will make her sick and cause her to possibly have a surgery."
The Sissons family works with Nebraska's state lead program to put metal objects out of Mackenzie's reach.
Since her last surgery, Mackenzie doesn't crave metal like she used to.
Still, someone must monitor her at all times, Mackenzie checks her lead levels every three months.
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