As we go about our daily lives, we hear so many stories of challenges and trials faced by many. This recent story touched my heart deeply as I learned that a former classmate and young friend of my granddaughter is lying in a hospital bed, fighting for her life. You will find Juliana Martinez’s story below. Please keep Juliana and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
The story copied below is taken from her CaringBridge site where you can follow her progress.
Juliana is one of the most amazing kids you will ever know. She is incredibly loving and compassionate. She loves life and those around her with an unconditional heart. She is a creative thinker, and loves to play the piano, sing, do art projects, and make up plays with her brother and sister. She is the best role model for her little sister Madeline and her little brother Alex. She is an awesome soccer player and athlete. She’s a great dancer. She loves school, her teachers, and classmates and loves to experience new adventures and learn new things. Juliana is the strongest and most courageous person we have ever known. We are proud to be her parents. God has truly blessed us with an incredible gift in our daughter.
Juliana has had a number of medical issues in her 9 years, but you would never know it by being with her. She was hospitalized with pneumonia for the first time when she was 3 and was in an oxygen tent with a partially collapsed lung for 6 days. She was hospitalized again when she was 4 for pneumonia. Juliana has taken the challenge of asthma and doesn’t let it slow her down. In fact, she is one of the fastest people we know… her old soccer team even referred to her as “The Bullet” because of her speed.
When she was 6 1/2, Juliana had an explosive onset of frontal lobe epilepsy with complex partial seizures. She was having seizures every 1.5 hours when she was hospitalized in Atlanta. She was given amazing care by her neurologist, Dr. Frank Berenson at CHOA, who was able to diagnose her as quickly as possible and get her controlled with medication. Epilepsy does not stand in the way of Juliana. Knowing Juliana, you would never know she has to take medicine every twelve hours to keep her epilepsy under control. Juliana wants to be an advocate for the epilepsy foundation and have a team for a big race through the Epilepsy Foundation to support families who don’t have resources for their medications and to support epilepsy research. She is a hero and ambassador for people with epilepsy because she doesn’t let it slow her down.
Throughout these trials and tribulations, we have moved from place to place and our experiences have shaped our family to be excessively loving with one another and those around us and strong in faith. Juliana is a wonderful example of Christ’s unconditional love and faith to those around her. She has taught us a lot about the power of prayer.
Juliana is currently fighting another battle. She got sick with a stomach bug 2 days ago, which we had experienced around our family in the days before. We got her epilepsy medicine into her early, and are confident it got into her blood stream before she got sick. She only threw up once and took liquids later on that evening and during the night. The next morning, we were able to give her epilepsy medication and it stayed down. She wanted to rest and we thought she was in great shape, considering what we were worried about. At about 12PM on Thursday, I peaked into Juliana’s room to see if she wanted to watch a movie in bed with her sister, Madeline, who was also under the weather. Our children are very close. Juliana wanted to be alone and have her own space. She is 9. I listened to my daughter and let her rest.
The doctors have told us we couldn’t ever have known what was going to happen when we left her to rest. At about 2:00, Andres went to check on Juliana and found her vomiting bile and having persistent seizures that were unlike anything we have ever seen in our daughter. She was not responsive and was foaming at the mouth.
I called 911 and the first responders arrived within 5 minutes or less. She was taken by ambulance to Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, where we have lived for a few short months as a family. Doctors and nurses worked hard to find out what was wrong as they intubated her and gave her medicine to stop her seizures.
When they did a CT scan, they had reason to believe Juliana had a stroke and had swelling in her brain from the trauma. She was admitted to the PICU and the neurologist recommended us placing a monitor on her brain by making a small incision to release and measure pressure.
Since that procedure and Father Trey from St. Jude Catholic Church anointing Juliana with oil, she has made great and fast strides to release the pressure in her brain, going from 49 to 9 or 10. The doctors found out today Juliana did not have a stroke but are wondering if she may have something called Reye’s Syndrome, an illness that hasn’t been seen here in almost 30 years. This is caused by sacyllic acid (found in aspirin, pepto bismol and other things).
[An Easter update on Julianna by her mother:]
Sunday, April 8, 2012 4:58 AM, CDT – written by Marguerite MartinezTaking hold of all the blessings and miracles in our lives today. Thank you God for sacrificing Your Son and bringing Him back. Thank you for letting us keep Juliana here with us. Thank you for everyone who has been praying for Juliana. Thank you to her caring and invested medical team. Everyone here thinks Juliana is a miracle…. I am choosing today, Easter Sunday, to celebrate Life Anew.