August 19, 2012

Why Yasmin may have her surgery but never live on her own...

I've known this week would come. The one where I have to write about Yasmin. It's plagued me for weeks. Since we saw the Doctor, really. It's haunted the back of my thoughts. I've prayed harder, searched scripture longer, and tried to make sense of the plight of this sweet little girl. This fighter.

Let's rewind to the beginning of the summer. We were blessed and humbled to have so many people praying with us and donating financially to Yasmin. If you're new to this story check out the links here and here. When we met Yasmin she was 11 pounds and 17 months old, emaciated and severely sick suffering from a cleft pallet condition, fluid in her brain and lungs and anemia. A wonderful doctor named Wendy donated over 50 lbs of Pediasure and formula to help get Yasmin's weight up, which was the main reason she was denied the cleft pallet surgery. We met with the Dominican doctor in June, gave Yasmin's mom the Pediasure and a nutrition plan. 

Carina and Yasmin at the beginning of the summer

A month and a half flew by, and soon Dr. Wendy would be in the D.R. with her church facilitating a medical clinic in two impoverished communities. The day arrived and I drove to Alan's mom's house where I would pick up Yasmin and her mom and we would drive to the clinic to see Dr. Wendy. Shortly after I arrived, I was in tears. Yasmin was fat! And scooting across the ground! Smiling! Waving hi! Her eyes, which always seemed to be glossed over and cloudy were bright. I watched her eyes twinkle at me and at my girls. 

Yasmin's mom didn't meet me there. She's pregnant with her third child and had an opportunity to earn money at a lottery/gambling bank. In her place was her mom (Yasmin's grandma). I learned more in my drive with grandma and Yasmin that I had in all of my previous visits. Yasmin was born at 7 months old. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks. She had many problems at birth, but "she is a fighter," professed Grandma. On we drove. 

At the clinic there was a joyful introduction of Dr. Wendy meeting Yasmin! We sat down and caught up Dr. Wendy on Yasmin's progress. We all marveled at how plump her belly was getting. Soon, she would begin developing muscle mass! Muscle mass= cleft pallet surgery! Things were progressing along. And then Grandma said she wanted Dr. Wendy to take a look at Yasmin's back. It was completely lopsided. The left side was raised and puffed out, while the right side was flat. Dr. Wendy immediately diagnosed it as congenital scoliosis. It would be difficult for Yasmin to walk without a brace in a couple of years. I was frustrated that this was the first time anyone had mentioned her back, but what caught my eye and the Dr.'s eye even more is this swirly skin pattern on her back. It was like looking at a Nasa weather map of a hurricane on her back. Two colors swirled together. Dr. Wendy called her husband over immediately who is also a doctor. They confer, ask me to ask Grandma if Yasmin has ever had seizures. Seizures? What? 

The doctors tell me that this skin condition is a sure marker for a neurological condition. Anyone who's been around Yasmin understands that there is something else going on neurologically, but we focused so much on her cleft pallet, things we could treat that it was easier to overlook the bigger issues. Not anymore. 

Wendy calmly tells me, if she hasn't had any seizures, she likely will, someday. She will likely not walk, she will likely not be able to take of herself, she will need 24 hour care. She might get the cleft pallet surgery, but never live on her own.
I held back tears and whispered to Wendy that I could not translate that to her grandma. So I didn't. I said what an incredible fighter of a grand-daughter she has. I told her we wouldn't stop fighting on her behalf for the cleft pallet surgery and then we would continue on. We would fight with them each step of the way, one condition at a time. 

I took them back to Alan's mom's house and picked up my girls. I held them so tightly and for an instant my girls were Yasmin and I was Carina (Yasmin's mom). There was no difference between me and my girls and Yasmin and Carina. Nothing separates us from the love and joy of our Father and nothing separates us, His people whom He created to delight in. Carina and I, are the same. Yasmin and my babies, the same. I cried most of the short ride from my mother-in-law's house to our own house. I am grateful that Yasmin has her mom and a good grandma to look out after her. There are so many kids who suffer in unimaginable ways here without any care from a parent or anyone to hold them or wipe away their tears. Yasmin has that. Her grandma also has faith and believes that God brought us to her "in such a time as this."

We are committed to Yasmin and her ongoing health care. We are hopeful that she will qualify for her surgery by the end of the year. Please join us in prayer for Yasmin and her family. Grandma was right; this girl is a fighter and we will continue to stand in the gap for this child.

Yasmin 13 months ago

But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. 
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.
Lord, by such things men live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
and let me live.
Surely it was for my benefit 
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins 
behind your back.
For the grave cannot praise you,
death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.
The living, the living- they praise you,
as I am doing today;
fathers tell their children
about your faithfulness.

The Lord will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of the Lord.
Isaiah 38:15-20

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