His name is Juan Pablo and he is 2 years old.
Last June one of our Monterrey friends, Sylvia, had gone to a funeral for one of her neighbors. She was so moved by the sermon that the priest had given that she felt compelled to go up to him after the service and talk with him. She told him she was on her way to visit a friend who had been sick in the hospital for a long time (me). The priest asked her if she would like a ride, because he just so happened to be on his way there too.
She accepted his offer and when they arrived at Hospital San Jose, the priest, Father Carlos, decided to come up to the 8th floor with her to meet mom and I and to pray with us.
It is a visit I will never, ever forget.
I was feeling very discouraged that day. My discharge plan from the hospital had fallen through… again… because I was sick with yet another infection. I was feeling miserable. Father Carlos spent time listening to me and than prayed for me. He told me that God knew what He was doing, even if I don’t ‘get it’ right now. This delay in leaving the hospital was for a purpose… he assured me, His answer is the right answer and His timing would be the right timing.
I definitely needed to hear that message and I know God used him to speak it to me that day, but it is what he told me next that will make me remember the visit forever.
He said that the reason he was visiting the hospital was to see a little boy who was in the pediatric ICU on the 4th floor.
He then shared with me the story of this brave little boy, who had spent most of his nearly 2 years of life, fighting for it, in the hospital.
This is Juan Pablo. He's 2 and he's adorable!
Juan Pablo was born with Metatropic Dysplasia, which is really rare form of dwarfism. It’s so rare, in fact, that he is the only known case of it in all of Mexico!
He is the youngest child of his amazing parents Roger and Marus. They have 3 other children- Paulina, Roger Jr. and Marianna. Metatropic dysplasia is a genetic condition, however, no one else in his family has it.
This type of dwarfism causes major problems in the musculoskeletal system such as limb deformities, joint contractures and scoliosis. Juan Pablo’s spinal curvature is so extreme that it has compromised his respiratory and digestive systems, leaving him dependent on a ventilator to breathe and on a feeding tube to eat.
The top specialist for this disorder is Dr. Mackenzie at DuPont Hospital in Delaware, where he has traveled to for spinal surgery and follow-up care. He will probably need to have numerous surgeries there in his lifetime.
Ironic how Juan Pi has to travel to the US for his treatment, and I have to travel from the US here.
He is in many ways my kindred spirit… We both have spent a lot of time in hospitals far away from the comforts of home.
I had a huge stuffed animal bear in my hospital room, a gift from my dad, that I called “Monty” (short for Monterrey!) I told Father Carlos that I wanted Monty to go down in Juan Pablo’s room. I know how lonely, long and scary each night in the hospital is and I knew Juan Pablo needed him more than I did. After all I was 22... he was only 2!
Juan Pablo's amazing family with Monty
The next day Juan Pablo’s family came up to my room to get the bear. Hearing what their little son has gone through in his short life… wow. Talk about a wake up call! They are such an incredibly strong family.
From that point on whenever I was having a rough time I just thought of Juan Pablo and I got the strength to get through it, whatever it was.
Juan Pablo's family's nick name for him is "Juan Pi"-- they also call him "Cham Pi"-- short for Champion. And that he certainly is!
Juan Pi has been back in Hospital San Jose for nearly 1 month now and is still unable to be transferred back onto his regular home ventilator without being unable to get enough oxygen and having episodes of tachycardia. His liver is enlarged. His lungs are full of secretions. He is sick.
I know those words that Father Carlos spoke over me are true-… There was a purpose in that delay for me—and I know part of that was so I could come to know Juan Pablo and his family. I consider them a part of my own and I love them so much.
God has a plan for Juan Pi, I am sure of it. However, right now the thought of him laying in that ICU instead of being at home with his loving family really breaks my heart. I wish there was something I could do for him… but I think the best thing I have to offer is prayer.
So I’m writing this to ask everyone to please keep him in your prayers too. He needs to get better, he just has to…
Keep fighting little Champion, You are so loved.
Thank you for praying for my special little friend.
…God’s timing is always the right timing and His answer is the always the right answer…
In God’s love,
PS- Today is Juan Pi's amazing father, Roger's, birthday! Happy Birthday Roger and thank you for being such a great example of unconditional fatherly love to your son, even under the most difficult circumstances.
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