Monday, September 22, 2008

Dr. Jorge & Dr. Barbara

UCLA Medial Team

When Starfish started out 3 years ago, I received six babies on one day. What a shock to the system that was! One of the babies they dropped off, had the sack filled with fluid on her neck centered on her spine and I was told before the orphanage staff left, what ever you do, don't brake it. I had absolutely no idea what it was or what to do. I was so ignorant of so many things. Came to find out that the baby had spina bifida (SB) and the sack was filled with spinal fluid. Anyway through a long series of events, I learned that a foreign neurosurgeon was coming to Shanghai and I got a chance to get Nina as she was then called, now known as Flower, onto his surgery schedule. Initially the orphanage refused me permission to take her, but I persisted for about a week and finally the morning we were suppose to leave they agreed. I was so scared because I had no idea what was coming.
We went to one of the best hospitals in China (Shanghai United) and I got to see the miracle of what Dr Jorge Lazareff can do. I found out he separated conjoined twins from Guatemala a few years back. Not only that but he had worked in Groote Schuur, the hospital in South Africa were the first heart transplant was done (Just in case you get that as a Jeopardy question ever) Nina came back with out her sack and I just cried with the wonder of it all. He had repaired her cleft spine and had removed her sack known as a meningiocele. I also got to meet Dr Barbara whose specialty is neurological anesthesiology.
Since then Dr Lazareff and Dr Barbara have repaired the three flowers spina bifida: Heather, Lily and Jasmine (now Megan).

Here are our Five Spina Bifida Kids

This week I will be with another four babies and a nine year old boy who will have a third attempt at repairing his SB. The previous two surgeries were not successful. The children are from the two orphanages I work with. The surgeries will be at Dr Bao's hospital in Shanghai.
I get to see first hand the gift of great doctors who come to China and are willing to volunteer their skills and their time to transform the life of a child. I get to see the effects of their work in my house everyday. There are so many children here who are born with SB in northern China, due to the lack of folic acid found in food which is not always affordable. Unfortunately there are so few really good pediatric neurosurgeons and so we keep Dr Bao pretty busy with all the constant flow of SB babies. I honestly pray we could get more doctors who are willing to come and help. So if you know of any neurosurgeon who would like to come to China and help us out please let me know. I promise to have a full schedule to keep them busy.

Lastly, here is Flower today. These pictures were taken by her mom Angee and so she is our SB poster child. I could not have imagined this when in December 2005 when she had her surgery.

Life, Love and Laughter,

Starfish Foster Home
Cell: 1348.812.4847


Sheri said...

WOW, Amanda - what amazing "then and now" photos of Nina/Flower!! We will add a request for doctors to our prayer list, and a special prayer for that 9 year old boy, who has been through so much already in his short life. May Blessings rain upon you for all you do for China's children!

Heather said...

Thank you for all your word Amanda and helpers. You truly make a difference.
I've given your blog an award on my blog. Not sure if you post them or not or even if you have time.
Heather BT

We5Chois said...

Hey Amanda,

I just love the new look to the blog - very nice.

It has been an honor to spend time with you over the past couple of weeks and to get to see just a glimpse of what you and the other people at Starfish do on a daily basis. Your five boys have touched my heart and I am forever changed by them. Thank you for allowing me to play just a small part in their lives. Hope to see you again soon. I have loved working with you.

Diane said...

Hello, What an amazing story. Bless your heart for doing what you do. I hope God gives you more doctors to help your kids out. I have been doing research on a few neurosurgery doctors and wanted to see what I could find on Dr. Lazareff. My daughter Lily was diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation. Which is in the family of SB. I already have one sick child Avery 7, who was diagnosed in May 2007 with a brain tumor. I'm being extra cautious who I let fix my Lily 3 years old. I asked God to help me choose the right surgeon. Dr. Lazareff has been wonderful through email and this might me the sign from God I was looking for. Thank you for sharing this story. I will let every neurosurgeon I come across know about your needs!

God Bless you!
Team brAvery

Cortney Kelleher, Owner said...

My son, Cian is five years old and was diagnosed with Malformation Chiari I two weeks ago. he was gracious and exchanged reassuring emails with us. We are touched by the heart of this doctor and feel so sure about him We firmly believe God has blessed him with a profound gift. We will be seeing Dr. Jorge Lazareff for the first time this Tuesday when we fly down to UCLA.