Born January 1973, I grew up in a humble, Christian
home with my mom, dad, grandma (dad's mother),
younger brother and much younger sister.
We lived on 4 acres in the country.
We raised chickens, rabbits and cats; had a large
vegetable garden with many fruit & pecan trees.
My dad, a self-employed CPA, had his office
next door to our home. My parents taught children's
Sunday school classes at a nearby Baptist church.
My mom also worked as church financial secretary.
I was SAVED and baptized when I was 9 years old.
In school, I was in the Zenith program and Advanced
Honors classes. Senior year, I was appointed
yearbook editor. I earned a full scholarship to a
junior college, where I studied journalism, and
aspired to be a talk show hostess. Driving to a class,
my vehicle overheated. Radiator fluid badly burned
my right arm. I had physical therapy, but could not
drive or even write for months. So, I dropped out
of college. I went back to another junior college
in 1994. I interned at our local CBS affiliate,
KOSA TV where I went on to become producer
then assignment editor. 9 years later, I got an offer
to work as a Medical Records and Patient Intake
Coordinator at the Permian Basin Rehab Center.
I prayed about it and believe God was calling me
for a change. But there was an even bigger change
on the horizon.
I became a mother and wife in 1994 when I married a
widower. James lost his first wife in a car accident
just before their daughter, Steffany turned a year old.
My family and I knew his wife when she was a girl
in our church. We all felt an instant connection.
Our son, Joshua came along in 1996.
In 2004 my husband’s work transferred him about
a 5 hour drive away from our families and hometown.
We sold our house and moved away from our familiar
settings. I took the summer off to settle our new home.
By the time I looked for a new job in the San Antonio area,
a 24-hour local news station disbanded, flooding the market
with news professionals. So, I found work with a small business
specializing in Flexible Spending Accounts (Cafeteria Plans).
A few months after the move, our son, Joshua - who had been
healthy all his life - suddenly collapsed and went into
respiratory arrest. It took months for doctors to find the cause
of his collapse.
He has a very rare & serious disorder that causes his
breathing to be too shallow, stops his body from making
growth hormones or properly regulating his body
temperature and hydration. It has left him with a trach
tube in his neck so a ventilator can help him breathe.
He also needs daily growth hormone injections and
other medications. What's more, doctors say there is
no known cure for this disorder.
Because Joshua's disorder is so rare (at the time 25 cases
were known in the world) there was a big write-up
in the San Antonio Express News.
That article led to an hour-long documentary being made
about Joshua and the onset of this disorder.
It was shown on Discovery Channel and on Discovery Health Channel.
March 3, 2005
Joshua (8-and-a-half years-old) spikes a fever and collapses.
I take him to the Texas Med Clinic where his oxygen
level is down to 50 percent (it ..should.. be 100 percent)
Ambulance rushes Joshua to hospital.
He is admitted to Pediatric ICU.
March 4, 2005
early morning hours
Josh goes into respiratory arrest.
He has to be revived ..5 times..!
March 17, 2005
After 2 weeks in ICU,
Josh released from hospital
He goes back to school
then enjoys the summer
Aug 30-Oct 3, 2005
Josh extra sleepy again,
his blood oxygen levels falling again.
He is admitted to Methodist Children's Hospital
A doctor in Chicago helps San Antonio doctors
make the diagnosis of
..Late-Onset Central Hypoventilation Syndrome
with Hypothalamic Dysfunction...
Sept 16, 2005
Josh gets a tracheostomy (tube in his neck)
Sept 19, 2005
Josh ..9th Birthday..
in the hospital in isolation
because he developed MRSA infection.
Josh home from hospital
but he has to hook to ventilator when he sleeps.
We wait to hear from Rush Hospital
Josh needs to go to Chicago to see Dr. Weese-Mayer
Jan 29, 2006
Josh sings "I Can Only Imagine" for our church
not a dry eye in the place
Joshua goes back to school
after the school district hires a one-on-one nurse for him.
(Remember, he has not been able to go to school
since the end of August, when he was
hospitalized for 6 weeks)
Make A Wish sent us to Orlando
THANKS TO MAKE-A-WISH OF CENTRAL TEXAS
and ALL THE SPONSORS!!!
July 30, 2006
San Antonio Express News prints story
about Joshua in their Life Section
2 not-for-profit websites for chronically ill children
feature Joshua on their sites.
To see his pages click on their
Sept 6-13, 2006
Josh hospitalized due to high sodium level in blood
Sept 19, 2006
Josh's 10th Birthday
out of the hospital less than a week ago
Sept 21, 2006
Josh sworn in as honorary Cibolo Police Officer
Sept 24-29, 2006
to see specialist at Rush Hospital
Chicago skyline from hospital's apartment building
Josh studied day & night
a test shows Josh could stop breathing altogether
if the power fails & machine turns off
Dr. Weese-Mayer says Josh needs
to be on the ventilator 24 hours a day
and he is NOT a candidate for the diaphragmatic pacemaker
- at least not now.
He has to keep his trach ..probably forever...
Very disheartening news!
And he needs nursing care 24 hours a day.
Josh has ROHHAD
What is ROHHAD?
(Rapid-Onset Obesity With
Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation,
and Autonomic Dysregulation Presenting in Childhood)
Read about ROHHAD below in an article
by Dr. Debra Weese-Mayer
Trip to Odessa
TV Producer contacts me about
doing a documentary about Joshua
for Discovery Channel
Josh starts taking growth hormone shots
6 nights a week!
Josh approved for Medicaid waiver program
but had to spend a night
in a nursing home first
TV Crew comes from ..London, England..
to shoot interviews for Discovery Channel documentary
Josh rides along with Cibolo police
An article I wrote about Joshua
published by online
Read it by clicking here:
Family Vacation to Rockport/Port Aransas, TX
Watching Cowboys Training Camp
at Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Aug 20 2007
Josh Pilot for a Day
Sept 17, 2007
Josh got to start 4th Grade
after school district hires him a new nurse
(another nurse quit the 1st day of school this year)
Josh's 11th Birthday Party
Oct 25, 2007
Joshua and class attend field trip
to the symphony in Seguin. Then lunch in a park.
Joshua's sodium level in his blood
gets very high (meaning he is very dehydrated) Friday when
he went to the pulmonologist (lung doctor).
This can be quite dangerous, so he has to drink
an extra lot of fluids - even though he doesn't feel like
he needs them - and then go back Friday of next week
for more bloodwork.
Nov 8, 2007
Jan 4 2008
Spurs vs Knicks Game at AT&T Center
Jan 12 2008
Benefit Golf Tournament
raised about $2,000 for
wheelchair accessible van
for Josh's ventilator cart
Mar 5 2008
Josh meets Robert Horry
of the San Antonio Spurs Basketball team
CCHS Family Network Conference
Aug 1-4, 2008
Josh and Mom fly to Los Angeles, California
Josh participates in MRI brain mapping study,
see some cool Movie Theaters where big Hollywood Premiers are held,
and visit new friends who have CCHS
Josh Wooten bowling for Special Olympics 2