of the month
By Rich Petersen
Sandra Elizabeth DeAnda Márquez
Even though this month’s featured child was profiled about three years ago, you might not remember her since she has grown up so much. Sandra is now 15 and in her third year of high school. She is an excellent student. Her favorite subjects are Spanish and Civics, and she hopes to have a career as either a doctor or a nurse.
Sandra lives in Chapala with her mother, María del Socorro, her father, Alejandro, and two sisters, one older, Ana Graciela age 19, and one younger, Alejandra age 8. Her mom is a housewife and her father a decorative iron craftsman.
At age 11 Sandra was diagnosed with lupus. Also known as “lupus erythematosus,” this is basically a rheumatologic disorder in which the immune system overreacts to stimuli, resulting in too many antibodies being produced. This autoimmune disease then causes the high number of antibodies to attack normal tissue. This is exactly what happened to Sandra.
She was hospitalized on several occasions, often for weeks at a time. Actually, during the first 6-8 months that Sandra was registered with Niños Incapacitados, we saw only her mother as Sandra was constantly in and out of the hospital in Guadalajara.
Her breathing was compromised as the disease affected her lungs. Then her kidneys began to fail, then high blood pressure set in, along with convulsions. The number of drugs she had to take reached 17 and there was fear she would succumb to the disease.
Thankfully with great medical care plus the love and support of her family (and, I must add, a very positive attitude and will to overcome), Sandra’s condition is now classified as “stable,” and she now only takes about four medicines daily.
Sandra must always take care to avoid infections, colds, the flu, etc., as these could cause a relapse of some of her symptoms. So you might see her around town wearing a blue hospital mask over her nose and mouth to ward off germs. She and her mother also attend a monthly support group at the Hospital Civil in Guadalajara for patients and families of patients living with lupus.
She would like to study medicine when she is older, but for now likes to play basketball and has become very adept at making necklaces, earrings, and bracelets of fantasy beads, a hobby she began while in the hospital and at home recuperating. Sandra is very outgoing and has many friends. The progress she has made over the past three years is remarkable, and she and her mother offered grateful appreciation for all that Niños has done for them.