Child Of The Month
By Rich Petersen
Juan Diego Pérez Aceves
Does it ever seem to you that there is a plethora of too-adorable children here in Mexico? That your heart is attracted to them almost immediately? Here is another one. This is 7-year old Juan Diego Pérez Aceves. Juan Diego is the older of two boys; his brother José Ignacio is three. They are part of a loving family in Ixtlahuacan. Mom is a housewife, and Dad works in construction.
Juan Diego looks a little small for his age, right? That’s because he has a condition known as “esophageal stenosis,” which only means that his esophagus (where the food goes down) is very constricted, an unusual but not uncommon birth defect. In other words, Juan Diego can’t swallow with the facility and ease most children do.
Right after birth, his parents noted that he couldn’t keep food down—any food. Everything came right back up…it was even difficult for him to swallow his own saliva.
At first when his parents took him to the doctors at Hospital Civil to see what was going on, one doctor told them that the boy was just being “a pill” about food and would get over it. They changed doctors. The next doctor ordered a CT scan of Juan Diego’s upper chest and throat, the results of which showed that his esophagus was 95% closed….only 5% allowing food and liquid down.
He had had a feeding tube through his nose for several months, but when the real problem was discovered, this was changed to a gastric (directly into the stomach) feeding tube so more nourishment could be given. He underwent surgery to close off part of his stomach so more food could be absorbed, and little by little liquid and solid foods were introduced by mouth. Juan Diego could only tolerate small portions at first, but at least he was eating and gaining a bit of weight. The feeding tube was then discontinued.
Now our little guy is being handled very well by his doctors and is gaining weight. Every month or so, whenever his mother notices that he is having trouble swallowing, Juan Diego undergoes a procedure to widen his esophagus. Of course under anesthesia, this procedure inserts different sizes of flexible tubes to help the esophagus to open more.
I know this is a bit delicate to talk about but thanks to this procedure, Juan Diego is doing very well at present. He no longer has to have a feeding tube, and with special high-dose energy/protein food, he is growing at a steady rate. His parents are super supportive and with the help of Niños Incapacitados, his treatments and special medicines are being paid for, as well as the trips to and from the hospital in Guadalajara.
Juan Diego is an excellent student and is in the same class as his best friend. He loves to play soccer and practice kick-boxing, plus ride his bike around the neighborhood. Of course, we hope he continues to improve and thrive.
A SPECIAL THANKS—to all of you who came to and supported our annual Dinner/Dance, this year’s “Hollywood on the Lake.” It was a rousing success and much fun was had by all. Thank you!
To meet other of “our” children and to learn more about what Niños Incapacitados does, please join us the second Thursday of each month for our members’ meeting. Coffee and cookies at 10:00 a.m. at the Hotel Real de Chapala in La Floresta; meeting starts at 10:30. We meet September through May so there are only two meetings left before summer break. Hope to see you there.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
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