When you're a child, there's nothing scarier than going into surgery. Whether it's a small procedure or a huge operation, the thought of having doctors poke and pry at you isn't anyone's idea of fun.
While surgeries are often planned in advance, sometimes an emergency arises and you have little time to prepare, especially if you need more than one.
This frightening situation happened to nine-year-old girl from Lamesa, Texas who had three emergency brain surgeries in only 24 hours.
On June 15, Lili Baltazar said she was playing video games with her family when she began to scream out in pain.
"She was screaming in pain and right after that she started throwing up," Rachel Strope, Lili's step-mom, said. "We ran to the front door to get her and she was already limp in our arms and unresponsive."
Within minutes the young girl became unconscious and was taken Covenant Women and Children's Hospital, where her mom and stepmom received the devastating news: Lili had an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) in her brain. This occurs when the veins in the brain burst, causing a large clot to form in the frontal lobe.
The distressed parents were told that children who were diagnosed with AVM don't always make it, and those who do often live with "lifelong deficits."
"We had nurses and doctors coming and telling us that they didn't know if she would make it," Strope said. "They said she was a very strong girl and they didn't know what the outcome would be."
Within a day, Lili had to undergo three highly complicated brain surgeries. The first operation was to drain the blood from her brain, followed by an angiogram, with the last being to cut the blood clot out. All three were successful.
"We call her miracle baby because doctors and nurses say that there was no way she could have survived from this being her age and people that do come out of it, grown ups, children they don't have a chance at all," Nancy Baltazar, Lili's mom, said. "We called her miracle baby and we knew she was a miracle baby from day one."
While Lili still faced challenges when she got out of surgery, such as multiple seizures and aversions to medications, after two weeks she was able to begin speech, physical and occupational therapy.
She's defied the odds and is singing, dancing, and laughing, only a month after her operation.
"God is going to use her in amazing ways and she is here, and she was kept here with us for a purpose," Strope said. "She is a miracle and an inspiration, and I'm so blessed that 9 years ago this month her and her sisters came into my life."
Sadly, Strope and Baltazar must now deal with a rising stack of expensive medical bills relating to Lil's surgeries and recovery. If you wish to donate to the family, check out their GoFundMe page.
For more feel-good stories, take a look at these heartwarming reads:
- 99-Year-Old Man Reunites With Wife After They Lost Each Other For 4 Years
- Autistic Girl Was Left In Tears By Her Report Card, So Her Dad Made Her A New One
- Firefighters Rescued Her Husband, But She Was Stunned When They Came Back Hours Later