In the realm of medical mysteries, Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) stands as a formidable adversary. It is a rare neurological disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerves, causing sharp pains and potentially leading to muscle weakness, paralysis, and other complications. Ariana Costa, a courageous four-year-old, found herself thrust into the midst of this battle, her journey becoming a testament to resilience, unity, and the unwavering power of support.
It all began with a series of tell-tale symptoms. Ariana experienced sharp pains in her head, accompanied by pressure behind her eyes and a tingling sensation in her hands and feet. As the pain intensified, she suffered from vomiting and dizzy spells. Concerned for their daughter’s well-being, Alicia and Jonathan sought medical attention, hoping for answers and relief.
The initial visits to the A&E at the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) resulted in a search for an accurate diagnosis. The medical professionals considered the possibility of a migraine, but as Ariana’s condition rapidly declined, Alicia and Jonathan knew something more profound was at play. Seeking additional insights, they consulted a second opinion from a GP, who initially attributed her symptoms to a stomach bug.
As Ariana’s health continued to deteriorate, the family’s concerns deepened. Persistent in their pursuit of answers, they returned to the GP, who recognized the gravity of the situation. With a sense of urgency, Ariana was admitted to the Rainbow Ward at GHA, where a team of dedicated healthcare professionals began the arduous task of unravelling the enigma.
Days turned into weeks as Ariana underwent numerous tests, including blood work and spinal fluid samples. These investigations aimed to shed light on the underlying cause of her debilitating symptoms. During this time, Ariana’s pain became increasingly unbearable. Even the simplest acts of rest and relaxation were marred by triggers that sent sharp pains coursing through her damaged nerves. She found solace only in fleeting moments of respite, unable to rest for more than five minutes at a time.
The Spanish doctors initially diagnosed Ariana with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a diagnosis that was later confirmed by a UK medical team. Seeking a second opinion from the UK was a necessary step, as GBS had not been previously documented by a child in Gibraltar. The collaboration between the Spanish and the UK medical professionals ensured that Ariana’s diagnosis was comprehensive and accurate.
During her time in Vithas Malaga, Ariana underwent various treatments and therapies to address her muscle weakness and nerve damage. One such treatment in addition of administrating Morphine was Gabapentin, a medication commonly used to alleviate neuropathic pain. The prescribed regimen aimed to provide Ariana with relief from her excruciating symptoms, granting her moments of respite amidst the turmoil.
Between the extended treatments and the constant struggle with pain, Ariana found an unexpected sanctuary. One afternoon, with Ariana’s energy level at rock bottom, Alicia and Jonathan decided to play a song that Ariana had always loved. As the music played softly in the sterile hospital room, something incredible occurred. For the first time in weeks, she found an escape from her pain. She was no longer a patient battling GBS; she was just a four-year-old girl, humming along to her favorite song.
However, progress can be elusive in the realm of GBS. The doctor who oversaw Ariana’s care in Vithas Malaga provided a breakdown of her EMG test results, which unfortunately showed no discernible improvements in her muscles and nerves. This information served as a stark reminder of the long and challenging road that lay ahead.
Witnessing Ariana endure heightened discomfort during these tests was a painful sight for Alicia and Jonathan. However, they knew that to support her, they had to chain their emotions and become full-time caregivers. Their mindset shifted, focusing solely on assisting Ariana in the best way possible.
Despite the setbacks, Alicia and Jonathan remained unwavering in their commitment to Ariana’s recovery. They found strength in their unity, supporting each other through the ups and downs of their journey.
At the GHA, they established a routine where they rotated with each other around the clock, each taking 12-hour shifts to be by Ariana’s side. Alicia worked from the hospital, ensuring that Ariana had constant support and care. Jonathan took the night rounds and went to work the next day, dedicating himself to both his professional responsibilities and the well-being of his daughter.
However, amidst the challenging journey, Alicia and Jonathan realized the importance of not neglecting their other children. They understood that their youngest ones may feel overlooked or neglected during this difficult time. In response, they made concerted efforts to pay attention, offering reassurance, love, and support. They recognized the impact that Ariana’s illness could have on the entire family and strove to maintain a sense of normalcy for everyone.
During their stay at the GHA, Alicia and Jonathan witnessed the struggles of other children in the Rainbow Ward and the unsung heroes. It was a humbling experience that reminded them of the challenges every child face in their own world of pain and adversity. Inspired by this, they resolved to embark on a project that would support kids and families in need, providing them with the help and resources required during difficult times.
In the face of uncertainty and hardship, Ariana’s story is one of hope and resilience. Her journey, to one day walk again, showcases the power of love, support, and unwavering determination. While it was not always easy, Alicia and Jonathan’s teamwork and positive attitude continues to play a crucial role in Ariana’s recovery. They proved that in the face of adversity, a united front can conquer even the most daunting challenges.
In sharing their story, Alicia, and Jonathan hope to raise awareness about Guillain-Barré Syndrome and provide support to those who may find themselves embarking on a similar journey. Their experiences serve as a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of unity in times of difficulty. For anyone seeking guidance, support, or simply a listening ear, Alicia and Jonathan offer their contact number (+350 54027815). They stand ready to extend a helping hand and share their experiences, creating a network of compassion and understanding for those navigating the complexities of GBS.
In closing, Ariana’s journey till date is a testament to the resilience and strength that resides within us all. It serves as a reminder that even in the face of unimaginable challenges, hope, love, and unwavering support can illuminate the darkest paths, leading to a brighter tomorrow.
Note: This article aims to provide information and support but should not substitute professional medical advice. Always consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance and treatment.