Emily Thomas – Losing Her Voice but Keeping Her Life
Posted on Jun 14, 2012
At Dallas Children’s Medical Center, the Thomas family has to make tough decisions to preserve the life of precious 3-year-old Emily Thomas. Emily suffered a terrible stroke when she was only an infant, and as a result suffers from Cerebral Palsy as well as static encephalopathy, neurological devestation, cortical blindess, dysphagia, and tracheomalacia. Despite these nearly insurmountable challenges, Amber Thomas describes her daughter as optimistic. The caring mother put it best when she told reporters, "There's a lot more of her in there than people realize."
Emily has learned to cope with many of the effects of cerebral palsy like muscle spasms, and she was even learning to slowly communicate with her parents by forming words like, “hi.” Unfortunately, Emily is facing yet another medical obstacle. A few weeks ago Emily caught a cold. While this would not be dangerous for other children her age, Emily’s other conditions put her at serious risk. Her mother explained how Emily’s Cerebral Palsy complicates the situation, "It makes all of the muscles and tissues through the airway weak. So if she gets the slightest cold, it can just weaken her badly." Emily nearly suffocated as a result of the cold and had to be flown from her cozy home in Tyler to Children’s hospital.
The Thomas family has decided to put in a permanent tracheotomy in Emily’s neck. A tracheotomy, basically, is a hole that doctors place in a person’s neck that allows them to breathe even when their airways are blocked or weakened.
For Emily, this will mean that she’ll never suffocate. It also means that she’ll lose her vocal cords. Her mother refuses to give into the idea that Emily will never be able to communicate. She told the media, "If anyone can figure out how to make sounds, how to communicate - even if it's with her eyes - it's her."
Emily has her own website with her story, photos and even a journal that follows her progress through this difficult journey. Emily recently had surgery and is now fighting to breathe on her own. In the journal, Emily’s mother asks for prayers for both Emily’s health and the wellbeing of their whole family.