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Thank you so much for all of your concern for my son, Joel, and his spine surgery. Here is a link to a song by Mark Shultz that allows me to express exactly how I feel. Please clink on the link as you read this: He's My Son.

As many of you already know, Joel is 14 years and had a brain injury at 20 months old when he was wearing a TLSO Back Brace for his Idiopathic Scoliosis and could not roll over in the middle of the night, depriving him of Oxygen when his airway was occluded. Resulting in a vast global Brain Injury in which the doctors had stated he was brain dead and recommended that we euthanize him. We declined on the recommendation of allowing him to expire. Obviously, our parental faith was stronger than the prognosis. The incident, however, left him severely brain injured. He has not walked since that time and is unable to feed himself or toilet himself and is recovering from Blindness. But he is very verbal, witty and a great friend with a fabulous sense of humor. Plus, he is a Love-bug with the warmest smile! After this Brain Injury occurred, we had been holistic in our approach to his then, mild scoliosis.

Recently, when Joel started going thru puberty, his spine began twisting fiercely in all directions. I started calling Joel, "my little Pretzel Boy." After the twisting seemed out of control, we were referred to spine expert -- Dr. Alexis Shelohov -- at Baylor Medical Center in Plano, Texas for a simple evaluation.

On February 15, 2006 we flew from California to meet Dr. Alexis Shelohov at Baylor Medical Center in Plano, Texas. Who urgently informed us that our Joel needs immediate surgery to prevent his death from Scoliosis related complications. That is when we also found out that Joel's double curved (S curve) spine is at 160 degrees which created a large hunch back. Anything at or above 45 degrees requires surgery. (see 45 degree curve diagram below) Since Joel's spine is compressing and moving his heart and lungs, we were told that if he did not get surgery to correct this, he would surely die. Then the Doctor proceeded to tell us that he is unsure if Joel's heart and lungs are strong enough to withstand surviving such a vital and extensive spinal surgery.

Painstakingly, we have decided to proceed with the surgery and believe that God is on our side and he will protect Joel during this process. To help Joel with his organs, Dr. Shelohov recommends that Joel first have a stainless steel Halo surgically attached to his skull. (See picture below). This would be surgery #1. Joel would be in traction hanging from his head and allowing his spine to straighten a little and thus allowing the organs to grow more and become stronger for the surgery. He would have the Halo on for 6 weeks until the Main surgery at Baylor. Dr. Shelohov openly told Joel about the possibility of death since he said he can not do surgery on Joel if Joel himself does not want the surgery. When Dr. Shelohov asked him, "What do you want me to do Joel?" Joel stated, "Fix me!" I haven't had clear eyes since. What a brave boy I have.

We've been in constant contact with Dr. Shelohov's office and desire a surgery date towards the end of summer, so that it gives us more time for raising funds for the surgery and the other reason is... We wanted more time alone with Joel to create lasting memories. It just seems like an important thing to do.

This has been an emotional time for our family. Just last night I was talking to Joel about the possibility of him waking up in Heaven. I wanted him to know what he is up against to make sure this is what he really wants. He seems to always bring me peace about serious situations. Last night, Joel chose a perfume for me to wear so that when the surgery is over, he could smell me. He chose, Calvin Klein's Escape. I told him that I would fight for him to recover and I asked him to fight to live.

We still are frantically trying to figure out how we can pay for this $500k surgery since Joel does not have any medical Insurance since he is considered to have "pre-existing injury". I am trying to be creative and explore many options as long as it does not jeopardize the main surgery itself (surgery #2) in Quality Care, Hospital or Surgeon. Not to mention, medical transportation for Joel after the surgeries back to California and the parental lodging for this duration that could last four months, as told by Dr. Shelohov. No matter what -- we will proceed forward. We have to, he's our son.

Thank you for praying for Joel. We overwhelmingly appreciate the prayer power and need it! I will continue to update on Joel's situation. For more information about Scoliosis, please visit: Scoliosis Info.

With Love,

Susan Teixeira, Realtor (Joel's Mom)
Keller Williams Realty
11601 Blocker Dr., Ste. 200
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 887-1131

In Benefit of: Joel Teixeira (308-2883999)
Washington Mutual Bank
2520 Grass Valley Hwy
Auburn, CA 95603