Anissa’s Story# 1 – “Medicine – A Dangerous Reaction”

Anissa was the type of baby that put a spring in the step of any new parent. The alertness shown in her eyes gave hope that she would be just as bright and strong as her 11-year-old brother.

It was during Anissa’s six month checkup when the Pediatrician inquired as to any concerns we had regarding her health. The only thing that came to mind was her difficult time sleeping since teething began. The doctor was quick to offer a solution for that, and wrote a prescription for Phenergan (promethazine HCL) to be given, but to wait one week, so it would not interfere with the polio vaccine she had just received.

When the medicine, along with bottled formula, was given to Anissa, her father noticed an immediate physical reaction after the second dose. The pulling of her head and the drawing upwards of her arms and legs became obvious.  Anissa’s head suddenly drew forward and pulled slightly to the side. After the third dose it was even more noticeable. In addition, she became abnormally hyperactive. Clearly this did not seem right so I wasted no time calling the Pediatrician, who was none too worried. He said that even his own daughters could not take that particular medicine and suggested that the adverse side effects would stop after the medicine was discontinued.

Unfortunately, Anissa’s problems got even worse, as her kidneys stopped functioning. After being admitted to the hospital, the lab tests revealed a chemical imbalance that made it impossible for her body to maintain a proper metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. This affected the PH of her urine as well as her blood. Since she had to be fed at close intervals, as the mother I also became her nurse. My heart sank as I saw the weakness overpowering her small frail body. Her fingernails were turning blue and when I tried to feed her, she was too limp to respond. Her eyelids could barely open and I desperately wanted some answers as to why she was not responding to treatment!

It was the doctor’s next declaration that took the wind out of our sails. He stated that Anissa may not make it through the night, and even if she did, she would be left with a rare type of epilepsy that causes deterioration of the brain, leaving her as a vegetable for the rest of her life, requiring the care of an institution. He described the epilepsy as a form of petit mal known as myoclonic. (She was later diagnosed with Lennox- Gastaut Syndrome.)

That was a most somber trip home from the hospital for me. I believed that my husband and I could cope, but when I thought of our son being at such a young and impressionable age, I wondered how he would handle the stigma of epilepsy in his own dearly beloved sister of whom he was so proud. I decided to phone relatives, friends and church members for prayer. Due to the circumstances we decided to go ahead and have Anissa baptized by our Pastor at the hospital the following day.

This time in our lives was at the same time a brand new season in God’s timetable and I vividly recall pouring out a sincere, heartfelt prayer:

“Oh Heavenly Father, if what the doctor says is true, that Anissa will be left with brain damage and have to be put in an institution, then please, dear Lord, let her not live. If she does live, I’ll know You have a special plan for her life, and she is not to be put into an institution.”

That prayer has been my stand of faith throughout these past 50 years of Anissa’s life as I have watched God answer and fulfill many miracles in the midst of our situations that can only be attributed to HIS EXCELLENT GRACE.

To contact Anissa’s mother email her at


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5 thoughts on “Anissa’s Story# 1 – “Medicine – A Dangerous Reaction”

  1. My heart goes out to you and your family. It’s so painful to watch our children suffer or to be afflicted by chronic illness. May the Lord continue to sustain you through all the ups and downs.


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