There is no way to miss the pain in his eyes these days and yet…those same eyes also carry a tremendous measure of faith that only God can give.
I’ve known and loved Juan Martinez for over 20 years. He was a blessing when as a student he sat in one of my high school classes, and his smiling face is a blessing to me today. Because of this and because I am one of the lucky people who understands the deep and abiding love that exists between siblings, Juan’s story, which is really the story of his sister, Daisy, touches my heart in a tremendous way.
It all started so normally. Daisy was a late in life baby with Juan basically grown by the time the little pink bundle came to live at his parents’ home in 1988. Daisy grew up to graduate from Comanche High School in 2006, and you might even have seen her at times working at the KYOX radio station. I remember her as a chatty, vivacious young girl who never seemed to meet a stranger and then, as happens so often, Daisy left for college, and I no longer saw her.
I recently sat down with Juan who filled in the gaps for me. It seems that Daisy attended McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. And, as is so often the case, it was shortly after graduation that she met a boy, Corey Scott, to be exact.
Eventually, Corey went into the military, and it was five years before he and Daisy met up again, this time for good. The couple married in 2012, and they moved to North Carolina where Corey was stationed. You know how the military is; they keep you moving, and soon they found that they would be moving again, but this time they had a choice: Virginia, Hawaii, or Spain.
The family has ties to Spain and Juan, of course, was pushing for Spain, but Daisy was determined. I mean, after all, who gets a chance to live in Hawaii? So…Corey and Daisy made plans for what Daisy considered a romantic, tropical dream come true, Juan explained to me.
“Here’s the mystery of the whole thing and why no one can change my belief in God. About a month later and without talking to anyone about it, Corey went to see his commander to tell him that he had a very strong feeling that he needed to be in Norfolk, Virginia.”
Although surprised, the commander went to work to get the transfer to Virginia and not Hawaii.
“Corey and Daisy even fought about it because she really wanted to go to Hawaii,” Juan continued, “but Corey is a praying man, and he was sure that God wanted him in Norfolk.
“I’m convinced that it was his communication with God that told him to go to Virginia, and there is nothing that can convince me otherwise. We are just so grateful because Norfolk, Virginia has the best Naval Hospital in the country…”
And by now, of course, you’re wondering why it would come to matter to Corey and Daisy that Norfolk has a great hospital, right? The truth is that it didn’t, not at first, although Daisy had had one health scare in 2011 when she was twenty-two. Juan explained it to me.
“Daisy and I used to walk a lot together, and we would notice that even though she’s so much younger than I am, she was the one who was always short of breath. Then, she developed kidney stones and went to the doctor for them. It was at that time that the doctor discovered a small mass on her heart. He forgot about the kidney stones, had her flown to Abilene, and she was in surgery the next day. She was twenty-two.
“The doctors told us it was a one in a million chance that the tumor had occurred, and the surgeon told me that there was absolutely no chance that it could happen again.”
By the time Daisy and Corey were settled in Virginia and found themselves expecting a baby, none of this past history seemed terribly important…and then Daisy began to gain weight and more weight until she had put on nearly fifty pounds during her first trimester. Obviously, the doctors began seriously testing to see what could be the matter.
It was at that time that it was determined that Daisy had Cushing’s Disease or Syndrome, and her adrenal glands were removed. And remember….the young woman was expecting a baby. The doctor who diagnosed the Cushing’s was also familiar with something most of us have never heard of: Carney Complex, a condition that has affected less than 750 people world wide.
After DNA testing that took over three months to complete, the doctor’s fears were confirmed. Daisy Martinez Scott had the rarer than rare condition. Because Carney Complex causes tumors to grow throughout the body and especially in the heart, doctors went to work to see what they could find in Daisy. At that time, they found tumors in the pituitary gland, in the hip, and in the left ear. At the time she went in to have the one in the ear removed, it was discovered that she has another tumor in the heart.
With all of this whirling around her, Daisy Scott went into labor, giving birth to a beautiful baby girl about four months prematurely, but surely a gift from God because it is very, very rare for anyone with Cushing’s Syndrome to conceive.
Today, Mom, Dad, and baby Denver* are home, and Daisy is looking at the date March 11 for her next heart surgery while her brother Juan and the rest of the family pray unceasingly, with Juan trying to focus on the positive, on the fact that his faith in God has been tested and come through the fire much, much stronger than it was before Daisy’s diagnosis.
And just in case you haven’t done the math, Daisy Martinez Scott is still twenty-five years old. She will turn twenty-six on May 16, 2014.
Juan recently wrote a piece for his Carney Complex Facebook page, and you can find it in its entirety there with his explanation of just exactly what this disease is and what it does to the body.
Below are excerpts from Juan’s writing that I’ve chosen to share with you today.
“With all of these health issues, I hear Daisy saying often, ‘I am blessed.’ I couldn’t understand this. How can someone with this incurable disease that causes so many obstacles to quality life say this?…Over the years, I have seen the surreal, yet undeniable transformation of Daisy.
“I still can go back to her teen years on her Facebook when it was common to see a posting of senseless things, at times even mean. Now, in recent times, it is common to see scripture verses and beautiful pictures of her young family.
“I now realize that Faith is valued more when it is tested like Daisy’s has been. I have always considered myself a Christian, but it is a lot easier to see God in the brightness of day than it is to trust Him in the darkness of night. Daisy has lived with uncertainty for a long time, yet she surrenders her life completely in the hands of God.
“There is nothing that God cannot do in your life if you are willing to submit to His will. If you need an example, go to Daisy’s Facebook page and see a beautiful miracle named Denver. It was believed that it was impossible for someone with Cushing’s Syndrome to get pregnant. And once she was pregnant, very skilled and qualified doctors sat us down to tell us that she had a 10% chance to live. Unknown to them, there was a strong, unified community praying for Daisy and her family.
“Daisy has taught me that the pain and struggles I face are simply the elements God uses to mold me into greatness…He has the plan, and it cannot fail. The miracle of prayer exists. God is with us, and I ask everyone to pray for Daisy and her family during these trials…”
Juan went on to close our interview by telling me just how thankful and proud he is to live in the wonderful community of Comanche.
“People have given us the best gift anyone can give: prayer.”
And although no one asked me to mention it, I realize, and I’m sure you do too, that this has been a very expensive illness for a very young couple. Of course, Daisy’s treatment is covered by the military; however, travel to Maryland, hotel stays, Corey’s loss of income while Daisy is in the hospital and he is by her side, etc. cannot be cheap. Then there is the fact that Daisy’s mom lives in Comanche, and she has to travel to be with her daughter and to help take care of the baby when Daisy cannot. Of course, she loses her own income when she is unable to work.
And yet…even in the middle of the storm…this family looks up and praises the God they love, and they send the rest of us a true Message of Hope. I feel sure they would not object to being added to your congregation’s prayer list. May God Bless Them All.
*Since this article was published, Denver’s DNA labs have completed, and the beautiful baby girl does NOT carry the Carney Complex gene. To quote Daisy, “God is Good!”