Dx Meningitis at birth, Brain Blind, and Immobile – Marietta’s Success Story
One little girl proves everybody wrong (except her parents)
Marietta was born in Duesseldorf, Germany. Her mother had a healthy pregnancy and a natural birth with Marietta, but two days later the baby contracted bacterial meningitis. The baby was treated with antibiotics for two weeks.
At one month of age, Marietta had another episode of bacterial meningitis and required another month of antibiotics. Tests revealed that she had extensive brain injury and loss of brain tissue, with greatest insult to her left hemisphere.
Parents were told “she will never be normal.”
Her parents were told that “her visual center is gone — she is brain blind there was no treatment for her.” A professor at the University of Duesseldorf told Marietta’s parents that their daughter would never function as a normal child.
The family learned of The Institutes and traveled to the United States to attend the What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child Course when Marietta was seven months old.
She was unable to see, hear or feel
Marietta was blind, deaf, and insensate. She was unable to move or use her hands. Her diagnosis was severe, diffuse, bilateral, cortical and midbrain injury.
Her parents returned home and began an intensive treatment program based on what they had learned in the course. This program included visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation, and the maximum opportunity for movement on the floor.
Dx Microcephaly as well.
At fifteen months of age, Marietta arrived in Philadelphia with her parents for her first evaluation by the staff. The Institutes medical staff found her anterior fontanelle still open, an occipital bulge, and her head measurements were quite small. She had arrived with the additional diagnosis of microcephaly.
Marietta begins to see for the first time
However, in spite of her acute illness following birth, her dire prognosis and lack of development in the first year of her life, Marietta had started to improve significantly due to her parents’ determined efforts.
She began to notice people and objects in her environment. In fact, she was smiling at her mother from a distance of two meters, and even spotting toys.
She had begun to crawl towards the toys and soon was crawling actively around the house. A few days before her visit, she had gotten up on her hands and knees and crept for the first time. She was now understanding all around her and was speaking her first words.
Closing the gap
Both her cortex and her midbrain had developed significantly. She had begun narrowing the gap between her neurological age and her chronological age; she had begun the process of catching up to her well peers.
The staff designed an intensified neurological treatment program for the family to continue at home with Marietta.
Marietta creeps, talks and even reads for the first time
By her next visit, Marietta was 19 months old. She was creeping a kilometer a day and was saying more than forty words and couplets. Mother had presented Marietta with hundreds of reading words, sentences and large print books. The medical staff noted that her fontanelle had closed and that her head circumference was increasing. Regarding her vision, only a slight strabismus remained. Marietta’s program was again redesigned.
Age two Marietta walks for the first time
At the next visit just prior to her second birthday, Marietta had begun to walk independently. Her understanding was now above other children of her age.
At her revisit 6 months later, Marietta achieved a Health Victory, which means she had 12 months of perfect health.
Running for the first time and perfect health
Just prior to Marietta’s third birthday, she was able to run more than 100 meters nonstop and her record of perfect health extended to 18 months -half of her life.
Marietta was equal to, and in some areas above, her peers in every significant way. Her neurological age had actually surpassed her chronological age. Physiologically, she had made up for her small size, too. She was taller than average, her chest size was average, and her head circumference was gaining fast, growing 300% of average in the previous six months.
Accepted in an outstanding school
She was fluent in German, her native language, and she had begun to understand both English and French. She passed the entrance exams and was accepted at an international school in Germany.
By the time Marietta was four she was ready to graduate. She had come a very long way—from a baby not expected to live, then not expected to see or move, to an above-average little girl who is lively and charming and has an especially bright future.
Marietta graduates from High School
Marietta’s mother recently wrote to update us:
“I am happy and proud to let you know that Marietta just graduated high school with excellent grades. Her best subjects were Math and German where she reached the highest grades you can get. We are very thankful that we were able to attend the What to Do About Your Brain Injured Child course 18 years ago and to do the Intensive Treatment Program for almost four years. During her school life, Marietta was a very successful track and field athlete, too. Now, she is on a German Dressage team and hopefully will compete at an Olympic level one day.”
We are so happy and delighted to receive this news but we are not surprised. Marietta’ parents could have accepted that their beautiful baby girl would go through her life blind and immobile but they did not. Instead, they fought for her future – they never gave up.
And little Marietta was tough and determined too she worked just as hard as her parents and she still does.
Her story as an adult is just beginning. What a privilege it is to know her and be a part of her story. We believe she will continue to inspire others and to make the world a better place.