South Georgia girl has rare chromosome disorder - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia girl has rare chromosome disorder

July 23, 2003

Sumter County- Brianna Battle is a lucky little girl. Lucky to be part of the Battle family.

There's not a challenge this group can't overcome. They prove it everyday.

"Phenobarbital. She takes 30 milligrams," said Brianna's mother Melissa hold up a medicine bottle in a row of many. "One and a half in the morning. One and a half at night."

As a baby, now four-year-old Brianna was the first person in Georgia diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder, sometimes called Chromosome 14. Only 32 people in the world had it then. Today, there are more than 60.

That left Melissa and her husband J.J. with few places to turn for information.

"There were maybe three sheets of information even given," Melissa said. "I think there are some doctors who fear Brianna because there's not enough information out there for her."

Brianna has developmental delay with speech and learning.

"She kind of has her own vocabulary," J.J. said. "And us being parents, we've gotten a grip on it."

Her immune system is weak.

"She gets everything," Melissa said.

But seizures are her most severe symptom.

"I was afraid if I didn't wake her up, and let her wake up on her on, she would have a seizure," J.J. said about a recent Sunday morning. "I guess I was being a little selfish."

Most would call it love.

Brianna's not their only challenge. Five-year-old T.J. has a mild case of cerebral palsey.

"For T.J. . and Brianna both, they pretty much require a lot of attention," Melissa said.

Big sister Chelsie is around to help.

"I do it everyday and help my mom as much as I can," said 11-year-old Chelsie.

But still, the children require Melissa's constant care and supervision. Time to herself is a luxury she gets little of.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't get in the shower and fear that she's having a seizure."

But they keep going, because they know their greatest challenges bring them their biggest rewards.

"The Lord gave us this special child because he felt that we could handle it," Melissa said.

And they believe he wouldn't give them more than they could handle or a battle they couldn't win.

posted at 11:30 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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