THEly Muchow is barely out of her first decade on earth, but she feels depressed like a disease she’s been battling since she was barely a year old, stubbornly clings to.
Lily, who will be 11 in March, suffers from epilepsy. In recent months, her seizures have increased, despite medications that had already relieved the problem for six years.
Migraines also plague the middle child of five whose mother Stephanie Muchow, originally from Ahwatukee and formerly of Desert Vista High School, is raising them as a single parent.
Now Lily is one of the new kids being helped by the Ahwatukee based nonprofit Armer Foundation for Children.
With growing hospital bills and her mom unable to take on the extra hours of work her company offers due to unplanned and planned hospital stays, doctor’s visits and added responsibilities, Lily needs more. help from the community.
âI have to take a lot of free time to be there for Lily,â Muchow confessed. “And when Lily’s in the hospital for two weeks and I’m not working, you can’t help but wonder how you’re going to pay your electricity bills.” This is an area where the Armer Foundation for Children has been helpful.
Muchow, an employee at MomDoc Ob / Gyn, said Lily’s health has deteriorated in recent months. Her once bubbly and intelligent daughter – who is eager to return to school at Kyrene de los Cerritos Primary School – now suffers from uncontrollable seizures, severe migraines and chronic pain, âher mother said.
Lily suffered her first seizure a few days before her first birthday. Hope came from a combination of medications and ultimately helped Lily stay seizure free for over six years as the family moved to the mainland.
Two years ago, when she was a third grader at Cerritos, Lily was weaned off the drugs, but gradually, her mother said, she started having “little headaches” which increased in size. frequency and intensity until a migraine prevents him from speaking normally.
âShe didn’t know where she was or who we were and she couldn’t walk on her own,â Muchow recalls. “We learned that her epilepsy had returned and that the migraines she now had were causing her ataxia – a serious imbalance.”
Eventually Lily was able to walk again, but even now she often uses a walker or wheelchair to keep her safe.
Every four to six weeks, she visits the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for medication adjustments and IV medications.
At home, Muchow explains, âLily takes more than six different medications each day, plus her emerging medications to control her migraines and seizures. In addition, the youngster is now undergoing physical and occupational therapy, as the seizures affected his muscle tone, strength and motor skills.
Through it all, her mother praises her young daughter’s endurance and resilience.
âLily is an intelligent, playful and sassy child. She is always smiling and loves being surrounded by her large extended family of aunts, cousins, uncles and grandparents, âshe said. “As a mother, I just want to see her live her happiest, healthiest life.”
Sadly, in recent weeks, Muchow has become dismayed as her normally optimistic daughter slips into depression.
“His sanity has taken a serious dip,” admitted Muchow. âShe suffers from severe depression and anxiety and she is tired of never feeling well. After so many beatings, beatings, etc., besides living with these crises and pains, she began to struggle not only with anxiety, but also with depression. It makes sense when you are not feeling well physically, it will impact your mental health, but lately it has become even more of a concern. She will start (mental health) therapy as soon as we can implement it for her. “
Although Muchow does not freely discuss her own trials, she expresses her fears about the family’s financial future.
âJust existing right now is a stretch,â she admitted. âWe have rent to pay, household bills. It can be scary. “
And Muchow has additional concerns. Her 9-year-old son, the fourth youngest of five siblings aged 15 to 4, also suffers from epilepsy, ADHD and autism.
Help from family members was a comfort.
âI couldn’t do it without the help of my mother, Laurie Neville, my father Robert Neville and my sister Ariel Sansom as they live nearby,â said Muchow, who brought his family back to Ahwatukee ago. five years. “My mother is my saving grace who not only watches over Lily, but also helps with the other four children.”
At MomDoc, Ob / Gyn in Chandler, she said, âI manage to work part time now with MomDoc in their yard department. It’s difficult to work part-time with Lily’s appointments and her frequent hospitalizations.
âLily was in the hospital about three weeks ago, first for a few days a week, then the next week she was there again. Unfortunately, I can’t afford daycare on my own, so I rely heavily on my mom to help me. I’m very lucky she’s nearby.
âI would like to be more financially independent, but balance is hard to find when it’s good to leave Lily alone. She has bad seizures and days of chronic pain where she doesn’t function more than just lying at home and sleeping. I have four other children who want and need their mom too.
Muchow said her daughter “very much hopes” to go back to school in a few months.
“Lily wants to return to Cerritos soon – hope is after the winter break provided she is well enough, that she can handle the level of work, the noise and the excitement, and that we can put in has a good security plan for her, âshe said.
âAlthough I’m scared and extremely nervous to send her, I think being with her peers would greatly improve her mental health. Unfortunately, with his anxiety and depression comes a certain emotional and social immaturity that we hope to improve as well. “
While Lily could not be interviewed directly for this article, her mother delivered a message that her daughter wanted to relay.
âThank you to the Armer Foundation for helping me and my family as I try to feel better,â she said.
Her mother added: âThe Armer Foundation has been a great support; sometimes they allowed me not to worry about keeping my lights on or my car insurance up to date. They allowed me to focus on my family who needs me. I will be eternally grateful for it.
âWe believe that the primary goal of a family should be the well-being and health of their child, not medical bills or other financial burdens,â said Jennifer Armer, co-founder of the Armer Foundation who, with her husband Matt, launched the association in early 2019..
Since then, at least a dozen local children and their families have received much-needed help during times of unrest.
âDonations are always needed and welcome,â said Jennifer Armer.
Donations to help Lily and her family weather this storm can be made through ArmerFoundation.org.