There is no greater worry for a parent than when their child is sick. Beyond regularly scheduled checkups, trips to the doctor are never a cause to celebrate.
Brooke Abate was living a parent’s worst nightmare for over two years. Her daughter, Jayla, was in and out of the hospital often.
Of the countless doctors Abate saw for her daughter, none of them were able to give her a concrete reason why little Jayla kept passing out. Her fainting spells started when she was only 5 years old, and they grew more frightening as time passed.
Brooke Abate was in her late 20s when her then 5-year-old daughter, Jayla, passed out for the first time. It was the beginning of an arduous journey.
Abate was a stay-at-home mom, juggling all of the domestic responsibilities and raising her two kids. She and her boyfriend, Blake Dyson, gave birth to their first child, Jayla, on September 29, 2008.
The next three years would be a constant barrage of challenges. Abate and Dyson were in separate, but devastating, car accidents and put on disability payments.
Abate had a miscarriage and was told she would never be able to have a child again. Then, to her surprise, she gave birth to their youngest child, Bentley.
“Life was hard,” Abate told the Daily Advertiser.
The family got along relatively smoothly until the summer of 2014, when Jayla unexpectedly passed out in the bathroom.
“While Jayla was getting ready for school, she was sitting on the potty and fell over,” Abate said. “She was white and unresponsive. I called 911 and they took her to the hospital. Doctors said it was a virus and sent us home a couple days later.”
The episodes started to occur with more frequency.
But each time Abate would take Jayla to the hospital, tests would come back normal.
For the next few months, Jayla was bounced between different medical centers and cardiologists. She was put on an external heart monitor for a month, but the results didn’t provide any new information.
“They were random,” Abate said. “You never knew when it was going to happen.”
In 2016, doctors opted to implant a Reveal LINQ heart monitor. For several months, Jayla didn’t have any episodes, furthering doctors’ beliefs that there was no medical issue.
“Jayla didn’t have an episode the entire time,” Abate said. “It was crazy, like nobody was believing me. It made me feel like I was going nuts. One doctor even said, ‘I think it’s a cry for attention.'”
But in June 2016, after about six months with her implanted monitor, Jayla had her most frightening episode yet.
‘Mama, I don’t feel good,’ Jayla said. ‘Everything’s turning white … mama … mama.’
Someone was happy to see each other Outside for fresh air yesterday
Jayla was again tested for heart problems, but still the tests came up with nothing. They told Abate to follow up with the monitor company.
Abate was on the phone with a representative from the heart monitor company when Jayla came over to her and said something that chilled her to the bone.
“I was on the phone with the LINQ people, trying to send a transmission, and I called Jayla over,” Abate said. “She said to me, ‘I just want you to know that I love you …'”
Abate feared that her baby girl was slipping away. Jayla was being airlifted to the hospital when the call came in from one of her doctors.
They finally knew what was causing her fainting spells.
Jayla was diagnosed with Sick Sinus Syndrome, a disorder that disrupts the heart’s natural pacemaker.
Doctors installed a pacemaker to help keep Jayla’s heart beating at regular intervals in June 2016. Sick Sinus Syndrome was causing her heart to stop beating altogether for several seconds before resuming pumping blood.
The pacemaker eliminated the fainting spells, but there were complications from the surgery. Jayla developed an infection and didn’t respond well to the antibiotics she was given.
After battling the infection for a couple of months, and having a new pacemaker fitted, she was finally able to resume a more normal life.
After 2 years of searching for a diagnosis, the family was grateful that Jayla’s health had been restored.
Today is Jaylas birthday happy birthday baby girl we love u9 YRS old already time please slow down ….
“Never take anything for granted,” Abate said. “You always see things happen to people, and you never think it’s gonna be you. Then it hits you—‘wow, we could have really lost our child here.’ It’s a very, very scary thing.”
Through a GoFundMe set up for Jayla and donations from various charities and organizations, Abate and her family have managed to get along. She hopes to one day repay the kindness shown to her in her time of need.
“They wrote us a $200 check, and I would love to get back on my feet to give back, to help them,” Abate said of the American Heart of Beauty Association.
Jayla is now 9 years old, and while she still faces many challenges as she grows, hopefully she’ll be able to live a long and happy life now the cause of her fainting spells is known. Abate encourages other parents to keep going if they face a similar situation.
“Don’t give up. Do whatever it takes to find out,” Abate told the Independent Journal Review. “As a mom, you know when something is not right—go with that, don’t second guess yourself. Stay positive and let your child know that you will not stop until you have answers.”