GRAND FORKS: Jeana's wish
It's almost impossible to tell just by looking at four-year-old Jeana Wilde that she has struggled with health problems her entire life. Jeana, Grand Forks, is a vibrant, happy little girl who is living with trachea stenosis, which means her trac...
It's almost impossible to tell just by looking at four-year-old Jeana Wilde that she has struggled with health problems her entire life.
Jeana, Grand Forks, is a vibrant, happy little girl who is living with trachea stenosis, which means her trachea is too small and causes breathing problems and other related health issues. Jeana is small for her age, like most children suffering from the condition, and has been through 48 surgeries to try to correct her breathing problems. She is small because she has to use so much energy and calories just to breathe.
"This is all she knows," said Jeana's mom, Jane Pasley-Wilde. "She was born with it. She's used to being obstructed."
Jeana and her family have been granted a trip to Disney World through Wish Upon a Star and will leave today for their vacation. Jeana is the youngest of four children, with three older brothers.
"I'm going to Disney World!" the pink-clad four-year-old said excitedly as she worked on a Sesame Street puzzle. "I'm going to see the princesses!"
Jeana is active in dance at her grandmother's dance studio in Grand Forks, Nancy Pasley Ballet School. She twirled around the studio playroom, showing off her moves in pink ballet slippers.
Jeana spent two weeks in the intensive care unit at Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, after she was born. Doctors told Jeana's family shortly after she was born that her trachea was severely closed and would need operations. Jeana was on oxygen until she was nine months old.
Nature of surgery
She had her first surgery when she was two weeks old and had her first major surgery, a tracheal reconstruction, at Fairview Children's Hospital in Minneapolis when she was just five weeks old. Tracheal reconstruction has a 25 to 50 percent mortality rate and involves removing cartilage from Jeana's ribs and using it to widen her trachea. She has endured the surgery two more times since the first.
The family spent Christmas in 2003, Jeana's first, at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis. Pasley-Wilde and her husband, Corey Wilde, continue to take Jeana to Fairview in the city for all her operations.
Jeana just had a surgery Wednesday to clear out scar tissue from her past surgeries. It was the 42nd time she has had the procedure done, and she will most likely need to continue getting it.
Jeana showed no signs of recent surgery Saturday, playing with her pink purse and becoming increasingly concerned with the disappearance of her strawberry lipstick.
But the young, courageous girl does go through periods when her condition worsens.
"When she starts to get bad, she gets bad quickly," Pasley-Wilde said. "She has even said 'Mommy, I need to go to the doctor.' She hates the doctor."
Jeana's family and doctors have hoped her trachea would grow as she does. It has, with the exception of one portion that remains smaller, making her trachea look like an hourglass. A grafting procedure can be done in which the smaller portion is removed, and the other segments are connected. But the procedure is risky and might not be 100 percent effective.
"Corey and I really don't want to do it," Pasley-Wilde said. "But we can't wait for her to get worse. It needs to be done while she is healthy, so it will be easier for her to recover."
In the meantime, Jeana will continue to dance and enjoy the daily activities of a normal four-year-old. She loves talking and seems to have no problems with shyness.
"She's so social," Pasley-Wilde said. "She's just a social butterfly."
Jeana is thrilled about her trip to Disney World and says her favorite movies are Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty. She hopes to see all the princesses from those movies on her special trip.
"This trip is for the boys, too," Pasley-Wilde said. "They have had to miss out on so much," she said of her three sons, T.J. Goulet, 18, Colin Wilde, 10, and Hunter Wilde, 7.
The Wilde family will be in Florida for six days and seven nights. They have not been to Disney World before and are excited for the trip.
"She's doing so well," Pasley-Wilde said of her vivacious daughter. "She's going to be fine," she added as Jeana played with an Elmo puzzle on the floor, laughing with her brothers.
Reach Gibson at (701) 787-6754, or firstname.lastname@example.org .