Story of Healing

Selena Vazquez

Tangipahoa Parish


"As soon as she was diagnosed, she was transported to Children’s Hospital New Orleans where Selena and her family stayed for over a week."

Gladys Vasquez, grandmother to Selena Vasquez, used to have one prayer. That prayer was for someone to take care of Selena for the rest of her life. Her prayers seemed to have gotten answered repeatedly over the last few years.


In the first few months of Selena’s life, she was having some trouble gaining weight and kept spitting up her formula. When she was five months old, she was rushed to the hospital near her home in Ponchatoula, where she was diagnosed with a particular inborn error of metabolism called Methylmalonic Acidemia, a disorder in which the body cannot break down certain proteins and fats.


As soon as she was diagnosed, she was transported to Children’s Hospital New Orleans where Selena and her family stayed for over a week. Dr. Michael Marble and the Children’s Hospital Genetics Team, a geneticist that treated Selena and proceeded to provide her care when she was in and out of the hospital to ensure her acid and protein levels remained stable.


“At that time, it was recommended that she get a feeding tube” recalled Selena’s grandmother, Gladys. “Well, we were all so against it, but it was a challenge for Selena to take her medication and formula by mouth. Dr. Marble walked us through his recommendation and assured us this was the best avenue. It really turned out to be the best thing to happen for Selena. Dr. Marble was wonderful to us, and we were so thankful for everything he did for us.”


Like other genetic disorders, Methylmalonic Acidemia requires a strict, protein free diet. While that’s nearly impossible, Selena’s medication and her formula allow her to eat a limited amount of protein without severe impact.


Selena experienced numerous hospital stays until her dietician at Children’s was able to adjust her feeding formula from two protein packets to one. “Since then,” said Gladys, “Selena has had zero hospitalizations in 14 years.”


In meeting Dr. Marble and the genetics team at Children’s Hospital, Gladys’ prayers were answered, Selena’s family had found the proper care needed for Selena to thrive.


In March 2021, Selena, now 25 years old, married her husband, Joshua. Gladys shares in the utter joy she’s experienced in meeting her soulmate.


“He’s a doting husband,” shared Gladys. “He really cares for Selena and their wedding was one fit for royalty, it was so beautiful.”


Now, Selena is able to visit Dr. Jariya Upadia at Children’s Hospital’s clinic in Metairie for checkups when needed, but otherwise, she is very active. She loves to ride four-wheelers and is good with technology. Selena and her husband are preparing to start a new journey in restoring her great-grandmother’s house in the near future.


To learn more about the Children’s Hospital genetics team, click here.