Published date: January 28, 2020
A special case calls for a special place. For 4-year-old Lyric Hammons and her family, that special place is Arkansas Children’s.
From birth, Lyric has kept her parents and doctors on their toes with a complex set of medical conditions. When Terra and Lamond Hammons’ newborn began having choking spells that caused her to turn blue, her parents were told by their local doctor the episodes were caused by amniotic fluid and would eventually pass.
But Lyric continued to struggle with breathing. Terra began taking notes and kept a video log of the baby’s symptoms. After Terra insisted to their doctor that something wasn’t right, the family was referred to the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) department at Arkansas Children’s.
“At Lyric’s first appointment, we were informed she had a variety of conditions affecting her breathing—dysphagia, laryngomalacia, stridor, and reflux,” says Terra. Since then, Lyric has seen eight departments at the hospital and is currently followed by five different specialties—ENT, pulmonary, urology, gastrointestinal and orthopedics.
Kids typically grow out of dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, and laryngomalacia, which is a softening of the tissues of the larynx and causes noisy breathing, in toddlerhood. But at four years old, Lyric is still having symptoms. “She’s just a special case,” says her mom.
At Arkansas Children’s, Terra feels heard. “The doctors do a good job of communicating. They take the time to listen and show they really care.”
“It’s been a journey for us and I don’t know exactly where it’s going to end, but we’re grateful for everything they have done for us,” says Terra. “I can never pay back what Arkansas Children’s has done for our family.”
Terra says the Arkansas Children’s team has been a resource in other ways as well, helping the family obtain financial assistance for Lyric’s medical expenses, and equipping them to teach Lyric sign language when her speech development was delayed.
Lyric’s condition continues to present special challenges, but thanks to the dedication of her care teams and the persistent advocacy of her mom, Terra says she has grown into a happy, active 4-year-old, best described as “sassy.”
“She loves to dance and sing,” says Terra with a chuckle. “She lives for a good tutu.”
As an Arkansas Children’s Ambassador family, Terra says she hopes to encourage other parents to persevere in the face of uncertainty.
“Don’t give up. Keep fighting. You have to be the voice for your child. Sometimes you’re not going to know what to do, but take it day by day. Get a good support system.
“At Arkansas Children’s, they care. They take the time and are thorough. They do what needs to be done to get your child the care they need. I trust them, hands down.”