MODG Miracles: Joy Siena


Joy and my parents on the day of her release from the hospital.

Ginny Schlater, a MODG homeschool mom, has agreed to share the miraculous story of her daughter, Joy Siena. As an infant, Joy was diagnosed with a supposedly fatal case of bacterial meningitis. Despite the odds, Joy made a complete recovery, something the doctors could only explain as a miracle.

What were the events leading up to Joy’s hospitalization?
Joy was born in October and had a relatively peaceful labor and delivery. After a few days, she became increasingly uncomfortable when we would lay her down or move her to change her diaper. After a trip to the doctor, we just concluded she may be uncomfortable from something that happened in birth. When she was ten days old, we woke up to Joy with a 105 degree temperature. She was brought to the Children’s Hospital to be evaluated.

What did the doctors say about Joy’s condition?

Joy with the doctor.

When Joy was accessed by the doctors including lots of blood work and a spinal tap, she was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis. On top of that, the doctor explained based on her lab results, that she had one of the worst causes our hospital had seen. At this time, our Children’s Hospital was ranked the top 3 in the country. The doctor then explained how she would be moved to the ICU with a very slim chance of making it through the night. Basically, the lab results showed five different kinds of bacteria and a few viruses that had overtaken her body and they were preparing for Joy to go into a coma and then pass. Joy was baptized that night by my brother, Father Wilson. We sent out prayer requests begging for a miracle. That night Matt and I stayed with her and took turns rocking her and praying over her. Against all odds, she made it through the night. That next day, the doctor explained that all we could really do was watch and wait, and pray the medications would work.

How long was Joy’s hospital stay?

Joy and Dad.

We were originally told that Joy could spend months in the hospital and from there coming home with therapy. Joy spent over two weeks in the hospital. Each day she continued to surprise the doctors with her healing progress. Her body immediately responded to the medications and her lab results improved significantly.

How did Joy’s treatment continue at home?

Joy at home, with her picc line.

On the day Joy was discharged from the hospital, her extended family was waiting for her in the hospital to cheer her home. It was a very special moment. She continued IV antibiotics at home for two weeks. Then she was able to have her PICC line removed and follow up with the doctor.

How does Joy’s current condition compare to the doctor’s initial predictions?

The neurologist at her 3 month check up said based on her brain scan, Joy was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and had significant brain damage (from the bacteria) on her left side. She prepared us that Joy had a long road ahead of her. She told us that Joy will likely never crawl (much less walk), talk, or formulate thoughts – needing full time care. She was assigned a PT and OT therapist to come to the house weekly. At five months, Joy was miraculously crawling and moving. Then from there, she continues to meet every developmental milestone. Her therapist, Annie, marveled at her success and healing. At her 2 year neurologist appointment, the Doctor confirmed this was nothing short of a miracle. She does not need to follow up anymore with her specialists.

How did prayer affect Joy’s ordeal?

Prayer was the center of Joy’s story. When we first learned of her diagnosis, my husband reached out to extended family, close friends, prayer groups we have been involved with throughout the years, Damascus missionaries, and Chris Stefanic’s network. We had so many people praying for her locally and across the country! As a family, we were called into greater trust in God’s Will.

Picture of Ginny and Joy.

If you could take away that whole experience, would you? And why?
I wouldn’t change anything about Joy’s experience. The Lord moved mountains during that time in our marriage and family life. I am eternally grateful for the graces and blessings that flowed during that traumatic time. Also, Joy’s testimony of healing continues to be shared. Joy is naturally super joyful, and is known to energetically wave and smile at people in stores or at church. When people ask her her name, they usually respond with “oh that’s fitting” and then we are able to share how she is a miracle baby and the power of prayer.

How did you, and your family, grow during this time?

I would say our family grew so much during this time. We grew closer to one another. For starters, Joy’s story allowed us to experience first hand how precious life is and the importance of an active prayer life especially for when times get hard. Our marriage was glued around Jesus. The older kids took care of the younger kids, even though there was a helper in the house. The youngsters were comforted by their siblings. And the extended family and community supported us with so man prayers, words of encouragement, and meals. I can truly say, we were better off in the end. God really did bring so many blessings out of suffering!