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March 19, 2021

Her Sons’ Rare Disease Put Rosa into Caregiving Mode

Rosa Garza Victoria 781 February 2021 Photo

Caregiving comes naturally for Rosa Garza. Long before she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead® of Victoria, Texas, she was in 24/7 caregiving mode for many years with two of her sons.

Rosa’s sons had the rare Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a severe form of muscular dystrophy that affects about 1of every 5,000 boys. Muscle weakness usually begins around age 4 and worsens quickly, with muscle loss typically occurring first in the thighs and pelvis followed by the arms. “Usually it is a disease that’s fatal by ages 16 to 18. Because of their strong will and drive to live life to the fullest, they pushed on as long as they could. My first son died at age 27 in 2007, and the second one passed away at age 29 in 2008,” Rosa said.

“I learned a lot as a family caregiver because as time goes on, you need to do everything for them. They were bedridden and had to have 24/7 care. DMD did not bother them. Wheelchairs were their legs. I wanted them to be as happy as possible. They chose to be positive and not live in fear and depression. My middle son was so into football, and our fall Friday nights were special at the high school games.”

With the record-setting October 1998 flooding that caused more than $1.19 billion in damage and killed 31 people in south and southwest Texas, Rosa had to temporarily put her sons in a nursing home to keep them safe. “Of course,” Rosa said, “it’s not where we wanted them to be. I told myself, ‘I’ll never do that again.’ I wanted to take care of them and could not wait to get them back after the flooding settled down. Even with managing my sons’ situations, I had a fulltime job. I just kept going. I am a faith-based person who believes God gives me the strength. I believe my life is in God’s hands.”

After her sons passed away, Rosa worked at a home-health position despite the fact she might possibly see another death – perhaps that of a hospice client. “Bottom line is that I love taking care of people. I also was a family caregiver for my dad, who had cancer, by helping my mom. My cousin had severe diabetes, and she knew she could call me any time for help. I also took care of a little lady who was a friend but not family. I’ve been there for the elderly. That’s why I like working as a Home Instead CAREGiver,” Rosa said.

All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (361) 433-0330 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.