UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences News

Posts Tagged ‘premature’

Medicinal Chemistry grad student is inspired by personal medical journey

By Emily Esakov 

Emily Esakov’s parents with her sister, Ellen Esakov, at one month old

Emily’s parents, Sandra and David Esakov, with her sister, Ellen, at one month old

Photo Emily Esakov

Emily Esakov at one month old with her father, David

We were born at 26 weeks gestation on Dec. 11, 1989. I weighed 800grams (1 pound 12 ounces); my sister Ellen weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces, and my brother David weighed two pounds, two ounces. Our parents enrolled us in a clinical trial using a synthetic surfactant to help our lungs mature, which ultimately led to our survival.

I was anemic and had multiple lung diseases due to severe prematurity. I experienced episodes of lung collapse as well as a small hole in my heart (PFO) that closed with age (although I still have a murmur). I stayed in Akron Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit for about three months and was discharged with my siblings on March 17, 1990.

Because we were premature, our development was delayed, not walking or speaking until around two years of age, but we had all caught up by the time we were in first grade.

Emily Esakov was the college's Student of the Month for September 2015.

Emily Esakov was the college’s Student of the Month for September 2015.

I grew up aware that our situation was unique, but it wasn’t until college that I truly understood the impact of the medical experiences my siblings and I had and how the odds had been stacked against us. Then, I really understood the miracle of us all being healthy adults today.

My pursuit of a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry and a career in biomedical research is, in part, to help others fight against the odds stacked against them, just as the doctors and medical team did for my siblings and me.