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July 1 is a very special day for me. In 2010, it was the day that I gave birth to my firstborn son, Preston. This year it ended up being a special day for another little boy close to my heart. One of our Mickie’s Miracles warriors, baby Dean, was scheduled to have a right frontal lobectomy on this same day.

In our efforts to raise global pediatric epilepsy awareness, we have been producing a documentary to highlight the challenges and solutions for the underserved pediatric epilepsy population. In doing so, we have interviewed some of the best neuroscientists, pediatric neurologists and warrior families over the past year.

Baby Dean Getting Surgery Mickie's MiraclesOn July 1, 2019 Mickie’s Miracles was granted access by CHOC Children’s Hospital, the neurosurgeon and our warrior family to film Dean’s surgery in the operating room. I struggled with mommy guilt for leaving my son on his 9th birthday. When I delicately shared this dilemma with Preston, he looked me and said, “Mommy, what if we had someone like you to be there the day sissy had her surgery? You need to go”. Sometimes the little ones in our lives give us the courage to take action. I planned a party to celebrate him on the 4th of July and in one week we pulled together the film crew and logistics to make it happen.

It was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life. I worried that I would have PTSD as I sometimes experience when I visit Mickie’s hospital. The smells and sounds release a flood of memories so traumatic it brings me to my knees. That was not what I experienced. I was able to comfort two incredible parents, Betty and Louis, on one of the scariest day of their lives. I knew this because I lived it. We walked with the family as they took Dean for his initial MRI and then said goodbye as they wheeled him into the operating room. We had two cameras, a go-pro and a phone capturing the entire surgery on time-lapse. It was fascinating to learn about the protocols and watch the orchestra of medical professionals work to remove the malformation in Dean’s brain that caused his devastating epilepsy.

I was so impressed by the wonderful working relationship everyone had, especially the neurosurgeon, Dr. Joffre Olaya and the pediatric epileptologst, Dr. Andrew Mower. Sadly, so many kiddos who would be eligible for this surgery won’t have this opportunity due to numerous barriers and lack of urgent access to pediatric epilepsy care in our country. We are working hard to overcome these obstacles for babies like Dean. Until then we will relish in Dean’s successful surgery and cheer him on in his recovery. He is walking and eating a little more each day to build his strength up. Most importantly, he has been SEIZURE FREE. I never knew the experience that almost broke me would give me the opportunity to love and support others when it was their turn. We will never stop fighting for seizure freedom for all.


If anything in Dean’s story spoke to you, let us know down in the comments! We LOVE to hear from our readers. Do you have a story to tell? Contact us!

Mickie’s Miracles is a 501c3 non-profit foundation for the education and awareness of pediatric epilepsy. We run on the donations and support of others, so if you have some time, please consider donating to our cause. Thank you.

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6 Responses

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