Toddler’s Journey to a Seizure-Free Life - Part 4 of 4
- Ella slowly rouses from anesthesia after surgery. She must be watched closely to monitor the effects of the surgery.
- Dr. Wendy Goodwin, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist, plays with Ella and her stuffed dog, Pugsley, that goes everywhere with her. Dr. Goodwin assesses Ella’s muscle mass and motor functions.
- Ella stands and practices walking six days after surgery.
- Ella is all smiles one month after surgery.
Ashley and Scott waited with friends and family as neurosurgeon Dr. Angela Price carefully removed parts of 4-year-old Ella’s brain with the hopes to eliminate the seizures.
Four hours later, Dr. Price emerged from the operating room with the words “it went beautifully.”
Ashley and Scott breathed a sigh of relief.
“We did not know how much Ella would lose from the surgery,” Ashley said. “For her to speak was a great thing. Recovery had its ups and downs. She sat up, said no and ate a couple of goldfish the night after surgery. She was fortunate not to have any swelling, seizures or require a shunt. She really wanted to sleep a lot and be held.”
Road to Recovery
After a week, Ella began acting like her spunky self.
“We were both excited and overjoyed like a kid at Christmas when Ella’s personality started to come back and she was saying her usual funny phrases and singing her songs,” Ashley said. “Her sisters, Chloe and Sofie, noticed differences immediately, too. They smiled and cheered every day we told them she hadn’t had a seizure. Chloe noticed how Ella would answer her questions much quicker and that she wasn’t drooling like before surgery.”
Ella left Children’s two weeks after surgery and spent 10 days at a rehab facility. By day three, she could walk and talk. After another three weeks in the rehab facility’s day therapy program, Ashley could see significant changes.
“She has truly amazed everyone with how quickly she bounced back from surgery and her new zest for life,” Ashley said. “She is now walking so much better, and at home she is free to roam on her own. She uses her right arm as a helper hand when eating and playing. The biggest change we have seen is her language. She is talking a lot more and trying to have conversations with us.”
As of today, Ella has not had a seizure since her surgery three months ago. She thrives in school and her outpatient therapy program. Follow-up appointments with neurologist Dr. Arnold will continue, and she will have an MRI on her one-year surgery anniversary.
“Our hopes and dreams are the same for all three of our daughters,” Ashley said. “We hope they are happy, healthy and live life to their full potential. For Ella specifically, we hope her life will be one without seizures and that she will continue to be as kind, funny and resilient as she has always been. Ella likes to kick the soccer ball around. I would love in the near future to sit on the sidelines on a Saturday morning and watch her playing in a soccer game.”
About Children's Epilepsy Program
Children’s has the largest pediatric epilepsy surgery program in Dallas. The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has more than 6,000 outpatient specialty visits every year. The multidisciplinary approach includes specialists who treat the family as a whole just like the Grimes experienced.
“Everyone went above and beyond to make Ella’s stay easier for her,” Ashley said. “They treated her like their own daughter and were there for us whenever we needed something. The doctors, nurses and techs were amazing as well as the IV team, child life specialists, therapists, greeters and cleaning crew. We were included in Ella’s care like we were part of the team, and they listened when we had concerns.”