Teen Girl Survives Leukemia and Brain Aneurysm

Teen Girl Survives Leukemia and Brain Aneurysm


>>Remember how we have done that one?>>One of Marissa’s favorite
activities is drawing. The figure she draws most often is the cross>>I think it’s a symbol of faith.>>That faith and the expertise
of her caregivers at American Family Children’s
Hospital has helped 14-year-old Marissa and her family survive two
life threatening illnesses. The first happened at age 6, when
Marissa was diagnosed with leukemia.>>It was awful. It was heartbreaking.>>I don’t remember if my mom or I like
grabbed a piece of my hair and it just came out in clumps so — and that was
hard for me, my mom and my grandpa.>>Marissa went through two and a half years of
treatment at American Family Children’s Hospital and today, she’s cancer free; but in June
of 2009, another life threatening event.>>I just remember I woke up
from dead sleep and told my mom that I had a excruciating
headache and it wouldn’t go away.>>Darla took Marissa to a local hospital
but after a seizure, she was med flighted to American Family Children’s Hospital. Darla didn’t know it but her
daughter had a grade 5 brain aneurysm.>>Only 5% survive the grade 5 [inaudible]
hemorrhage with moderate or minor disabilities so when it happens, the grade 5 is very fatal.>>Neurosurgeons Dr. Mustafa Baskaya and
[inaudible], along with their team were ready to try and save Marissa’s life but in a matter
of minutes, her prognosis got even worse.>>Then as I leaned down to kiss her, she coded. And they said now she’s got
a 2% chance of surviving. So he gave us the opportunity to — we could
either go in and kiss her and say goodbye or we — they could take her right then
and they had to have a decision right now.>>This is a heroic attempt. If you don’t do anything,
for sure she’s going to die. If you do it and if you do it right, she
may survive but until we try, we won’t know.>>She’d already beat cancer and
I just — I knew she could do it. What my other option was
to go in and say goodbye.>>Darla put her faith in a surgical team
and then prayed for a positive outcome. Normally a procedure like
Marissa’s takes several hours but her condition gave the team
just minutes to save her life.>>Everything was done within 30, 40 minutes. Everybody was doing their part without
talking, OR nurses, OR scrub tech, us, one of us making the incision,
other one was doing something else. All I remember opening the skull, opening
the membrane, I just grab [inaudible] clip and [inaudible] clip and retract the
brain [inaudible] can suck the blood from the brainstem and that suddenly
brought all her functions back.>>It was supposed to be a three, four hour
surgery and they come back both of them walking down the hall and just, you know, not upset, not
anything, they’re just walking down the hall, smiles on their face and
said that she’s doing good. I think we’re okay. We don’t know how she’s going to turn out. We don’t know if she’ll ever walk, talk.>>And in two days, she start
moving her arms and her legs and day three, she start following commands.>>And they’re my heroes. [ Music ] It’s been almost five years since
Marissa’s lifesaving surgery. On her road back, she’s had to
relearn to talk and walk again. Marissa still has a few cognitive issues
like short term memory loss but in most ways, she’s a typical 14-year-old
high school freshman. She hopes to someday work in the medical field.>>I want to give people courage,
strength and a chance to believe, I guess.>>There’s a huge calling for that girl or she
would have never survived these two things. [ Music ]

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