A Family’s Journey: From Uncontrollable Seizures to Finding Peace at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital
It was New Year’s Eve 2007 and the clock was about to strike midnight. Most people were out ringing in the new year, while Dr. Trevor Resnick was at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, patiently awaiting the arrival of the Grover family from Palm Coast, Florida. Brayden Grover, nearly 1 at the time had been suffering incessant and uncontrollable seizures.
“It was like something out of a movie, Dr. Resnick was there and he met us as the new year dawned. I was blown away,” Maureen Grover, Brayden’s mother said.
Brayden began experiencing seizures from birth. His earliest days were spent in an intensive care unit in Daytona Beach where he suffered multiple seizures. During his first year, the family visited various area experts trying to get help for little Brayden, whose seizures seemed only to get worse with time and attempts at treatment. By his first birthday, the little boy was experiencing 30 to 50 seizures a day, even as doctors juggled six or seven medications aimed at controlling the relentless episodes.
Understandably, Maureen wanted answers and after extensive research found Dr. Resnick, a pediatric neurologist at Nicklaus Children's. When another children’s hospital team acknowledged that Brayden's health challenges exceeded their expertise, Maureen said: "Send him to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital," a request that led to transport aboard Nicklaus Children's LifeFlight critical care transport helicopter and the new year's meeting with Dr. Resnick.
The Grover family met Dr. Resnick and a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
(PICU) and from that moment on, they knew they were in the right place.
“The nurse explained Brayden’s seizures to a T, as if she was having them herself and Dr. Resnick, he’s like our angel,” Maureen said. “We went from nearly losing hope, to going home with just two medications.” He has had no major seizures in the past three years. Now the little boy finally stands up and plays with his toys, something his mother feared would not be possible.
Lightning Strikes Twice: Baby Alaina Also Has Seizures
The Grovers wanted another child, and were worried that a new baby might also have seizures. They welcomed baby Alaina with high hopes in 2010, only to see her begin seizing from birth, just as Brayden had.
The family quickly derailed plans by the hospital where Alaina was born to send her to a neighboring children's hospital. Only Nicklaus Children's would do.
When they arrived, “he was there again,” Maureen said emotionally referring to Dr. Resnick. “Dr. Keith Meyer (pediatric intensivist) and Dr. Resnick are the two doctors that saved us."
Alaina's seizures proved more challenging than her brother's. The medical team at Nicklaus Children's tried several medications. When none worked, Alaina was identified as a candidate for vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) implantation surgery, involving a device resembling a pacemaker that is implanted to significantly reduce seizures.
It's been a year and a half since the 2011 procedure and Alaina has had no major seizures, giving the family its second happy ending. Her mother says that Alaina is practically seizure-free as the minor ones are virtually undetectable.
“When I was at my lowest, they never gave up. Nike Sitzman (physician assistant) and Dr. Resnick said, 'we're going to do this. She is going to get better and go home with you' and they were 100 percent right, ” Maureen said. “Dr. Meyer also created written directions to help our local hospitals treat Alaina, before she had the surgery.”
“I think the world of Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, Dr. Resnick and Dr. Meyer. They will never know how much they mean to our family."