For the first four years of Ruby's life, she was a normal little girl who was developing on track, according to her physician and her parents, Luis and Rufina.
Shortly after Ruby’s fourth birthday, however, she began having seizures. Her parents took her to a hospital in California—where they were living at the time—but the cause of the seizures was unknown, and no treatment options were offered to the family.
“When we moved to Florida, we began seeing a neurologist,” says Luis. “Ruby had surgery, but it didn’t help. We were told this was the only thing that could be done for her, but I didn’t believe that. We went to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, in search of a better answer, and we found it. Now we have our daughter back.”
Before the surgery at Nicklaus Children's, Ruby wasn’t responding to anything or anyone after the seizures, making her parents afraid each time that she wouldn’t recover. Added to this fear was the fact that no one could tell Luis and Rufina why this was happening.
After Ruby’s first surgery she was put on medication, but she continued having seizures. In fact, before going to Miami Children’s she was having anywhere from 20 to 30 episodes daily, which terrified her parents and put Ruby’s life in danger.
Despite their continued disappointment, Ruby’s parents never quit. Physician after physician and hospital after hospital all offered a life for their daughter they wouldn’t accept. It’s this perseverance that led them to Nicklaus Children's.
In July of 2003, upon the family’s arrival at Nicklaus Children's, Michael Duchowny, MD, Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
, began searching for a way to help Ruby. After thorough examinations by the team and evaluating all options, it was decided a second surgery would be needed. While the thought of their daughter undergoing another brain surgery was not easy, after talking with neurosurgeon Glenn Morrison, MD, Luis and Rufina agreed.
Surgery involved removing one-third of the left part of the brain where the seizure activity was occurring. After the long, difficult surgery, Ruby came out safely—and she hasn’t had a seizure since.
“We trusted the medical team, so we didn’t hesitate,” says Luis. “We had been waiting for someone to tell us they could help, that they would heal our little girl. We finally found it at Nicklaus Children's. How do you say thank you for saving the life of your child?”
It’s a Beautiful Life
With Ruby seizure-free, she is now living as any 13-year-old would. She attends Kissimmee Middle School
, and is reading and retaining information—something she couldn’t do before.
“Nicklaus Children's was there for our family when no one else was,” says Luis. “I would like to tell all parents in a situation like ours to never give up hope. Continue looking and you will eventually find a way to make it better. Life has a way of giving you what you need, just when you think you can’t go any further. It’s a beautiful thing.”
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