Susana's Journey

By Susana Hernandez

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On Nov. 4, 2004, Susana was sent home from school with uncontrollable arm movement. Shortly after, she began to have a seizure. We rushed her to Riverton Hospital, where they began a series of tests; nothing was found. Then we were sent to Children’s Hospital, where the neurologist discovered Susana had suffered a stroke. She was only 10 years old! After an angiogram, they concluded she had moyamoya disease. That’s when Dr. Richard Ellenbogen took over and scheduled her for surgery on Dec. 16.

The doctor and his team performed surgery on the left side of Susana’s head, where they rerouted the main arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain. Thanks to the great skill and expertise of Dr. Ellenbogen, she came through with flying colors. You can’t even see the scar under her hair anymore. Susana has been in both physical and speech therapies ever since. In the past year, she has regained 95 percent of movement in her right side (the side affected by the stroke). She is continuing her speech therapy and is improving all the time. The doctors may operate on the right side of her head but haven’t made a definite decision yet.

What does Children's mean to you, your child and your family?

Children’s Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the world. I am grateful to be one of the many families they’ve helped. Regardless of my ability to pay, they never turned us away. Thanks to the staff, doctors, nurses, and all the contributors and supporters of the Children’s Miracle Network. The wonderful thing is, no matter how sick children may get, Children’s has many ways to keep them happy and positive. I know my daughter loved the playroom with its arts and crafts and games to play with, and of course, who can overlook those funny clowns? Also, I can’t fail to thank all of the great volunteers who always have time to be with the kids.

Thanks to the Children’s staff — you have done a wonderful job in giving me my Susana back! I will never be able to repay you for the joy and happiness you have all brought back into our lives. There are no words that can properly thank you, and there is not enough money in the world to repay you. I love you all! THANK YOU!

Love, Rosa Soto