JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The future is looking promising for a First Coast girl who underwent two brain surgeries in a single day.
Mya Simmons is just a few weeks shy of her first birthday, and what a year she’s had.
Born with hemimegalencephaly, a condition where one side of her brain is abnormally larger than the other, Mya would have nearly 15 seizures per day her mom Miriam said. Doctors also diagnosed the little girl with craniosynostosis, a condition where the bones of the skull fuse too early, causing her head to be misshapen.
At 6-months-old, Mya was just 10 pounds. She needed two surgeries for two very different issues – a combination doctors had never seen before.
Miriam was shocked by how small Mya was when she was transported into the operating room in April of 2019.
“She might have been a quarter of – and it was a kids stretcher like it was so little,” she said.
Pediatric neurosurgeons Alexandra Beier and Nathan Ranalli took on the challenging operation, which lasted 13 hours.
“One incision in the scalp here, one incision in the scalp back here and work under the incision to remove the bone,” Ranalli said.
Once that was fixed, Dr. Beier was able to navigate Mya’s delicate young brain and disconnect the left side from the right. A process that would stop the seizures.
“The biggest effect is that when you stop the seizures, she can go back to developing like a normal infant,” Beier said.
In the four months since the surgery, Mya’s recovery has progressed as planned doctors say. She was able to pull herself up for the first time Friday, giving her mom, hope.
“I can’t wait to hear her speak, I can’t wait for that and to see her walk, to see what kind of friend she’s going to be, the kind of sister she’ll be,” Miriam said.