Christy Creasy knew something was amiss when her daughter, Kaitlyn, began experiencing sinus problems and severe headaches. However, multiple doctor’s visits revealed nothing. “They kept saying it should go away by taking sinus medication,” Christy said. “Then when it didn’t, they said it was migraines that should go away. But it never did.”
Kaitlyn’s symptoms worsened. She grew lethargic, lost her appetite and lost weight. When Christy took Kaitlyn to the pediatrician for the fifth time, Kaitlyn was transferred to her local hospital, where blood work and a CAT scan confirmed three abscesses on her brain’s frontal lobe.
“One was the size of a golf ball,” Christy said. “She was getting worse by the minute and thankfully they made the call to send her on to Children’s of Alabama.”
Upon her arrival, Kaitlyn was admitted to Children’s intensive care unit as her heart rate dropped quickly. Kaitlyn’s doctor, pediatric neurosurgeon James Johnston, M.D., knew she needed surgery immediately. “While they were prepping her for surgery, she actually went comatose,” Christy said. “We had to just sit and wait and pray that the surgery would be a success.”
Johnston removed as much of the abscesses as possible, but a week later, an MRI showed the infection was growing back aggressively, requiring a second surgery. During the follow-up surgery, Johnston removed the sac that contained the largest abscess. “Yet at the same time, because of what Kaitlyn had to endure, he also warned us that she may never be able to retain information well any more and may even have to relearn how to do many things,” Christy said.
Post-surgery, Johnston put Kaitlyn on antibiotics for eight weeks to further rid her body of the abscesses, and follow-up MRIs revealed the infections were gone. While there is no guarantee the abscesses won’t return, Kaitlyn has worked hard to overcome every challenge she’s faced. She’s set to graduate 10th in her class and will enter the University of North Alabama as a sophomore in the fall of 2019. She already has 18 hours of college credits as part of a dual enrollment program at her high school. She plans to study nursing and eventually become a pediatric nurse at Children’s.
Kaitlyn has also returned to the sport she loves most – softball. For her academic and athletic achievements, she was honored in April 2019 with the Alabama High School Athletic Association Bryant-Jordan Award – a scholarship awarded annually to deserving high school seniors.
“Whatever she’s wanted to do, she’s done it,” Christy said. “She may have to work harder than others, but she does it. And I couldn’t be more grateful to Dr. Johnston and everyone at Children’s for the incredible care she received there. I remember in the midst of that terrible time, Dr. Johnston telling us he was going to take care of her and he did. I love Children’s. They gave me my baby back.”