Lexy Johnson, photoIn their words

Rebecca Johnson 
Monona, Iowa

Our first experience with University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital was when our daughter, Lexy, was airlifted from our local hospital and later admitted for 11 days. 

Lexy had struggled with headaches for as long as we can remember. A few months before she was admitted, those headaches had become a daily part of her life, and she had started to have nausea and vomiting, usually a few times each week. 

What brought us to UI Stead Family Children's Hospital is a night we will never forget. Lexy was getting ready to perform with her school dance team at a local community event. We had received a phone call from Lexy's friend that Lexy wasn't feeling good, and she was complaining of numbness in her hands and that she couldn't see out of her right eye. We were just a few blocks away as we were going to watch her perform with her dance team. When we arrived, we found Lexy sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, and she looked very disoriented. We immediately took her to the local emergency room. That is when things started to set in with us that Lexy was sick and needed immediate help. 

Lexy could respond, but not with the right information. She didn't know her name, she gave her birthdate scrambled, and she couldn't do simple things like pulling or pushing. After the CT results came back, we were told that Lexy had a tumor on the right side of her brain, and a build-up of fluid and pressure that required immediate attention. Lexy was then airlifted to UI Stead Family Children's Hospital. 

We were fortunate enough to see Lexy before her first surgery, where we were told that they needed to place a drain in her head to relieve the pressure, which was causing Lexy to have the headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Lexy had hydrocephalus because of her brain tumor. We had no time to research what was going on with Lexy, and with that, we put our trust in the pediatric neurosurgery team at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital. 

After surgery, Lexy was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). And let me tell you, that team is amazing! They are attentive, and very caring. Lexy underwent a second surgery to remove her brain tumor 48 hours after her first surgery. We met Saul Wilson, MD, who explained the surgery to us, and again, we trusted him with our daughter and he took great care of her. It was about 10 1/2 hours from the time Lexy left us for surgery until we were able to see her again. The nurses did a wonderful job of either calling us or stopping in our room to give us regular updates. 

After Lexy's surgery, she continued to stay in the PICU for about a week, which is where we learned the results of Lexy's biopsy. Her tumor was a pilocytic astrocytoma, and we were told the surgery was a success, with full removal of the tumor. Lexy has had no effects from the surgery, and has been recovering well at home. We can't thank Dr. Wilson enough for giving Lexy her quality of life back. She is looking forward to being able to dance and play volleyball again. 

We had nothing but top-notch care at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital. We are very fortunate to have a quality, health care facility like this in our state. 

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