My Doernbecher Story

Miriam's Story

Today marks one year since my 10-year-old daughter called from school. She had been throwing up, and the headache that had plagued her for the last several weeks was getting worse. We took her to see her primary care doctor that day. He gave her a thorough neurological screening, but she passed with no problems. We filled a prescription for migraine medicine and hoped for the best, but it didn't even touch the pain. That was on a Friday. By the following Monday, Miriam was even worse. Her doctor and his nurse arranged for an MRI at the hospital. It showed what we feared most: a tumor in her cerebellum and swelling throughout her brain. Within a few hours we were on the road to Portland (a four-hour drive from our home in Southern Oregon) and to Doernbecher Children's Hospital. By that night, Miriam had a bed in the Pediatric ICU and we had a consultation with pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Selden, to whom I will always be grateful for saving my daughter's life. Dr. Selden performed surgery on Miriam the very next morning--fewer than 24 hours after her MRI. There is nothing worse than sending your child into surgery, watching the operating room doors close and not knowing if it's the last time you'll see your child alive. But our story has a very happy ending. Dr. Selden found that Miriam had a hemangioma in her cerebellum. It had started swelling, perhaps because of a blood clot. He explained to us that this is relatively rare in pediatric patients, and we felt very lucky that he knew what he'd found as soon as he'd seen it. Dr. Selden was able to remove the whole tumor, and Miriam did not have to have any further treatment. At her follow-up MRI a few months later, Dr. Selden saw no evidence of any further tumor. In fact, he told us, it would probably take another neurosurgeon to know she'd ever had surgery! We are so grateful to Doernbecher. To the staff and nurses at Doernbecher, and to Dr. Selden, we can only say: Thank you for saving the life of our daughter.

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