Hermoinee Lorett bounded up the stairs without hesitation.
The 11-year-old girl was preparing for a news conference at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, where her family would celebrate, alongside her doctors, that Hermoinee hasn’t had a seizure in about 60 days.
And Friday marked the first time that Hermoinee ever got to wear makeup. The smiling girl with a flower in her hair and silver shoes on her feet had earned her close-up.
Hermoinee has epilepsy, and for most of her life, has had small seizures almost daily and suffered major seizures about once a year. A surgery to remove a piece of her temporal lobe in her brain changed that.
A team of medical professionals at The Children’s Hospital successfully performed epilepsy brain surgery in May, and Hermoinee’s seizures have stopped.
Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Amanda Yaun said Hermoinee’s seizures could come back, but overall, her prognosis looks good.
“Ideally, the seizures will not come back — there is a possibility, and sometimes just right next to where I did the surgery can start becoming a seizure starting point,” Yaun said. “In that case ... there is potential for more surgery if she needs it, but she has a really good chance of staying seizure-free, given how well the seizures and the recordings of the seizures and the MRI findings have all matched up.”
Surgery is not an option for every child with epilepsy. Sometimes, a child’s seizures can be treated with medication. Not Hermoinee, though.
No medication controlled Hermoinee’s seizures long enough to give her the qualify of life her parents wanted her to have.
At school, Hermoinee would learn something one day, and a seizure would come along and erase that day’s work. She couldn’t speak full sentences and had trouble voicing what she thought, wanted or needed.
“We all just look around and smile because we have all been at the worst with Hermoinee, and now we’re getting the best,” said her mother, Deena Lorett.
At Thursday’s news conference, Hermoinee’s father, Karl Lorett, smiled, cried a little and told the room he cannot wait to see how the boundaries around his daughter will continue to crumble.
“Up until now, we didn’t think there was any other hope,” he said. “Our best hope was to keep changing her meds as she changed, as she grew up, and her body changed to maybe get a hold of these seizures.”
Karl and Deena Lorett live near Ponca City with their eight children, seven of whom they’ve adopted.
Hermoinee was 3 when she came to live with the Loretts. The family has been through several serious seizures and trips to the emergency room with the girl.
Only now are they getting to see Hermoinee’s sense of humor and hear their daughter’s voice.
“These sentences started popping up, and we would just spin around and look at each other like there was another voice in the room that we had never heard before,” Deena Lorett said.
Hermoinee said she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Her dad does not hesitate — he believes she can and will do it, even though she also has cerebral palsy, which can sometimes affect a child’s IQ level, he said.
The Loretts have noticed that, since surgery, Hermoinee has gotten braver.
For example, about two weeks ago, Hermoinee swam underwater.
She came up and said that she could swim the butterfly, just like her siblings who are swimmers.
Her mother looked on, recognizing that her daughter had just connected several thoughts together. That wouldn’t have been possible before the surgery, she said.
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