Gaurav Gupta, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the
medical school, inserted a catheter through an artery in
Christina's leg, guided it past her heart and through the
carotid artery in her neck, and positioned it at the site of the
Roychowdhury says. "If you pour it on your fingers, you
injected the glue, and we were able to shut the bleeding
pediatric neurosurgery, then led a
team that removed part of
Christina's skull to prevent fur-
ther damage as her brain tried to
heal. "The pressure from the
swelling can cause secondary
damage to additional areas of the
brain," says Dr. Tyagi. "We gave
her brain space."
last for nine days. When
Christina woke up in the pedi-
atric intensive care unit, her
mother says, "It was `Oh my
God--she recognizes me and she
can speak.' One of the first things
she asked for was her phone, so I
knew things were happening in
that brain, that this is my child and I'm getting her back."
she was in rehab hoping to recover the use of the left side
of her body. But she remembers very well what she now
considers the turning point in her recovery--just a month
after her stroke, when she began to walk.
began just days after she awakened. "I wanted to get out
by my birthday, August 31, and I made it, one day before."
skull was still missing. She stayed mostly indoors for a few
months, because "I didn't want to be seen that way." She
also set another deadline, this time for the medical team.
Christmas," Dr. Tyagi recalls. "It was very important to
tiges of the AVM, so it could never rupture and bleed again.
device called a Gamma Knife that destroys malignant cells
with radiation. It was Dr. Khan's job to demolish Christina's
Tyagi showed Dr. Khan which delicate structures of the
did the rest.
sit under the drying machines
with curlers in their hair," says
Dr. Tyagi. "Imagine that the
curlers can shoot. You choose
angles from which brain tissue
won't be damaged, and then
shoot multiple beams to deliver
a high dose to the spot you want
with submillimeter accuracy."
nate the abnormal vessels would
have produced significant com-
plications, because the risk of
damaging brain tissue would
have been too high. Now, she
only possible because we have a great team of subspecial-
ists, and the latest technology."
progressed even more, picking up where she had left off at
a dance studio. In June, she gave a stirring jazz dance recital.
what she learns at school. With cognitive therapy, howev-
er, that, too, is getting better. "I'm feeling great," Christina
says. "I think I've recovered really well."
it," says Dr. Tyagi. "It's the best reward you could ever ask