CRESTVIEW — Tremaritus Ewing is cautiously hopeful her 8-year-old daughter’s life is about to change.
Next month, the single mother and second-grader will travel to Miami Children’s Hospital to determine whether Jamicha is a candidate for brain surgery to correct her epilepsy.
If the week-long evaluation determines she is, Tremaritus anticipates the doctors will perform surgery immediately because Jamicha’s seizures are becoming more frequent and local doctors are out of options.
“Hopefully, she’ll be able to live a little bit more normally,” Tremaritus said. “Hopefully.”
The trouble is, Tremaritus is not sure how she and her daughter will get to South Florida.
Her vehicle, which doesn’t have air-conditioning or working windows, barely makes it to doctor’s appointments in Gulf Breeze.
She knows Miami is out of the question, but she needs to get there for her daughter.
Jamicha suffered her first seizure when she was 4 at her voluntary pre-kindergarten program.
When school officials called Tremaritus and said Jamicha was in an ambulance, she couldn’t process it.
“I was, ‘No, you’ve got the wrong child,’ ” Tremaritus recalled recently as she sat out in her front yard with Jamicha and her other two daughters.
At the hospital, doctors said it was probably a one-time occurrence and that it wouldn’t happen again. The family made it through Christmas break without incident, but Jamicha suffered a second seizure after she returned to school.
At that point, doctors diagnosed her with epilepsy.
The diagnosis was terrifying to Tremaritus, but she said she knew she had to be strong for her daughter.
“She’ll be looking at you one minute and the next minute, she’s gone,” Tremaritus said. “You really can’t sleep ever, trying to listen at night to see if she’s having one.”
Most days Jamicha can dress herself without a problem, but every once in awhile she’ll come out with her clothes on backwards. Doctors told Tremaritus that means she likely had suffered another seizure.
When medication alone didn’t work, Tremaritus accepted a doctor’s recommendation to implant a Vagus Nerve Stimulator underneath Jamicha’s skin near her collarbone.
The device is used to send electrical signals to Jamicha’s brain. The doctors said it would lessen, if not eliminate, her seizures, Tremaritus said.
But despite the magnet on her wrist that can be used to jump-start the device if a seizure begins, multiple trips to the hospital last week following seizures at school have brought the family to the last option: brain surgery.
For her part, Jamicha is excited about going to the hospital. They’ve been there once before and dogs visited her there.
“I like the hospital,” she said with a smile.
Tremaritus is determined to find a way to get there for their April 22 appointment, but she’s not certain how.
They have the lodging situation handled and Tremaritus’ two sisters will watch her other daughters. The only issue left is how they get there.
Jamicha hopes they can fly on a plane because she’s never been on one. Tremaritus doesn’t have the money for a plane ticket or even a bus ticket, but she’s not backing down; it’s her daughter she’s fighting for.
Until a travel solution can be found, she’s going to keep giving her daughter her medication and constantly keep her phone on hand in case Jamicha has another seizure.
Above all, she will stay positive.
“I try to let her see me smile a lot of the time,” Tremaritus said.
WANT TO HELP?
Contact Tremaritus Ewing at 612-2233.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Katie Tammen at 850-315-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KatieTnwfdn.