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Meet My Daughter Gina Marie

Hello, my name is Gina Marie
I was born just before Christmas in 1978. It is believed that during a family holiday gathering, I was exposed to a young relative that had strep-throat and fever. I developed spinal meningitis with secondary hydrocphelus. At two weeks of age, I recieved a surgically implanted ventriculopertineal (VP) shunt.

I was admitted to the U.S. Navy base in Jacksonville, Florida, where I went through a series of spinal taps, blood work and x-rays. The base facility was not capable to handle my condition and was transferred to the Baptist Children's Hospital in downtown Jacksonville, where I received my first shunt. The surgeon reportedly held no good news or hope for my recovery. But, I proved the doctor wrong and I survived.

As I set up residency in the ICU, my Uncle Wayne was two floors below being treated for his bout with Cystic Fibrosis. My mom was able to visit each of us. I was eventually transferred to critical care and shared a room with a 7 year old who was in a comma. Several weeks pass and my meningitis came back. I was transferred to Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. My mom rode in the ambulance with me.

At Shands we met a neurosurgeon named Dr. Mickle. My mom calls him our God-sent angel. Dr. Mickle took care of me for many months while at Shands. He took out the shunt that Baptist Hospital had given me and gave me a brand new one. I finally got to go home when I was 8 months old. I was two weeks old when I last lay in my own crib.

When I was a baby with no hair, you could see the shunt by the buldge under my scalp. But, as my hair grew in, you can not see it. If I did not tell you about my VP implant, you would not know I have one.

My mother and I have decided it was time to dedicate a web page to address some of the misconceptions of those who receive VP shunts, and bring to light what can be expected in raising a child with this condition.

If we can help in answering any questions from a personal level, please feel free to contact me or my mother.
Remember, a VP shunt implant is a "lifetime thing". And you are not alone.

8 mos. old 18 yrs. old

Gina's Personal Website at Tripod
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Email: My Mom