Emilee Holloway is working hard to re-wire her brain and learn how to use her body and speak.
In September, the toddler had brain surgery to stop debilitating seizures when medications failed. Surgeons removed the portion of her brain causing the seizures and disconnected the rest of the left side, and her brain is re-routing itself to compensate for the loss of that left side.
"We have an appointment coming up soon, where Emilee will have an EEG," Emilee's mother Jennifer Holloway said. "If it comes back showing there has been no seizure activity, we will be able to take her off her last medication."
Emilee has taken as many as five different medications at one time in an effort to control her seizures. She has been seizure free since her surgery, approximately five months ago.
"Before the surgery, Emilee might take a few 20 minute naps a day and get three or four hours of sleep at night," Jennifer said. "We were exhausted, and so was she. Now, she can sleep up to eight to 10 hours at night."
Jennifer has said Emilee's whole demeanor changed after the surgery.
"She is happy all the time and is now discovering a whole new world," she said. "She is learning at such a fast pace. It really is remarkable."
Emilee now goes to therapy in Monroe four times a week. Each day of therapy consists of one hour of physical therapy, one hour of occupation therapy and one hour of speech therapy.
The right side of Emilee's body is a main focus of her therapy.
"She wears a leg brace and is learning modified sign language, because she can't move her right arm or hand that well," Jennifer said. "But, we are hopeful she will be able to walk. I want her to be able to do all that she can. I worry about her being wheelchair bound and where she will go to school. For now, we are working hard and praying."
Emilee is now learning to use a fork and develop her fine motor skills.
"She scribbled with a crayon for the first time the other day," Jennifer said. "It may sound trivial, but it was such a milestone for her."
"It's almost like having a brand new baby getting to watch all these things happening," Jennifer has said. "It's the small things that she can do now. It's unbelievable what the brain can do. It's a real-life miracle that we've all seen."
As this toddler continues to make progress, she seems to have a bright future.
Jennifer said support from friends, family and people she doesn't know has been important to the family's morale.
"The power of prayer carried all of us through this storm in our lives," she said. "Please continue to pray for Emilee. Although she is doing well, she has a long road ahead of her.
"We have insurance and her surgery is mostly paid for," Jennifer continued. "Where we are coming up short is the gas money to get to and from therapy. We spend a lot of time on the road."
A raffle fundraiser is being held for Emilee, and all funds raised will go towards medical bills and rehabilitation cost. The drawings will take place March 30. Tickets are $5 each.
1-Framed Shadow Box with "PRAYING FOR EMILEE" t-shirt, car decal, picture of Emilee, and a picture of Frank and Ashli Foster. All items in the shadow box are autographed by Frank Foster.
1-case of Trace Adkins Hightower sausage
1-whole cheesecake from Cheesecake Bistro
2-$10 gift certificates from Shooter's BBQ
1-$50 Visa gift card from Gibsland Bank
1-Oilfield Camo waterproof bag from Michael's Men's Store
1-$50 gift certificate from Fred Smith and Sons
1-$200 gift certificate to Haute' Couture Photography
1-gift certificate for a pair of jeans from The Vault (any size or style)
1-Scentsy warmer (Charlemagne) with 2 scent blocks from Scentsy consultant Jan Smith of Athens
1-gift certificate for from All About You Salon in Minden for a cut and style
1-$100 gift certificate from Milisa Pickett Photography
2-case knives from Homer Motor Supply
1-full service oil change from Presto Oil in Homer
1-$50 fuel card from Emerson Oil
1-$100 gift certificate from Cheesecake Bistro
1-custom shirt for hoodie from Ragamuffins in Springhill
Tickets can be purchased in Homer at Emerson Oil, Claiborne Animal, and Homer Loans and in Minden at Gibsland Bank on Homer Rd and The Vault.