Awaiting Rehab

Gabrielle is slowly improving bit by bit. She is growing more interactive and has been blowing kisses, waving bye-bye, and giving out high-fives. Her fever seems to be gone and the diarrhea has improved tremendously. She has been sleeping very poorly at night and is quite irritable in the wee hours of the morning. We’re not sure if her sleep cycles are just off or if it’s something else.

We were planning to come home to NC to begin rehab but what we learned yesterday is that once a person is discharged from the hospital it is almost impossible to get them readmitted for inpatient rehab. Therefore we have decided to have Gabrielle transferred to the rehab floor here at NYU for the next week while we work on lining up inpatient rehab somewhere closer to home. As of now, we know that ECU and Charlotte offer peds rehab for little people like Gabrielle. We are also looking into the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore which provides rehab for children recovering from hemispherectomies performed at Johns Hopkins. Once we settle on a facility we will then have Gabby “transferred” to avoid insurance glitches.

It will be difficult to move right into rehab without any break from the hospital way of life but I think it is definitely the best thing for Gabby. She needs at least 4 weeks of intensive rehab so she can begin to recover from one of the most aggressive brain surgeries performed. We continue to pray that God will lay out a plan for this next stage of recovery. We pray that Gabrielle will continue to move forward and make daily progress in the rehabilitation of her motor skills. We pray that God would continue to watch over our family as we work out the logistics of inpatient rehab, income, and the care of our 4 other children. God has already provided in so many amazing ways. Our families have been taking the very best care of Maddie, Gavin, Keagan, and Luke. They sound like they are happy and having so much fun we often wonder if they miss us.:) The apartment has been the perfect sanctuary to get a good night’s sleep and a refreshing shower. The doctors and nurses have been wonderful. Our friends and family have been so supportive. It really just amazes me how God has worked things out thus far.

For anyone wanting to learn more about hemispherectomy I came across the following blog about a girl named Jessie who recently had the same surgery as Gabby. Her parents just started the Hemispherectomy Foundation which has been in the news. There are also links to several other blogs that share the amazing stories of other children who have undergone hemispherectomy.

I hope to post some pictures of Ms. Gabby soon!


  1. Margaret says:

    Wow – she is resilient! She really sounds like she is doing well. Once again, you sound like you are making great decisions for her, and she is a lucky girl!

    I wish we lived closer – if you think the kids would like to spend some time in CA, then just let us know! We could definitely distract them for a while!

    We’re still thinking about you all the time! Mary Rose sees Gabrielle’s picture and always says, “Me, mom?”


  2. Nickie Stefanik says:

    i never knew you could be so young to have this surgery. you are so cute! i am a friend of Jessie Hall. i don’t know if you know her or not, but she had the same surgery as you. i hope you get better soon! i will pray for you in my prayers.

    nickie stefanik
    (8 years old – baltimore, md)

  3. What a beautiful little girl you have, and way to young to have to deal with such a radical surgery. I know, that you have made such a wise, courageous, and loving choice for Gabrielle that only a loving parent could make, but should never have to.

    She will recover wonderfully, as God watches over her. I believe with all my convictions that God has special plan for Hemispherectomy kids and their families.

    God Bless you and watch over Gabrille.

    Cris and Kristi Hall
    Parents of Jessie, R Hemi, on June 11

  4. Hey Kelly!

    I am so thankful that things are looking up for Gabby and your family! I know how hard it is to leave the rest of the family behind and what a strain that puts on the parents and the kids!

    It sounds as though you are making headway on the inpatient rehab placement. I am praying that things will fall into place easily for you and I know that you will be eagerly counting down those 4 weeks until you are finally able to return home and resume life as a family!

    I continue to offer that if there is anything that I can do to help with meals, your kids, or anything…please do not hesitate to ask! I have purposefully kept Alex’s walker and therapeutic bench here in case Gabrielle might need them! Wishing you all our best!


  5. I can’t believe Duff is allowing high-fives.

  6. Laura Williams says:

    Hello Kelly

    Praise God for getting you all through this stage. Praise Him for the surgery being complete and with little complications. Praising Him for your time there and the staff being so gracious and helpful. Praise God your other children are being so well cared for and protected.

    You see how all that training and love you have poured out on your children is reaping it’s effects. I am sure the families that are watching them are being equally blessed by having them:)

    Praying for the next step, Praying God shows you clearly where you need to be to help Gabrielle get back on her feet. Praying for your energy to hold up, wisdom and strength. Praying she recovers with no deficits or at least minimal ones.

    I also wanted to thank you so very much for your continued faith in sharing your journey with us. I can’t express to you how this has effected us on this end. Your time and efforts to keep us all informed is greatly appreciated. I know we are not there in our physical bodies but we are certainly walking this with you in our prayers and love. (I know we couldn’t imagine everything) but you are doing such a good job in helping us understand what you are all going through. Again, thanks so much for sharing this and growing in your faith before our very eyes:)

    We love you guys.


  7. Cindy & Mark Francis says:

    Hello All!

    We are praying all of you will be home soon. Please give Gabrielle a kiss for us and tell her we miss her. We know God is walking with you on this journey and it has been amazing to watch it all unfold from here.

    Upstreet isn’t the same with out the O’Melia kids! Give our love to all the ones spending quality time with grandparents and friends. I’m sure there will be lots of memories made during this time.

    Looking forward to your next update,
    Cindy, Mark, Anna & Jack

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