Story of Healing
Chance and Christian Mitchell
St. James Parish
Chance Mitchell was about five years old when he had his first seizure at his family home in Gramercy, Louisiana. He was rushed to the local hospital and doctors ran multiple tests to figure out what could have happened to Chance, to no avail. The Mitchell family returned home thinking this must be a one-off occurrence. However, several years later in late 2019, Chance suffered another seizure when he was playing basketball. Then, he began to have them frequently.
“Chance was having seizures two or three times a week,” recalled his father, Ray. “There was one time that he had three or four in a 36-hour span.”
The Mitchells sought out care from another local hospital and thought that Chance’s condition was being well managed, but he continued to have frequent, more severe episodes. It was then that the Mitchells began considering seeking a second opinion.
“I was running into so many people that suggested we take Chance to Children’s Hospital New Orleans,” shared Ray. “In fact, Chance’s older brother, Christian, had teammates on his basketball team whose parents had other children treated at Children’s for similar conditions. I talked to my wife and we decided to take Chance to Children’s.”
Dr. Daniella Miller, a specialist in Child Neurology and Epilepsy at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, met with Chance and his family and began treating him for his frequent seizures. Ray shared that Dr. Miller simply re-calibrated the medication that Chance was already on, ensuring the dosage gradually increased as Chance’s body would allow without adverse reactions, or making the seizures worse.
“When this happened, we noticed a big difference,” said Ray. “Chance’s seizures became less frequent and less severe. As of November 2, it’s been one year since Chance had his last seizure, and I have to say, I’m ecstatic.”
While the medication has had an impact on Chance’s level of energy and the degree to which he can be active and play sports, he’s an average 13-year-old boy who will celebrate his 14th birthday in December!
Meanwhile, just as the Mitchells were experiencing some relief from Chance’s epilepsy, their older son Christian required healthcare from Children’s Hospital as well.
Last March, Christian was playing in a basketball tournament in Alabama when he tore his ACL muscle in his left knee. After visiting a local urgent care in Alabama and then his own doctor back home, the Mitchells, again, drove that very familiar route to Children’s Hospital for treatment.
Dr. Joseph Gonzales, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital, performed Christian’s surgery to repair the torn ligament in April. The surgery was successful, and Christian began physical therapy two weeks later. He’s still going to physical therapy three times a week, but recently received clearance from Dr. Gonzales to begin conditioning and playing HORSE with his brother, Chance.
“Dr. Gonzales answered all of our questions,” shared Ray. “He never seemed like he was in a rush to get to the next thing, or seemed impatient with us.”
Later this month, the Mitchells have another appointment with Dr. Gonzales and are hopeful that Christian, a 15-year-old freshman at St. James High, gets clearance to start practicing with his basketball team. He’s itching to get back on the court, shared his father, Ray.