WALL — Meleah Plummer, a sophomore at Wall High School, has been hospitalized with a brain condition and is facing surgery.
What began as headaches and nausea during the holidays progressed into eye swelling and vomiting, causing her to be taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Meleah has since been diagnosed with cavernous malformation, a condition where clusters of blood vessels are formed within the brain. The condition can cause severe headaches, seizures and stroke-like symptoms.
“We need prayers. We want lots and lots of prayers,” said Meleah's mother, Angela.
Meleah's parents have set up a GoFundMe account for her medical costs.
Meleah was initially sent to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, where she had fluid drained from her brain to reduce swelling. It was determined that she suffered a hemorrhage in the middle of her brain from the mass.
Meleah has also struggled to eat and was given a feeding tube, along with a steroid, in an attempt to calm the nerves in her brain.
It's possible for those suffering from cavernous malformation to be asymptomatic for years. Meleah never had any other medical conditions or concerns, her mother said, describing her as active, athletic and “completely healthy.”
Meleah competes in volleyball, softball, basketball and track at Wall.
“That’s what’s hard for her right now,” Angela said. “She’s been laying in bed for six days now.”
As for 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, Meleah's GoFundMe had raised nearly $22,000 of the $50,000 goal. More than 200 people have donated.
“It’s a great feeling to know everybody that stepped up to help out don’t even really know us and are still doing it,” said Meleah’s father, Chris. “It says a lot about the community. There’s a lot of really great people out there.”
Meleah’s 13-year-old brother, Mason, actually experienced a similar ordeal in August after suffering a head injury while playing with his brothers, appearing incoherent and unable to talk or move.
Following an MRI, he was diagnosed with cavernous malformation. Due to the siblings both having the same condition, it appears to be hereditary. The family is set for testing next month.
“To have one [child] diagnosed was a hard thing to swallow and for us to really grasp and understand, and now to have a second in a much more critical state, it’s a lot to process,” Angela said.
With the help of Cook Children’s Medical Center, the family hopes to take Meleah to be treated by neurosurgeon Dr. Dale Matthew Swift, who specializes in vascular diseases at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Swift also treated Mason’s cavernous malformation last month, in which the family paid out of pocket, though they are now in the process of changing health insurance companies due to their current insurance being unable to cover treatment at the Dallas hospital.
“It is very hard to find people that have expertise in cavernous malformation and have done surgeries on these things,” Angela said.
While there are no medicines that can help cavernous malformation unless seizures become common, brain surgery may be a treatable option.
“We have such a strong family support and friend group that’s been praying with us on this journey,” Angela said. “We really want to share her story and get this out there because we just want an army praying for her.”
To donate and receive updates on Meleah’s condition, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/pray-for-meleah.
This article originally appeared on San Angelo Standard-Times: Wall sophomore Meleah Plummer hospitalized with brain condition