NJ Family's Holiday Wish After 214 Surgeries? To Be Together - KMSP-TV

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NJ Family's Holiday Wish After 214 Surgeries? To Be Together

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SEWELL, N.J. -

A New Jersey family wants nothing more than to be together for the holiday. They're apart right now as their teenage daughter is being treated in California for a medical condition.

The condition has caused her to undergo more than 200 brain surgeries and, as FOX 29's Thalia Perez reports, they always hope each one will be her last.

Megan Healy says she wants nothing other than her younger sister Michaela home and healthy this Christmas. Michaela suffers from hydrocephalus; most people know it as water on the brain. She's had 214 brain surgeries in her lifetime. In the last eight days alone, she's had five. Each time Michaela undergoes a surgery, it's to replace one or several of the seven shunts in her brain.

"It's a chronic illness that emotionally and financially as a parent you'll do anything to switch places with your kid," Megan said.

It's a typical night at the Healy household in New Jersey. Sisters Megan and Cameron are 'Face-timing" with their mom and Michaela who just came out of surgery this afternoon.

Michaela and her mother travel back and forth between their home in Sewell, New Jersey and the Children's Hospital Of Central California where she's seen by the same neurosurgeon she's had since infancy.

There's a great deal of uncertainty with Michaela's illness because at a moment's notice Michaela can feel sick and they will head back to California for surgery. Her dad says it's not easy.

"You can't walk around with your head down. You try to go to work every day and keep things as normal as you possibly can," Michael said.

There's no cure for hydrocephalus and Michaela's family says they accept the journey that's ahead of them. 

The family takes Michaela's illness in stride and try to make life as normal as possible for everyone. However, it's tough this holiday season having her and Mom so far away and not knowing if she will be able to return in time for Christmas. Dad says they spend on average $2500 roundtrip on expenses and have spent 70k over the last 3-years on medical expenses and incidentals. They have a great deal of support from their community and money raised from fundraisers covers most of the expenses.

For now, they're focusing on family time together this Christmas, as Michaela just landed in Philadelphia and will return to her family to be with them for the holidays.

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