‘She’s gone above and beyond:’ Orlando teen with cerebral palsy recovers from life-changing surgery

Family of 10 waited years for daughter to have selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery

A teenage triplet, and sibling among eight children, bravely faced a surgery that could one day help her walk for the first time.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A teenage triplet, and sibling among eight children, bravely faced a surgery that could one day help her walk for the first time.

It’s a surgery 14-year-old Ines Mitsouras, the firstborn of the Mitsouras family triplets, selected to receive in the face of her cerebral palsy (CP), a group of disorders that affect and weaken the muscles.

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She and her family moved from Pennsylvania to Central Florida and specifically looked for a home near Nemours Children’s Hospital to have access to physical and occupational therapists for their daughter, Ines, who was diagnosed with CP as a baby.

“Before the triplets, we had two, we decided to go for number three, so we got three, four and five,” her father Joseph Mitsouras said. “Her being a sibling of triplets, her being a sibling of seven others, you know, we do everything inclusively so that she doesn’t see herself differently, or that she feels different.”

Ines particularly enjoys one Orlando staple.

“I like going to the parks, like the theme parks, those are fun,” Ines Mitsouras said.

When Ines was diagnosed with CP at nine months old, her dad recalled searching for answers about how the condition would affect her long term. He said it has meant regular physical therapy, along with the use of her wheelchair.

Joseph Mitsouras remembered back to when they added inline skate lights to the front of her wheelchair for an added sparkle.

“We had the wheelchair vendor tell us, ‘I’ve never seen anybody go through the wheels, the tires so fast,’” Joseph Mitsouras said.

Then in January, Ines bravely went through what her dad called, a “progressive surgery” called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). The surgery was nearly six hours and required a 7-week stay in the hospital. He explained the family had waited years for Ines to have the SDR, and they were warned not to consider it a “miracle surgery” but rather an opportunity for her to hopefully walk one day.

“You only want what’s best for your kid. If she walks, if she doesn’t walk, you know, I’m happy she’s happy,” Joseph Mitsouras said.

Doctors at Nemours said Ines may see results from the surgery six months to a year post-op.

Artwork and beautiful photographs taken by Ines’s mother showcase the memories made during their hospital stay at Nemours.

“She’s gone above and beyond, which one doctor told me never take the answer no, and always, you know, you do your own research, and that’s what we’ve always done,” Joseph Mitsouras said.