Meet Kid Captain CC (Cecilia) Hoover
CC Hoover talks comfortably with doctors at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, going over her health concerns and how she wants things to progress. But she wasn’t as welcoming when she was first referred to the hospital at age 3.
“My daughter started this journey with an overwhelming fear of doctors, nurses, and the medical profession as a whole,” CC’s mother, Katie, recalls.
“The first time we went in, anytime a doctor would come in the room, CC would cry hysterically,” her father, Nic, adds. “This last time, she's sitting there having a full-on conversation with her doctor. It's because of the trust that Dr. (Gina) Lockwood and the team have built up with her.”
Adopted from China by the Urbandale, Iowa, couple, CC’s medical history before she was 15 months old was a bit of a mystery.
When Katie and her husband, Nic, tried unsuccessfully to potty train CC before she entered preschool, their central Iowa pediatrician referred them to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital’s pediatric urology team.
“We love that it's a teaching hospital,” Katie says. “We're both teachers. So knowing that every time we go, there are residents or there's somebody that they're teaching.”
CC was diagnosed with neurogenic bladder: “It just means her bladder doesn't communicate with her nervous system well,” Katie says.
Lockwood, a pediatric urologist, notes that CC also has anorectal malformation, with an incidence of 1 in every 5,000 births. Ten to 40 percent of children with that condition have neurogenic bladder, which is more common with conditions like spina bifida, but her exact condition is less common, she says.
“So she just was a different kind of a unique case that they all had to problem-solve,” Katie recalls, noting CC had several surgeries leading up to a major surgery in 2020. “Honestly, all of her surgeries that she had helped us get to the point where we're at.”
In early 2018, doctors rerouted her urethra and created a belly button stoma. Later that year, she had further bladder surgeries and a bladder leak was closed with another surgery in 2019.
The first time we went in, anytime a doctor would come in the room, CC would cry hysterically. This last time, she's sitting there having a full-on conversation with her doctor. It's because of the trust that Dr. (Gina) Lockwood and the team have built up with her.
CC suffered from recurring infections, and while the 2019 surgery helped resolve those, more intervention was needed.
“This is when Dr. Lockwood consulted more with her team and other urologists to create a plan,” Katie recalls. “In May 2020, the team decided to close her bladder neck completely and added layers between her bladder neck and bladder to ensure success. This plan has worked.”
“We continue to see Dr. Lockwood as needed for continued care and monitoring,” Katie adds. “This last visit, CC even started advocating for herself and asked Dr. Lockwood a few questions, which was so touching. CC was one of Dr. Lockwood’s first patients and we are so grateful of the timing. We feel like we are Dr. Lockwood’s only patient.”
Katie says communication between Dr. Lockwood and CC’s school nurse has been important, while some of the hospital’s residents and nurses have become like family.
“They communicate so well with each other,” Nic says. “It’s been a very special place for us.”
Now 8, CC loves school, and has participated in soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.
Her uncle, Mike Follett, is a former Hawkeye football player and Katie recalls a 2018 hospital stay during the Iowa-Nebraska football game, when the family participated in “The Wave” from the 12th floor.
“On that day, Mike and his children, along with CC's grandparents, CC's brother, and other family members were able to visit CC in the hospital and then go to the football game and wave back across to CC and us,” Katie says. “CC still talks about what a fun day that was.”