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Published July 09, 2009, 11:09 AM

After 2nd life saving operation, Hope is back home

Buxton, ND (WDAY TV) - She has endured two recent life and death surgeries; a 12-year old Buxton, North Dakota girl who knows what courage and determination are all about. Tonight, Hope is back in Buxton after a 5-week stay in little rock Arkansas, where surgeons performed a rare operation to extend her life, the story from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Buxton, ND (WDAY TV) - She has endured two recent life and death surgeries; a 12-year old Buxton, North Dakota girl who knows what courage and determination are all about. We have been following the story of Hope Fuglesten the last 5-months. Tonight, Hope is back in Buxton after a 5-week stay in little rock Arkansas, where surgeons performed a rare operation to extend her life, the story from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand.

You know Hope Fuglesten is bouncing back when she takes on her five year old brother Tyler. Hope is recovering from her second life saving surgery in three months because of spina bifida. Hope's rib cage has not grown with her, leaving her unable to breathe normally.

“I feel great that I made it through 12 years.”

It is not just the space it is to improve the length of her life and the quality of her life. Her one chance is a surgeon on Little Rock who offered to install a titanium rib cage.

“Really glad I went through it because it was my only option or die, but I did not think about dying but living and going through the surgery and getting better.”

It will be sometime before hope and her family know if the new rib cage will make a dramatic change.

“It actually was a little painful, but it is a step forward.”

Better than advice some doctors gave months ago that hope go on make a wish and be kept comfortable.

“That we have hope now and when she made it through the second surgery we felt like we won the lottery.”

“I call her incredible Hope and not the incredible hulk.”

But she is looking forward to 6th grade, taking with her life lessons, friends, and family has learned from her.

“Life would not be the same without her. I think back to the doctors who told us she was a horrible mistake and she has been a wonderful gift.”

Hope is only the third child to receive the rare titanium rib cage. Little Rock's Children's Hospital is the only place doing this. Noticeable improvements from the procedure could take months.

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