The Only Doctor Kristy Needs
At one point, Kristy Mandigo was seeing 15 different specialists. Then
she met David Millett, M.D., Ph.D.
Now she's just seeing one.
Born with right sided hemiplegia and spastic cerebral palsy, Kristy Mandigo
was never expected to walk normal, talk normal or graduate from elementary
school. She didn’t learn how to read (conventionally) until she
was in junior high. She had a great memory, which hid many of her challenges.
At the age of 16 she developed seizure disorder. The first seizure was
so intense, she could only drink from a sippy cup for days. Her seizures
thereafter seemed to intensify with different side-affects.
Today, Kristy is a 34-year-old MBA with an engineering degree who works
at Raytheon. She is happily married and is the mother of two healthy young
boys – improbable feats Kristy shrugs off: The exceptional is nothing
new to her.
Even so, the accomplished and strong-willed Kristy says Dr. Millett stands
out as extraordinary.
Born with portions of brain matter missing, and a laundry list of other
ailments, Kristy has spent her whole life under the care of specialists
on two coasts, including several neurologists and a hematologist. In 2004,
another neurologist recommended Dr. Millett.
“I was seeing 15 different specialists. I basically quit them all,
and I just see Dr. Millett,” Kristy says. “He somehow knew
everything that was wrong with me, and he works with you. He never said,
‘Let me try to fix you.’ His approach is, ‘Let’s
see what you want, what you’re willing to take,’ and he started
The first thing Dr. Millett did was switch Kristy’s medication, which
took no small amount of courage on the doctor’s part.
“He had to convince an engineer that I was going to need to take
a different drug; you can bet I questioned the living daylights out of
him,” says Kristy, who decided to trust Dr. Millett because it became
immediately apparent that Dr. Millett trusted her.
“He doesn’t treat you like you’re not intelligent,”
she says. “He explains exactly what sector of the brain is having
an issue, and what each treatment will do. ‘Just trust me’
never comes out of his mouth.”
The medications have stabilized Kristy's seizures, and have given her
a life that may not be conventional, but is one that she and her family
are blessed with.
The Los Angeles-based Kristy says she was particularly impressed with how
doggedly Dr. Millett worked with her local obstetrician during her pregnancies
to coordinate doctors’ visits and minimize repetitive tests.
Working with Dr. Millett, Kristy has a new handle on her health and hopes
one day to become a motivational speaker and help others with multiple
disabilities to become advocates in the fight to end epilepsy and end
cerebral palsy. She is heavily involved in her company’s Diversity
boards and conducts outreach to End Epilepsy. She is also working on a
book about her life. Wherever her already incredible life journey takes
her, there is one thing she knows for sure: Dr. Millett will be a part of it.
“If he moved out of state, I would go to him anyway,” she says.
“He makes you feel like you’re the most important patient