Leanne Chilton, triumphant author of “Seizure-Free: From Epilepsy to Brain Surgery, I Survived and You Can, Too!” is a proud survivor and has a wealth of wisdom to share.
“We can’t control the future,” she says. “But we can make every attempt to improve the quality of our lives.
With a seizure disorder, you are condemned to fearing a life without either freedom or control.
And after surviving brain surgery, you’ll still be questioned by society on your sanity and well-being.
You’ll have to work ten times as hard to prove that you can make it in this world, and you will have to overcome a lot of disbelief and rejection in the process.
After surgery, there is a very real transformation you have to go through.
Acceptance that you DID have epilepsy, perhaps denial that you have had brain surgery, and the realization that you’ve lived.
Sometimes the reality itself is difficult to grasp. Where you’ve come from and where you are now.
Seizure-free.” — Leanne Chilton
Of course, surgery isn’t for everyone.
However, more than 90% of patients who had surgery for drug-resistant epilepsy said it was worthwhile, when interviewed up to 20 years later.
“Overall, the great majority of patients — 92% of them — expressed satisfaction with undergoing epilepsy surgery,” says Vibhangini S. Wasade, M.D., a Henry Ford Hospital neurologist and lead author of the study.
“Following surgery, more patients were able to drive, and those with favorable seizure outcomes were more likely to be employed full-time and less likely to be taking antidepressant medication,” Dr. Wasade adds.
Just being able to drive is a joy!
And in the opinion of Marianna Spanaki MD., head for the Henry Ford Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, “surgery is underutilized.”
I think that’s a little over zealous, but she does have a good point.
However, surgery is more than just a procedure. And there’s plenty of room for doubt.
Some blame it on inertia, others call it fear. There are no guarantees. And everything is relative.
Seizure frequency may be reduced, but not eliminated.
Others may be disappointed by the only slight improvement or changes from the surgery.
After all the angst and anticipation, this may be the most bitter pill to swallow.
But for those who have intractable epilepsy, it may give them a literally new lease on life!
Like the man who had recurring seizures for 53 years…
After a botched surgery, he had the courage to try it again. (He really did his homework this time!)
Happily the second surgery was 100% successful. He is now seizure-free.
He drives, has a fulfilling job, can travel, visit, whenever he wants. He’s free. Free of epilepsy!
“Seizure freedom is a realistic goal,” said Nathan Fountain, MD, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Just ask the 90% of patients who had surgery for drug-resistant epilepsy. I bet their lives have changed!
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Other articles of interest:
New pill developed to suppress epilepsy seizures http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277338.php?tw
Brain Surgery – Questions to Prepare Yourself http://epilepsytalk.com/2012/04/12/brain-surgery-questions-to-prepare-yourself/
Epilepsy and Brain Surgery — The Basics http://epilepsytalk.com/2013/05/22/epilepsy-and-brain-surgery-the-basics-2/
Resources: Leanne Chilton