Epilepsy Talk

A New Life — From Epilepsy to Brain Surgery | May 18, 2014

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

Should you?

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  https://epilepsytalk.com/2012/04/12/brain-surgery-questions-to-prepare-yourself/

Epilepsy and Brain Surgery — The Basics https://epilepsytalk.com/2013/05/22/epilepsy-and-brain-surgery-the-basics-2/

Resources: Leanne Chilton





  1. Daunting to fathom & yet, inspiring & empowering to know the potential possibility for freedom from Epilepsy.
    Thank for sharing the struggle & achievements of the very people who had lived through our ordeals.
    Great to see the light across the dark tunnel.


    Comment by Gerrie — May 18, 2014 @ 1:27 PM

    • It CAN happen. With a bit of courage and competence!

      Imagine, 90% of patients reporting satisfaction after brain surgery.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 18, 2014 @ 2:43 PM

  2. Good morning, yes surgery is a great option, please be sure that all cause of the seizure has been searched before having surgery. I am a true believer that those that have several silver fillings in there teeth are exposed to a daily level of mercury vapor that many times is the cause of the seizure activity. Have them all removed with proper methods and go through a detox program to help remove the mercury from your brain and other body organs. Remember that blood and urine tests on Mercury level does not tell the true story of the body burden of Mercury. Let me know if you want to know more. Dr. Donald D Perman DMD


    Comment by Dr. Donald D Perman — May 19, 2014 @ 10:58 AM

  3. Oh Dr. Perman,

    Thank you for advice and and reminding me about silver fillings and mercury.

    You just inspired me to write an article about the dangers of mercury, which many don’t know about.

    The only reason I know about it is because I wrote about Health and Wellness for 10+ years.

    I’d love to know more.

    Could you please send any additional information about mercury and silver fillings to pfj@pfjohnson.com.

    I will quote you and put you in as a resource. (See my other articles. (Or even this one.)

    A million thanks! And appreciation!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 19, 2014 @ 11:40 AM

  4. Her book sounds interesting. Not “new” by any means, but may grab a copy. Wish they had a Kindle edition.


    Comment by Travis — May 19, 2014 @ 5:47 PM

  5. Travis it’s really wonderful. A straight shooter, written from the heart.

    I think you’d enjoy it.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 19, 2014 @ 6:42 PM

  6. Hi, you know I am a proponent of brain surgery and I believe that if you are a candidate for it by all means proceed that way. I’m going on four and a half years seizure free! If only someone had told me about the possibility of surgery sooner, my life would have been so different.
    By the way, I have 50 years of seizures that could have been shortened. Surgery options have been around a long time, ypu just have to be informed.


    Comment by charlie — May 22, 2014 @ 2:37 PM

    • I agree with you Charlie my life would have turned right around it I had knowen this early on in life but you have to search for the right doctors to get informed of what is out there. All the best Charlie.


      Comment by Jill Whiting — June 16, 2014 @ 10:39 AM

  7. Of all people, you should know, after a botched first surgery.

    Ever since I’ve met you, I’ve admired your perserverence, optimism and attitude.

    Charlie, you are one of my lifetime heros.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 23, 2014 @ 10:43 AM

  8. Surgery I think it must to be the last option, first you can try a treatment, here’s my story: http://www.epilepsyc.com/story/getting-back-to-normal-1


    Comment by Daniel — May 28, 2014 @ 9:52 AM

  9. Daniel, what a wonderful story. Did you “grow out” of having seizures, how did your seizures end? (I’m not doubting you, there are plenty of others who have had the same happy experience.)

    You might find the following story interesting:

    Damaged Goods



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 28, 2014 @ 10:13 AM

  10. You mean I could have written a book about the experience?


    Comment by Bill Schwan — June 4, 2014 @ 6:46 PM

  11. You certainly could. But let me advise you, it’s a long and rocky road. Here’s some links from a friend of mine whose had three books published. They might prove useful.

    The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book | Mediashift | PBS

    The Self vs Traditional Publishing Debate Continues | Good E-Reader – ebook Reader and Digital Publishing News

    How to sell eBooks doing nothing

    Why self-publishing is becoming a popular alternative

    From the desk of Phylis Johnson: Proofreading, self-publishing, tips

    I must admit that I thought of it, but I just wasn’t ready to go through the hassles.

    But, if you’ve got a great story — GO FOR IT.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 4, 2014 @ 8:02 PM

  12. Rhetorical question, Phylis. I’m more a short story kind of person anyway. http://www.nicestories.com/unreg/s/story.php?id=3392


    Comment by Bill Schwan — June 4, 2014 @ 8:34 PM

  13. I think you’ve got something(s) here.

    But my experience in short stores is limited.

    One of our friends is a dynamic writer. His present book “Courier” is on Amazon’s top 500, he’s written books, articles, he’s an accomplished journalist etc.

    is the address of his blog and his email address is terry.irving@att.net

    He’s also a a copy editor. I think he can give you the BEST advice.

    Tell him your question came from me and was posted on https://epilepsytalk.com/2014/05/18/a-new-life-from-epilepsy-to-brain-surgery-2/


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 5, 2014 @ 12:43 PM

    • Just spoke to Terry Irving. He said you go to the top of his “tasks” list. Now that’s impressive!

      But you need to send him your email address also…


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 5, 2014 @ 2:11 PM

  14. I’ve heard more people saying that surgery should be considered more often than it is currently. I wonder if they also mean for those that are controlled with medications?

    Even those relatively well controlled will still have break thru seizures from time to time, and they can also be subject to the long term effects of some medications. Might surgery be a good option for them as well?

    I know back in the day they wouldn’t even consider it if a person was responding to meds..


    Comment by Doug — June 6, 2014 @ 11:45 PM

  15. Most specifically, the statement applies to those with uncontrolled seizures.

    In that case, Marianna Spanaki MD., head for the Henry Ford Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, said “surgery is underutilized.”


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 7, 2014 @ 9:48 AM

  16. I am just starting the testing and.hope to God that I can do it! My family is not.poaitive about it, but they have no idea what my life is about. They think they do everything now….. and I do nothing.


    Comment by Jackie moore — August 30, 2015 @ 8:54 AM

  17. I think it’s hard to be positive about the unknown. It’s scary.

    You just have to have thorough testing, make certain you have the right doctor and go from there.

    I have faith that you’ll make an intelligent decision, family support or not.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 30, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

  18. I had my left temporal lobe amygdalohippocampectomy done 9year ago. I’d had epilepsy from age 7 I was alright first fits stopped for a few years got my licence back, for driving I had lost it once before after I’d blacked out after I’d been free for a while but got so bad they did the op. Unfortunately I’m one of the small % that unfortunately have started taking fits again but aren’t half as bad as they used to be


    Comment by Clare Armstrong — July 12, 2017 @ 2:29 PM

    • I guess that’s sort of a good news, bad news scenario.

      Would you recommend the brain surgery to somebody else?


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 12, 2017 @ 3:43 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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