Epilepsy Talk

TNS vs. VNS – NO SURGERY!

June 18, 2020
10 Comments

The first Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) was implanted in 1988, as a therapeutic option for medically intractable epilepsy, when elective epilepsy surgery was not appropriate.

As the number of implanted vagus nerve stimulators grows, so does the need to remove or revise the devices.

Which is a little tricky, because of the spiral stimulating electrodes, wrapped around the nerve. Especially if the VNS treatment has proven ineffective.

And of course, what goes in, must come out. Anyway you look at it, there’s more surgery involved.

The up side to having a VNS is better seizure control.

The down side is discomfort, headaches, temporary hoarseness and shortness of breath.


Auras without Seizures

June 15, 2020
58 Comments

Do any of these sensations sound familiar to you?

Suddenly you’re sweating, flushed, become pale or have goosebumps.

Your stomach feels queasy, like you’re going to puke.

There’s a foreboding or fear that something awful is about to happen.


CBT — When you feel that you’ve hit rock bottom…

June 13, 2020
7 Comments

Sara had a brain surgery gone wrong. She spent all of her savings and all of her resources on rehab. One year later, she went home, only to be able to toilet herself and say “dog”. She was lost.

Both physically and mentally. You might say she was “a basket case”.  

Sandy was in a near fatal car accident. She survived, but just barely. After her physical healing, she said she couldn’t put two sentences together.

Then she heard about CBT.


Epilepsy And Complementary Medicine…

June 11, 2020
9 Comments

Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) is just what it sounds like. Something to complement the AED regimen you’re already on. And perhaps take an extra step (with your doctor’s go-ahead) to alleviate seizures.

There are lots of alternatives, so I’ll touch on the most popular ones here. (Somehow, I don’t think you’re going to be turning to stones or amulets for relief!)


Your birthday contribution would mean so much to me…

June 8, 2020
24 Comments

For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern PA – EFEPA.

I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission is near and dear to my heart, and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me.


Brain Surgery Alternatives

June 7, 2020
18 Comments

“It’s not brain surgery.” And it doesn’t have to be.

There are a host of epilepsy procedures that are minimally invasive.

For example…


A New Life – From Epilepsy to Brain Surgery

June 4, 2020
30 Comments

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.”


Ode to Epilepsy

June 1, 2020
8 Comments

It strikes my head a hundred times…

It strikes my soul as many…

It strikes each thought I have…


12 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You…

May 29, 2020
13 Comments

Modern medicine can do miraculous things — but every test and treatment has a downside.

And your doctor may not disclose the dangers without prompting, a new survey finds.

Researchers surveyed 2,700 patients who’d recently decided whether or not to have surgery, take a medication, or undergo cancer screening.

Most reported their physician spent far more time talking up the benefits of each choice than explaining the risks.


Epilepsy and Brain Surgery — The Basics

May 27, 2020
20 Comments

Since there so many different types of brain surgeries — and questions — I decided to learn about them and share my findings with you.

Surgery is most commonly done when tests show that your seizures originate in a small, well-defined area of your brain that doesn’t interfere with vital functions like speech, language or hearing.

In these types of surgeries, your doctor removes the area of the brain that’s causing the seizures.

If your seizures originate in a part of your brain that can’t be removed, your doctor may recommend a different sort of surgery in which surgeons make a series of cuts in your brain.

These cuts are designed to prevent seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain.

Although many people continue to need some medication to help prevent seizures after successful surgery, you may be able to take fewer drugs and reduce your dosages.

The type of surgery used depends on the type of seizures and the area of the brain where the seizures start. The surgical options include:


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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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