Brain Surgeries

Brain Surgery #1

“Epilepsy patients become candidates for surgery when the effectiveness of their epilepsy medication diminishes greatly. Roughly 400,000 to 600,000 people in the United States have reached such a state, known as intractable epilepsy. The patients usually endure this chronic condition for decades before being referred for surgery, says study co-author Samuel Wiebe, a neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont.” 1

When I was in my senior year in high school my seizures were, gratefully, well- controlled. I didn’t feel as if I had epilepsy and I had always had episodes, especially after I’d pushed myself too hard. If someone had told me then that seizures would later start flaring up and be severe tonic-clonic, complex-partial, simplex-partial or status epilepticus and would become intractable, and that I would eventually need to have brain surgery to regain control, I would have looked at them in shock and said, ‘Come on, you’ve got to be crazy, that’ll never happen to me’.

Brain Surgery #2

“Since surgery, Tom has unfortunately continued to have seizures dating from the first of January in spite of religious adherence to medical schedules. He was maintained on Dilantin in “supertheraputic” doses initially following surgery, and Felbatol was begun in February 1994. We then attempted to decrease the Dilantin, at least to a “therapeutic range” in hopes that some of his tangential and mental control would improve. Seizures continued and twice since surgery he had to be admitted with incipient or actual status epilepticus. On another he broke his clavicle in a seizure. He has now lost his job. Thus, his situation had not significantly improved since surgery. As you can see, this is a major undertaking… I believe now is the time to attempt this drastic step, as Tom now has a major disability that prevents his functioning as he would like and as he should be capable of performing if the seizures can be improved.” 2

My primary physician agreed, gave his referral and 14 months after my first set of brain surgeries I had my second set in November of 1994. That was the last thing I’d sought – but I had no other choice – it was imperative that my seizures be controlled.

1 Nathan, Seppa, “Surgery for epilepsy outshines medication” 4 August 2001, 30 July 2006, <>

2 Corrie, M.D. , Stephen W., Director, Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. September 26, 1996