Welcome to Eric's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
As many of you know, Eric’s journey with epilepsy began when he was 8 years old. His condition was initially diagnosed as a seizure disorder until he was 12 years old when it was identified as epilepsy based on newer MRI technology.
Eric’s type of epilepsy which is referred to as refractory epilepsy is not controlled well by medication. Eric has spent the past 30 years exploring better treatment options which led us back to the University of Iowa Hospital three years ago.
We learned that there has been significant progress in the past 10 years in epilepsy research. Neurologists can better identify and categorize the type of epilepsy a person has and the treatment options that are most effective based on the type. Brain surgery to remove a specific part of the brain where the seizures originate is the most successful treatment when medication is not effective. For the past three years, Eric has been undergoing tests with Neurologists and other specialists to determine if brain surgery is an option for him based on the characteristics of his seizures. The test results indicated that he is a good candidate for brain surgery however additional data is needed before they can remove the area that is causing his seizures.
Eric underwent two week-long EEG tests last year where they glued probes to his head and stepped down his medication to invoke seizures. They were able to determine that Eric has two types of seizures. They were also able to pinpoint where one type of seizure originates (the focus) and that it is located in a part of the brain that can be removed without negative consequences. They were not able to identify the starting point or “focus” of the second type of seizure.
The next step is to find the focus of the second type of seizure. The second type of seizure is the more problematic seizure of his two types. These are called tonic-clonic (formerly called gran mal) seizures.
The purpose of today’s surgery was to implant several probes on both sides of Eric’s brain so that they can find the second focus point. He will be in ICU for a day or two following today’s long surgery. Once he is moved out of ICU, they will hook the probes up for monitoring and begin to step down his medication. The neurology team explained that it will likely take at least two weeks to get enough information on the second focus. Once they have enough information, they will let Eric know if the second focus is in a part of the brain that can be removed without negative consequences. There is an 80-90% chance that it will be removable.
The second surgery is tentatively scheduled for April 27th. The date may move depending on if they have enough data on the second focus. If we learn that the second focus can be removed then the second surgery will be to remove the probes and the specific area in the brain for both types of seizures.
I will continue to provide updates as we learn additional information. Thank you for your prayers and support. We appreciate it!