From Helpless to Helping Against Epilepsy

epilepsyThere are 2.2 million people in the U.S. with epilepsy, which causes seizures that can range from mild involuntary movements to uncontrollable convulsions. Most people don’t know what to do, and unintentionally may hurt the person having the seizure by providing the wrong kind of help.

Kevin Muldoon, 50, has epilepsy and suffered from seizures until he underwent brain surgery in 2007. A patient at the Rush Epilepsy Center, he is sharing his story to help people better understand the disease and what to do in response.

I want to raise epilepsy awareness. I was born with epilepsy, and I was diagnosed when I was 2 years old.

My mother told me I had my first seizure when I was six months old. Growing up, I would have as many as three seizures a day. They lasted five minutes at least. I would be tired afterward from all the shaking. It takes a lot out of you.

Continue reading

Patient at Rush: “My Life Has Changed Dramatically”

Every day clinicians and patients at Rush face moments of great challenge and great inspiration. During the holiday season, they’re sharing what they are thankful for and how their experiences at Rush have inspired them. 

By Tiffany Stone

When other kids were trying to get out of going to school, I was begging to go.

I was a teenager when I started having seizures, caused by scar tissue on my brain from a brain tumor I had as a baby. Throughout my teen years, I was having regular seizures, tremors and severe vomiting, and medications did not help. I spent my days hanging over trash cans sick and holding onto furniture because I was so dizzy. The seizures made me forgetful and disoriented so I was in a constant haze.

I was too sick to go to high school, so a teacher brought my schoolwork to the house. But I wanted to go to school so badly. After pleading with the school and my parents to let me go, they finally gave in one day. That day, I was talking to a group of girls at a lunch table and the next thing I remember, they were all staring at me and looking at each other uncomfortably. They all scooted back from the table and left me there by myself. It turns out I had a seizure; I was rocking back and forth and wasn’t responding to anything. They thought I was so weird and it scared them off. Not an easy thing to go through as a teenage girl!

Continue reading

Doctor: Epilepsy Patient ‘Now Has Her Life Back’

Every day clinicians and patients at Rush face moments of great challenge and great inspiration. During the holiday season, they’re sharing what they are thankful for and how their experiences at Rush have inspired them. 

By Marvin A. Rossi, MD, PhD

When clinicians in the past told my patient, Tiffany, that there was nothing more they could do for her, she and her family didn’t give up hope. Tiffany has been battling health issues since infancy. At 13 months she developed a brain tumor. She had brain surgery and radiation by age 5. Although the tumor was gone, the scarring from the surgery impaired her right-sided brain function, which started causing problems for her as a teenager. She started suffering through complex partial seizures — staring spells — and severe persistent vomiting. Anti-epileptic medications did not help her seizures and she had zero quality of life.

She came to Rush after doctors from large, well-established medical centers across the country told her there was nothing more they could do for her. But here at the Rush Epilepsy Center, we utilized cutting-edge diagnostic technologies and got to the root of her problem.

Continue reading