Last summer, Caleb, 16, had surgery at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) to remove a large portion of the left frontal lobe of his brain. Caleb had lived with frequent epileptic seizures and their side effects, including extreme fatigue and difficulty concentrating, since middle school, and the team at CHoR believed he could be a good candidate for surgery to help control the seizures.
Caleb underwent testing in the hospital’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit to determine what deficits he might have after surgery based on the location and amount of abnormal brain tissue the neurosurgeon would have to remove. The team believed he would potentially have a small number of deficits post-surgery, and Caleb and his family weighed their options.
“Caleb was definitely a decision-maker in this process,” his mother, Jennifer, says. “We were told that the surgery was an 8 out of 10 in terms of difficulty, and they believed he had up to a 40% chance of being seizure-free after surgery. We took a few weeks to decide. In the end, Caleb decided he wanted to do whatever he could to stop the seizures.”
The complex surgery went well, but Caleb did have some setbacks in the days and weeks after. He had difficulty speaking for a few days due to the area of brain that needed to be resected, and he briefly experienced a condition known as apraxia. He also experienced mild weakness in his right side after surgery and worked for several months with physical and occupational therapists to regain his strength. A big fan of theater, Caleb celebrated one major milestone when he successfully performed in a school play six months after surgery and another one when his doctors signed off on getting his learner’s permit to drive.
“Today, Caleb has more energy and hasn’t had a seizure for more than a year,” Jennifer says. “We have been thrilled with the quality of care and the genuine connections that the CHOR team has made with our family.”