How epilepsy care at CHoR changed Lexy’s life
Lexy Solis, now 19, was diagnosed with epilepsy following her first grand mal seizure in first grade. She began seeing a neurologist and taking multiple medications, but the side effects were challenging and seizures continued. The Solis family knew there must be a different path – one they’d eventually find at CHoR.
The right care from CHoR’s Level 4 Epilepsy Center
“When Lexy was in 8th grade, we were unable to keep her seizures at bay, resulting in lots of missed school and frustration for all of us,” said mom, Shari Solis. “A friend who worked in the medical field gave us Dr. Larry Morton’s name as she knew doctors who had worked with him. After our first appointment meeting Dr. Morton, we knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be.”
Dr. Morton’s first steps included an extensive review of Lexy’s medical history and ordering a series of further tests to understand the full picture.
“Approximately one-third of patients with epilepsy have seizures that fail to respond to drug therapy. Risk of death in children with uncontrolled seizures, like Lexy’s, is more than five times greater than in the general population in the first 15 to 20 years after diagnosis,” said Dr. Morton.
Epilepsy can be a complicated condition. Determining which non-medicine treatment is best involves an experienced team that can collaborate to share knowledge and expertise. At CHoR, this includes our physicians and nurse practitioners in neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology and neuropsychology. It also involves our dedicated epilepsy monitoring unit where technicians and nurses are experienced in recognition of seizures, testing in the midst of seizure and knowing when urgent care is necessary.
Epilepsy surgery the best choice for Lexy
To give Lexy the best shot at a healthy future – and to improve what had become daily seizures and her overall quality of life – the team recommended surgery.
“Often, we can determine after someone has been on medications and is still experiencing seizures, there is very little chance of them becoming seizure-free with more medication trials. The more medicines that don’t work, the less likely others will be of benefit in the future. All too often surgical treatment of epilepsy is considered a ‘treatment of last resort,’ but this shouldn’t be the case,” said Dr. Morton.
The Solis family was grateful to learn that their daughter would be in wonderful hands with Dr. Gary Tye, who specializes in epilepsy surgery.
“Dr. Tye and Dr. Morton, to our family, are a superhero team. We could tell that they had worked together MANY times and having them go back and forth explaining the surgery and what to expect before, during and after made the decision to proceed with the first surgery easy,” said Shari.
That first surgery was actually the next important step in the assessment and planning for her overall care.
“Lexy underwent a left craniotomy to remove part of the skull and place monitoring grids directly over her brain’s surface. We then replaced the bone and she went to the EMU for monitoring. Once Dr. Morton had localized the seizures, we went back to the operating room to remove the grids and the seizure foci Dr. Morton identified,” said Dr. Tye.
Because Lexy had experienced a stroke in utero affecting the right side of her body, the specialized assessment in the EMU was also essential in monitoring the injured part of her brain and ensuring that surgery wouldn’t impact the areas that still had function, producing further deficit. The delicate combination of thorough assessment, intricate surgeries and specialized monitoring was something Lexy could not experience prior to coming to CHoR. The EMU also provides care following surgery to ensure safe recovery. Lexy and Shari grew especially fond of the nurses in the EMU during their five visits for EEGs and post-surgical care.
Seizures no longer the center of Lexy’s life
While the hope was for complete seizure control, given the specifics of Lexy’s medical history, significant reduction and improvement in quality of life were more likely – which has been exactly the outcome. With seizures fewer in frequency and intensity, she graduated from Western Branch High School earlier this year and is now a teaching assistant at her church’s day school. She’s also able to fully enjoy all her favorite things – Jesus, watching TV, listening to music, drawing, and spending time with her family and best friend.
“As tough as it is to have your child experience these trials and tribulations, having the team from CHoR alongside us makes it bearable. We owe so much to them, as Lexy’s life is so much better than it was before we met them,” added Shari.