|Brooklyn would sometimes wake up in the night and walk around her house. But when she started to experience strange episodes throughout the day, sometimes stumbling over her words, her parents knew something was wrong. She was sent from her hometown of Taber to a pediatrician in Lethbridge, who referred her to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Testing confirmed these “episodes” were actually seizures. And it turned out Brooklyn could sense when she was about to have a seizure, which was also causing her severe anxiety spells.
She was put on medication that helped control her seizures at first. Eventually, their effectiveness waned and Brooklyn began needing stronger dosages. That’s when neurologist Dr. Luis Bello said Brooklyn might be a candidate for brain surgery. However, to determine whether surgery would be possible or effective in her case would require extensive brain mapping. The family wanted to get a second opinion to ensure this was the best option so they went to Boston, where they confirmed that specialists there would take a similar path.Testing began to gather the precise information the team would need to perform Brooklyn’s surgery. An MRI with contrast gave the first glimpse at the affected area and was followed by long-term EEG monitoring. Last June, Brooklyn had small holes drilled into her skull and electrodes placed inside her brain to map the path of her seizures. This procedure is possible through a community-funded piece of equipment called the Robotic Stereotactic Assistant (ROSA). Without it, mapping the brain would have to be done through a craniotomy (removing a 10-cm piece of the skull). That tactic meant kids would essentially be having a major surgery and have to stay in hospital leading up to their actual brain surgery. But thanks to this hi-tech equipment, which makes mapping much less invasive, Brooklyn was back on her beloved basketball court within a week. Meanwhile, the electrodes pinpointed exactly where the seizures were starting in her brain. A few weeks later, Dr. Walter Hader removed the left temporal lobe as well as the amygdala from Brooklyn’s brain. The surgery went so well that she was discharged from the hospital just a few days later.
Before surgery, Brooklyn was having seizures every hour. She was constantly stressed about when the next one would happen. She was unhappy, fatigued and often struggled just to get out of bed in the morning. Fast forward to today – she hasn’t had a seizure since the surgery. She sleeps better, she’s happier, and is busy playing sports. Her family is so grateful for the care she received at the Alberta Children’s Hospital that truly turned her life around.
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