Lauren's Story: Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Changes Her Life
Lauren shares experience after vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) treatment for epilepsy. One in three people are not responding to medications to treat epilepsy.
After vagus nerve stimulation, Lauren was able to join the music industry, because the seizures caused by epilepsy no longer interfered with her daily life.
Dr. Mohankumar Kurukumbi, Medical Director of Epilepsy Services at Inova Fairfax Hospital and with Inova Medical Group Neurology cared for Lauren and implanted the VNS device.
VNS is not brain surgery, so has fewer risks to treat epilepsy, so patients can be seizure free. Lauren has a "sense of control" that she never had when she was only taking medications to treat her epilepsy.
Leila's Story: Freedom from Seizures
Starting in childhood, Leila suffered from seizures 10 to 13 times per day. Her family visited different doctors, trying to find a diagnosis. Not until the age of 21 did she receive an official diagnosis of epilepsy, and even then the medication prescribed did not solve the problem. (It turns out that Leila has drug-resistant epilepsy, also known as uncontrolled or refractory epilepsy.)
Unable to keep a job or drive due to her condition, in June 2014 Leila was hospitalized following a severe seizure. It was then that she was introduced to Inova's Level 4 Epilepsy Center.
Working with Inova's epilepsy monitoring unit, and after confirming that her seizures were coming from Leila's right temporal lobe, neurosurgeon Dr. James Leiphart performed a resection of that part of her brain.
The seizures stopped.
When this video was filmed, two years post-op, Leila was free from seizures and soon to be free of medications as well. She has found new freedom, the ability to work, study, and have a social life. As her translator explains: "She's like a new person."