Local woman says drug cocktail helps her stay seizure-free

Local woman says drug cocktail helps her stay seizure-free (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - November is epilepsy awareness month and a local woman who struggled with seizures for years said a drug cocktail and an amazing treatment team has given her back part of her life.

She was just 16 when she was diagnosed and since then was rarely seizure-free. Thanks to a team at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute in West Chester, she is not only better than ever before she let Local 12 share a very special day in the journey to getting her life back.

Heather Hansen has what's called Primary Generalized Epilepsy. It's a condition where the entire brain's electrical system is damaged. That means, after years of having weekly seizures or blackouts with life-altering consequences, she went Tuesday, November 15, for a life-altering EEG.

Heather has had severe burns, broken teeth, and black eyes.

Dr. Mark Callow shared, “So these are the electrodes comparing both sides of the brain and the electrical activity.”

An EEG is a test used to detect abnormalities related to electrical activity of the brain. Thanks to a new drug cocktail, Heather’s EEG showed more normal brain activity and it has been for quite some time.

“Currently she takes three different medications every single day to sort of keep her seizures under control,” said Dr. Callow.

Heather said, “I'm seven months seizure-free!”

According to her team, that was enough time to clear her if appropriate to drive again, “I'm so excited to get my license, just really hoping for the best, with this EEG. So definitely a positive outlook on this.”

It is an emotional bond the doctor also feels; Dr. Callow has epilepsy and is now 10 years seizure-free.

The letter from her doctor came through and sure enough Heather had clearance to get behind the wheel!

There are now 20 drugs that can be used in different combinations for patients for outcomes like Heather’s. If those don't work, surgery and brain stimulation devices can also help patients.

The team with Dr. Callow at the UC Gardner Center is one of just a few in the nation that has a variety of specialties all working in kind of a one-stop shopping treatment center for those living with epilepsy.

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