Brain surgery gives epilepsy sufferer new lease of life

NEW LEASE OF LIFE: Gavin Roberts talks about the procedure

ON THE MEND: Gavin recovering in hospital

First published in News by

AN EPILEPSY sufferer is hoping for a new lease of life after undergoing brain surgery.

Gavin Roberts from Weymouth is facing the future with more confidence as he recovers from a major operation to remove part of the brain to treat the condition.

He endured two five-hour brain ops within 11 days without complaint, said his family.

He hopes to be able to do more independently, including finding full-time work and looking after his four-year-old son Joshua on his own.

Not everyone with epilepsy can go through the procedure but Mr Roberts is urging those who can to consider having the operation.

Mr Roberts, 26, spoke of the problems he faced in an Echo article two years ago.

Lack of understanding about the condition has meant he has been mistaken for a drunk or a drug user in the street during seizures.

He also claims to have been discriminated against by employers. His epilepsy is caused by ‘scarring’ on the front of the brain which hinders oxygen flow.

Mr Roberts was considered suitable for epilepsy surgery which helps to stop seizures in many people.

He had to have a detailed assessment and through a support group was put in touch with someone who had gone through the procedure so he could get first-hand experience.

Mr Roberts said: “It was a big decision to make and it was scary but the support group was brilliant.

“I was put in touch with a woman who had the operation.

“She had a big smile on her face.”

He added: “I realise it’s not a quick fix and it’s early days but in the weeks since the operation I have only had one seizure when I normally would have had quite a few.

“I’ve been left with a big scar on my head which I was very conscious about before my hair started growing back.

“Time will tell and I have to be patient. But I’m feeling good.

“Surgery is not for everyone but I’d urge people in the same position to find out more.”

His mum Anita said: “Gav has greatly improved since the ops and so far has only had minor incidents during night sleep, so it’s looking good.

“He just wants to lead as normal a life as possible.”

ONE AREA OF ORGAN SURGICALLY REMOVED

GAVIN Roberts underwent resective surgery at Southampton Hospital’s Wessex Neurological Centre, a world-leading research site.

Surgery is not considered suitable for everyone with epilepsy but could be appropriate if medication has been unsuccessful and seizures arise from one centralised area of the brain, as in the case of Mr Roberts.

The operation involves removing part of the brain where the abnormality occurs.

Around 70 per cent of people who undergo surgery become seizure-free. A further 20-25 per cent find their seizures have not stopped completely, but are greatly reduced.

For more information about the epilepsy service at Southampton telephone 02380 796057 or email epilepsysupport@uhs.nhs.uk

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