It’s believed more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy.
Two young women say this disease created a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Kellee Chavis and Heather Brookins had no idea they had so much in common.
Kellee Chavis says, “When I was little, in elementary school, I had problems with reading and writing.”
Heather Brookins says, “I was having some learning disabilities.”
Both suffered from memory loss and dizzy spells for years. It turns out they were having hundreds of seizures a day.
Hae Won Shin, MD, Assoc. Prof. of Neurology, UNC School of Medicine says, “If somebody tends to have unprovoked seizures, more than twice in their lifetime, that means the definition of epilepsy.”
The two young women met in the doctor’s office.
“We just always kind of sat beside each other, our appointments were nearly always around the same time,” says Brookins.
They talked about living with epilepsy and the blackouts of time they both experienced.
Kellee Chavis says, ” I don’t remember my sister’s wedding, I don’t remember family occasions.”
“I was very self-conscious, depressed,” continues Brookins.
Both underwent brain surgery and tried dozens of anti-seizure medications.
When nothing worked, they found the RNS system by NeuroPace.
Eldad Hadar, MD, Prof. of Neurosurgery, UNC School of Medicine, says, “it monitors the brain activity, looks for seizure activity, and if it detects that it delivers an electrical stimulus.”
That stimulus blocks or reduces the severity of the seizure.
Heather and Kellee both had the device implanted.
Chavis continues, “I’ve officially been seizure-free for a year now.”
“It’s literally given me my life back,” says Brookins.
Now Heather has the energy to take care of her 6-year-old son, Jackson.
And Kellee just graduated with a degree in Healthcare Management.
Heather and Kellee continue to benefit from new technology.
NeuroPace recently increased the battery life of their RNS device from four to eight years.