Stephanie Conklin is an active mother of two, but for years she was concerned her epileptic seizures would get in the way of becoming a mom.
"It was a challenge. It was lots of side effects from the medicine. Made you very nasty," she said.
Conklin suffered seizures since having a brain tumor removed as a child. She tried all kinds of medications, but nothing worked. The seizures interfered with every part of her life, including the birth of her daughter.
"I had grand mal seizures while I was carrying her, so they took her early," Conklin said.
A new report from the Institute of Medicine shows there are effective ways to treat epilepsy, but many patients don't have access to the care they need.
"Less than half of the people who are eligible and good candidates for some of these sophisticated treatments get them," said Dr. Arno Fried of Hackensack University Medical Center.
Doctors say medicine helps most patients, but others need specialized treatments or surgery offered at centers like this one in Hackensack, N.J. Doctors here determined that Conklin needed a series of brain surgeries. They surgically attached electrodes to her brain to pinpoint where the problem was.
"We had a very detailed map so I could go back in and surgically remove the area causing the seizures," Fried said.
Conklin has had just one seizure in four years. She gave birth to her son without complications. And with some medication, doctors say she should be able to enjoy her children without worrying about seizures.
Roughly 80 percent to 85 percent of epilepsy patients can control their seizures with medicine alone.
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