More than two million people in the United States have epilepsy- a brain condition that causes seizures.
Some sufferers find medications that can help control their seizures- but not all patients do.
One-third of people with epilepsy live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.
One local family found a doctor who was able to slash the number of seizures their daughter was having.
Annette’s Wick’s epileptic seizures have been more under control, “It’s a lot less, we are down to like two to three a day which is phenomenal,” said Donna Wick, Annette’s mom.
The 24-year-old has suffered from epilepsy since she was 7, “She has multiple different types of seizures, atonic seizures or drop attacks, I think at some point she’s had convulsive seizures she also has complex partial seizures,” explained Shawn Whitton, MD, neurologist and epileptologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
Donna says it was hard to see her daughter go through a seizure, “It really is a tough thing for a parent to see and there is nothing you can do to help it,” said Donna.
Over the years, the seizures had gotten worse, with Annette having up to 10-12 a day, “A drop attack, she can be simply walking and down she’ll go,” explained Donna.
Patients can get hurt during ‘drop attacks’ “Causes injuries, that’s why we have those people wearing helmets because of broken noses, concussions,” said Dr. Whitton.
Annette has been hospitalized after drop attacks and wears a helmet when she is awake. Annette also has an undiagnosed genetic syndrome, “The delays are significant I’d say she probably functions at like a 3 year old,” explained Dr. Whitton.
Between the seizures and her syndrome Annette has seen many doctors who prescribe different medications, “We didn’t always get the prescription cocktail the way it should be,” said Donna.
Last fall, a college of Dr. Whitton went to him for advice about annette. Dr. Whitton is a neurologist and epileptologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center and an expert on epileptic seizures, “Looking at the medications that she was on she was actually on a couple of medications that could worsen a generalized type of epilepsy,” said Dr. Whitton.
Dr. Whitton changed up Annettes’s meds, “Once we got her off some of the medicine that could worsen her epilepsy and switch her to ones that are more that are directed towards that she had a couple of months where she didn’t have any seizures which is remarkable given her case,” said Dr. Whitton.
Donna was grateful, “He’s had the most success, I would say, with treating Annette,” said Donna.
Although Annette still has around 2 seizures daily- life is a lot better, “This is a very hard epilepsy to manage. It is very unlikely that she is going to be seizure free but we try our best to limit the more dangerous ones,” said Dr. Whitton.
“Thank you lord that we have someone who has the ability and the knowledge and is able to help our daughter,” said Donna.
Donna says their goal is to give annette the best quality of life she can have – and fewer seizures are a big part of that.