A WOMAN suffering seizures which wracked her body every four minutes has been given a new lease of life after having part of her brain removed.
Iona Davies, 21, of Tarn Side, Ulverston, now suffers just one epileptic episode a month after doctors in Liverpool took out the two sections of her brain which were causing the attacks.
She had been forced to give up college and any hope of a career because of the seizures.
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“The seizures had taken over my life,” said Iona who used to live in Kendal and attended Queen Katherine School.
“I couldn’t do any of the things other people take for granted like making a coffee or walking the dog. I just slept all the time.”
She said that doctors removed a thumb-sized part of her left temporal lobe and another, smaller part of her left hippocampus.
The operation came five years after she first began having the attacks, which lasted around 30 seconds each and left her confused and struggling with speech.
She was diagnosed with epilepsy on the left side of her brain when she was 17 and it quickly got worse.
The seizures became more frequent and more severe so that she was suffering one every four minutes, including ‘grand mal’ seizures, which are marked by violent convulsions, around once a week.
She also suffered side effects from the medication she was on, including swelling of her face and vomiting.
“It got to the point where a seizure once an hour was a good day,” she continued.
“On a bad day it could have been every few minutes and so bad I had to be taken to hospital.”
Then last summer she began seeing a neurologist in Barrow and was told she could have an operation.
A ‘test’ was carried out where she had ‘grids’ installed in her skull so doctors could monitor her brain activity.
The surgery was given the go-ahead - but with the risk it could have caused damage, including loss of speech.
“When I came round and asked my mum for a blanket she was so relieved!” said Iona.
“It can take a while for the seizures to stop altogether so I’m still having some, which could be epilepsy or it could just be because my brain is learning not to have them.”
Now the housekeeper for Langdale Estates is enjoying being allowed to do things most people take for granted, like hanging out with her friends and showering alone.
She has also now completed her GCSEs and hopes to study ecology and conservation at Lancaster University next year.
“I can’t believe the difference it has made,” she added.