Life after surgery
It’s now been more than six months since Derek’s resection surgery, and six months since his last seizure!
“We are hopeful that we can potentially cure Derek’s seizure activity,” Dr. Kaufman said. “At the very least, we hope he will see a significant improvement in his quality of life.”
“Our ultimate goal is for Derek to be seizure-free,” Sarah said. “But even if that isn’t possible, it would be wonderful if he could have fewer seizures and take fewer medications.”
Functionally, Derek’s parents say he’s doing better than ever, and so is their family!
“We’ve noticed that Derek is much quicker to respond to questions, and his teachers say he expresses himself much more in class,” Sarah said.
“I’ve noticed his motor skills have improved too,” Mike added. “We can play catch now.”
Jason, Mike and Sarah also are more relaxed and worry less about Derek when he spends the night at a friend’s or visits his grandparents.
“As a mom, you always worry, but it’s not as bad as it used to be,” Sarah said. “Before surgery, we wouldn’t leave Derek home alone. Now, if we need to run to the store or be away for a couple of hours, we are more comfortable doing that. It’s so nice to be off that roller coaster.”
As Derek prepares to enter the 8th grade, he’s enjoying his new-found independence, participating in scouting and camping, and looking forward to the possibility of driving one day.
“A year ago, John Hall, PhD, the team’s neuropsychologist, told us that driving was not an option for Derek,” Mike said. “But he’s come a long way in the past year. Now it may be.”
And though it was tough to see Derek go through brain surgery, Sarah and Mike say it wasn’t a hard decision to make.
“Knowing the possible outcome and the improvement in Derek’s quality of life after surgery made it all worthwhile,” Mike said.
“We had great confidence in the Children’s Mercy Epilepsy team,” Sarah added, “and we’ve had an amazing experience. Everyone, from Erin D. Fecske, CPNP, Derek’s advanced practice provider, to Dr. Kaufman and the neurosurgery team, to Child Life, to Social Work, to the EEG tech, they were all easy to work with. They answered every question and put us at ease.
“And it was wonderful to be able to have Derek’s surgery so close to home,” Sarah added. “We had the opportunity to go to the Mayo Clinic, but being an hour from Topeka during an eight-day hospital stay was convenient.
“Mike and I took turns staying with Derek, and Jason was able to visit his brother frequently. That wouldn’t have been possible if we had gone to Minnesota. We’re just thankful Children’s Mercy is so close to us.”