My Health Journey

Carter Landeros, Writer

In  December 2017, I suffered a seizure at school and was diagnosed with Epilepsy. It has been a battle with it since then. I have had multiple hospital admissions and medications to control the seizures. My doctors are unsure as to why I started to have seizures so late in life. I had many EEGs, which are tests on your brain that determine where seizures start and what can cause them, and have had one EEG where they had to drill tiny holes in my skull to place probes on my brain to see if they could see where the seizures were. This was to determine my eligibility for epilepsy surgery as the medications I was on were not were strong enough for the seizures I was getting. 


In April 2019, they determined that I was an excellent candidate for surgery and arranged for me to have surgery on June 18, 2019. I have never been so scared in my life. I trusted my doctors but it is brain surgery. The doctors and my family helped me go over what it was going to be like. We did multiple tests and scans prior to the surgery. They let me know of the risks of the surgery and we decided to go ahead with it. I suffered a massive 6 minute seizure the day of my brother’s graduation on June 5, 2019 so I knew I had made the right decision. 


On June 18, 2019, I had a brain surgery called Right Temporal Lobectomy to stop my seizures, and unfortunately during the surgery I had a stroke. My doctors said it is so rare for it to happen that I am the first case for my neurosurgeon, and he has been doing my kind of surgeries for 20+ years. It was very hard to hear that this had happened to me. My doctors in the hospital said that I was going to require a lot of therapies to be able to do things that I knew how to do before I went into the hospital. I had to learn how to walk, talk, eat, write. Basically, do everything that most people take for granted. I was also told it was going to be a long hospital stay. I was not expecting that. When I went in for my surgery I was expecting a 4 day stay. Now I was told 3-4 weeks. 


I went into the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Primary Children’s Hospital and had to have 3-4 hours of therapy a day. It was very hard work. I had to do physical, occupational, and speech therapy daily. Physical therapy helps me with my walking, balance, getting up from the floor. Occupational therapy helps me with my hands. It helps me tie my shoes, make food, put on clothes, brush my teeth, etc. Speech therapy helps me with my speaking, writing, memory. One of the hardest moments of my life was taking the first steps after surgery with my physical therapist. I was strapped in a walking device and had to hold onto the sides of it and took baby steps. I literally walked 5 feet and it felt like I had walked 5 miles. 


But each day I went further and further. By the end of 4 weeks, I was walking with just a cane. My doctors and therapists were amazed at the progress I had done. It was time to be discharged. I was discharged July 19th, 2019 after having spent 32 days in the hospital. To say it was an emotional month is an understatement. My therapists at the hospital had seen me go from a patient unable to talk and walk to one who walked out of the hospital on his own feet saying goodbye to the staff there. 


I now have outpatient therapy to get the strength back in my left arm and hand and the balance in my legs and feet. I also have speech as I still have some memory issues. I use a quad cane and a leg brace for balance because it still is not the best but I am improving greatly. Not many people can say that they suffered a stroke and brain surgery and then left the hospital on their own two feet a month later!!! 


Do I wish that this had never happened to me? Most definitely. It has been the hardest thing I have ever to overcome in my life. Not once did I ever think that this would happen to me in my life, but I have so far overcome it and am proud to say that I have. My family is super proud of me. My doctors and therapists are proud of me. I am proud of me.