Sunday, May 20, 2007

Teen's surgery free him from seizures and allow to drive

In February, WZZM 13 brought you the story of Paul Wiersma, a young man who suffered from epilepsy most of his life until brain surgery made him seizure free.It's now been 6 months since his last seizure and under Michigan law Paul can now get his driver's license.Paul Wiersma says, "It's like I made it." It's a right of passage for almost every teenager, the day they get their driver's license.For Paul Wiersma that day was delayed for 3 years due to a recurrence of seizures caused by his epilepsy.

Medication no longer worked for Paul and the seizures were becoming more frequent and unpredictable.It was his stay at St. Mary's Epilepsy Clinic that determined he may be a candidate for brain surgery.Epileptologist, Dr. Adriana Tanner says,” Every test pointed to the right temporal lobe so we knew as a group he was a very good candidate for the surgery."Last November Paul made the decision to have part of his brain removed in hopes of ending the seizures.The surgery was similar to the one being performed on Wiersma.

“The thought of someone opening up your head and operating on the most important part of your body basically is kind of a scary thing," says Wiersma.Dr. Tanner says, "I would certainly hope that he would remain seizure free for the rest of his life."Paul has been seizure free for 6 months. Under Michigan law he can now get his driver's license. "Looking back it was like wow, I'm really here."Paul passed both his written test and his road test on the first try.

It's an experience he won't soon forget. "All I've been through and now that I'm here behind the wheel by myself it's just a wow feeling you know. And it's one of the best feelings I've ever felt"And the first place he wanted to drive was to St. Mary's, to show Doctor Tanner and Dr. Luders his driver's license and thank them for giving him his life back. "It's really freeing to just say I'm going to work I'll be back at 10:00p.m. or 11:00p.m. That's the really nice part of it," says Wiersma.

The future is an open road now for Paul and he's already concentrating on his next goal, graduating from Davenport University.


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