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amygdalohippocampectomy of left TL....help/advice from anyone greatly appreciated

I am 27 and have had seizures for 12 years. I have complex partial seizures and secondary generalized seizures which all originate from my left temporal lobe which, according to the MRI, has some type of lesion which winds around the hippocampus. Briefly, I've noticed over the past 7 or 8 years increasing problems with short term memory--primarily episodic memory (remembering events) and some problems with verbal memory, but primarily episodic memory. I had the whole presurgical evaluation/workup at Mayo Clinic, and they feel strongly that I should have a resection performed (an amygdalohippocampectomy) as well as the removal of the lesion/abnormality in my left TL. I had a WADA test performed in April which indicates that my left temporal lobe still supports memory; i.e. if I have the surgery done, I will notice a greater change in episodic and verbal memory versus if my left TL didn't support much of any memory. I have been thinking about the surgery for about a month now, and will probably call to schedule it very soon. I am just scared shit--is there someone outthere who has had an amygdalohippocampectomy of the LEFT TL and has not regretted it for a moment? Please tell me there is....I just need to hear what other people have experienced, and hope to hear some optimistic stories out there...but I'll hear anything. Questions: To what extent has the surgery affected your short term/episodic memory? Verbal memory? Was it worth it? Have you have been seizure free? Do you feel that your memory has slightly improved over the months/years (w/ no seizures occuring)? I am hoping that maybe my right hippocampus can compensate. How hard has it been to learn new things? Take classes? Are there any tricks or new ways you have found which help you remember things better (after surgery), and did you have any seizures after surgery as you recovered? I am tired of continually having seizures and was told that I will either lose memory through the seizures or through surgery, so I don't have much of a choice. I have an MA in philosophy (not to sound stuck up) but would like to become something like a physician assistant instead of teaching philosophy. I've taken a few pre-rec classes, but need to take some more. I want to work with people who are suffering from epilepsy and make my contribution to society in that sense...the public still has a hell of a lot to learn about epilepsy. Thus my concern about being able learn new material after surgery, i.e. to what extent that will be affected as a result of loss of short term memory. Thanks so much to everyone out there, and good luck!!! I appreciate any opinions from people who have had resections of their left TL to help calm my fears! KR (Kristina R)

Comments

Hi Kristina, I'm going to

Hi Kristina,

I'm going to try and answer as many of your questions as I can.

#1..If anything, my surgery helped my memory. But it wasn't just the surgery. What I mean is, I work very hard at my memory by playing Scrabble online, Literati on Yahoo, Wonderland Memories ( which is a great deal like the old TV game Concentration), and things such as that.

#2..Yes, my surgery back in 1994 was well worth it! I haven't had a single seizure since.

#3...Brain surgery has evolved tremendously since I had mine done back in 1994. Patient's surgery takes far less time to accomplish...my surgery took 15-1/2 hours, patients spend less time in ICU...I was in there for three days...and patients are sent home from the hospital sooner, whereas I spent ten days in the hospital altogether.

Lisa-Marie

"Changing the misconceptions society has about epilepsy,
by educating one person at a time"....Lisa-Marie Kinsman

Re: Hi Kristina, I'm going to

Hello Lisa-Marie,
Thank you so, so much for your kind, uplifting, and informative response--it was so helpful knowing that what you posted came from an individual who has actually gone through with the surgery versus from a physician. 15.5 hours....wow! The surgery has been reduced to about a third of that time today, thank goodness. (6 or so hours) You are one of the brave souls who dared have such a surgery in the early days of a more sophisticated computer technology era--I take my hat off to you!

It's great to hear that you have had no seizures since. Not even one right after surgery? How was your short term memory just before surgery? Do you feel that your right TL was able to compensate to a degree, and that not having seizures gave what was left of your left hippocampus (assuming not all of it was resected) a chance to better function? In addition, of course, to the benefits resulting from excercising your short term memory. I'm just worried because although I do have a bit of short term/episodic memory problems, the WADA test did indicate that my LTL does support quite a bit of memory (is my dominant side) and that it was most likely that I would notice a bigger change in memory versus someone who has, say, sclerosis in their hippocampus which thus does not function very well at all presurgically, according to the WADA test. I just want to make sure that I can still learn new material fairly well, since I would need to take a few more years of classes in order to pursue my goal of becoming a physician assistant. Bit of a turn around from studying philosophy! LOL! Okay, thanks again! It's great talking to someone who is so optimistic and kind!
Take care--oh, and congrats on your autobiography which you plan to publish soon, if I'm correct! Keep me posted--sounds exciting!
Kristina

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