Welcome back. Visitors to the East Kentucky Science Center enjoy the Back and Forth Exhibit which allows them to experience how the brain controls reflexes, and automatic functions we take for granted like balance.
At the beginning of our program we introduced you to a young woman who has not been able to experience many of the things most of us take for granted like holding down a job and driving a car.
Teela Ogline and her family were hoping brain surgery would give her a taste of freedom for the first time in 23-years. Let’s check back in now with Helene Gleason.
APRIL Miller, Teela’s sister
“It’s a miracle. That’s all I can say is it’s a miracle because like I expected some differences but I didn’t expect a whole lot and the day after the surgery she was completely different and it was just amazing to me. It’s a complete miracle”
AMY SUE, Teela’s mom
“Well, first off she hasn’t had any seizures at all and Teela averaged two to four seizures a month with medication and now we’re talking no seizures. She’s very alert. She seems to be more conscious of what’s going on around her.”
“You met her six weeks ago and now you’ve met her now, you’ve seen a huge difference. It’s very encouraging what is happening with Teela right now.”
And indeed it is encouraging. While Teela, like many people, gets very nervous on camera, she is anything but in real life. On my first visit I met a very quiet young woman who seemed a bit confused…however, just weeks after surgery, as soon as I arrived I noticed a difference in Teela. She immediately approached me and started conversing- and laughing, while sharing funny stories about her family and friends. So how does Teela feel about her results?
“It makes me feel like a better person. Before surgery I barely wanted to do much of anything. I was more tired. I barely wanted to walk. I barely wanted to do anything.
Before I didn’t know what was going on and it was harder for me to know what was going on from day to day, now I’m more alert than I was before.”
Utilizing the advanced testing available through Memorial’s comprehensive epilepsy program coupled, with the computer guided surgical technology, Dr. Bowles was able to give Teela a new lease on life.
That’s the area which really causes the seizures and we’re able to carefully remove that with the microscope and special instruments, cavatronic ulatrsonic surgical aspirators to remove the tissue but preserve all of the important brain tissue and we’re able to successfully do that and she’s done really well after surgery. She not only doesn’t have any more seizures but her mental functioning is much better. She’s much brighter, much more responsive and now that she doesn’t have these seizures to further damage her brain, she’s a much happier patient, much happier person.”
Teela and her family are not only ecstatic about her outcome, they’re also equally as grateful for the treatment they received at Memorial.
“The nurses took very good care of me. They got whatever I needed, were there whenever I needed help or whatever I needed.”
“You shouldn’t deprive yourself of an opportunity to cure yourself of this devastating disease. Do you need to go anywhere else than what we have here? No. Because we have all the technology. We have all the expertise. It makes every bit of sense to have the surgery done here close to family, close to physicians who can take care of you.”
Over the course of the next several months, the plan is to slowly wean Teela off of her medications, with the goal of keeping her seizure free. But for now, Teela, her family and caregivers are just pleased with her progress and excited to see what the future holds for this young woman.
“She’s engaging and right now she can make up everything she’s lost and I think she will with the right incentive and she’s very eager to do that. So I think her prognosis and her outlook is excellent.”
“Teela has been dealt not the greatest hand in the world to work with and I think that in the past six weeks at least there is a huge promise for Teela that only family members saw in her. When I’m thinking about Teela I think that she can be a very productive person and she can be—she’s quite capable of taking care of herself.”
“In the hospital a day after it happened she just kept going on and on about how thankful she was that she did this and since the surgery, she hasn’t had a seizure at all and keeps asking did I have one today, did I have one today and I said, no, you’re good. You’re still good. She goes awe, that’s great. I’m so happy.”
We are pleased to report that Teela continues to do well and so far, continues to be seizure free.
We do want to mention that it was a very special friend of the family who encouraged Teela to tell her story in the hopes of helping others with epilepsy.
That special friend was former TV weatherman Steve Richards who has since passed away from heart disease. Steve was 54-year-old. Teela and her family asked us to take this moment to encourage others to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of heart disease.
For more information on heart disease, epilepsy or any medical condition log on to www.conemaugh.org or call our toll free, 24-hour nurse hotline at 1-8700-587-5875.
Unfortunately that is all the time we have for today’s program. Our special thanks to the East Kentucky Science Center and the folks at Evergreen Exhibitions for allowing us to explore the Brain: the world Inside Your Head.
Until next time, from all of us at the Conemaugh Health System. We wish you good health. Thanks for watching.