My surgery also resulted in memory and processing improvements

Posted by restisaweapon @restisaweapon, 5 days ago

Has anyone had epilepsy surgery that resulted in mental improvements?
I have had Complex temporal lobe epilepsy with seizures beginning when I was about 13 years old. Doctors believed the epilepsy was created at 1 year of age when I suffered a high fever that climaxed with a seizure as I was rushed to hospital.
Medication changes over the years settled on Tegretol CR. I was largely controlled but didn't always take the medication well enough to be completely seizure free. At 22 years old I almost had the brain surgery to correct the condition. But on the way to the operating room stopped the surgery out of fear (It was 1981 and brain surgery seemed too scary to me). So I told the Dr. that I was going to be diligent about taking the medication and if that didn't work I would return.
Decades past with few seizures until I was 49 (2006). I started having seizures again and each visit to the hospital the doctor increased my medication level. He also suggested looking into the surgery which I knew would be an option so I said yes this time.
May 25, 2006 I had the surgery. Now my life was blessed with an amazing wife who for 28 years covered my mental deficits. I would describe myself as absent minded, very forgetful, easily distracted. Which sometimes made life harder for my wife.

Four days after the surgery I went home to recover. About 2 weeks after surgery I could go out for a few hours before needing to lay down. We were invited to our neighbors birthday party so I rested during the day and that evening we went. At this party of strangers (we didn't know the neighbor well), I was uncharacteristically chatty. I would usually sit at a party quiet because conversations were difficult to follow and stay focused on. After an hour of chatty conversation I looked around the room and realized I could name all of the people in the room (strangers before today).
In the coming days it became apparent that I had mental improvements. My thought processing speed seemed 2 or 3 times faster and I now had a memory power I had never had. It's as if I was smarter. I even figured out why. I wrote the surgeon and email saying: Is it possible, when you cut out this damaged spot of my brain, you cut out the cause of a life-long mental interruption?
Follow-up visits for the surgery were done and the doctor said they have never had anyone report mental improvements that lasted longer than a month. Mine have never left.
So it begs the question. Has anyone else experienced mental improvements after epilepsy brain surgery?

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Hi @restisaweapon
I am very happy to read your story and your improvements with this last surgery. I do also have temporal lobe epilepsy and some cogntive deficits. Curiosity, is your epilepsy on the left or right side of your temporal lobe? Is it also on the hippocampus? Thank you!
Have a nice week!
Chris (@santosha)

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@santosha

Hi @restisaweapon
I am very happy to read your story and your improvements with this last surgery. I do also have temporal lobe epilepsy and some cogntive deficits. Curiosity, is your epilepsy on the left or right side of your temporal lobe? Is it also on the hippocampus? Thank you!
Have a nice week!
Chris (@santosha)

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My surgery was done on the right temporal lobe. Not sure about it being on hypocanthus. That was never mentioned so I would say no

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@restisaweapon

My surgery was done on the right temporal lobe. Not sure about it being on hypocanthus. That was never mentioned so I would say no

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Hi @restisaweapon
Thank you so much for this information. Happy to hear that your epilepsy is on the right side and you could do such surgery. Celebrate it!!!
Curiosity, do you still need medication (AEDs)? Or are you free of them?
My epilepsy is on the left side of my hippocampus, and surgery would bring many cognitive losses and other harms.
Have a nice day!
Chris (@santosha)

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That’s interesting. During a follow up visit I asked the surgeon how much brain tissue he removed. He held one hand and held the index finger and longest finger together. Then wrapped his other hand around the two fingers leaving the top two knuckles of the fingers exposed. Saying that much. I said that looks like a lot. If you removed that from the memory part of the brain, how did I not lose memories. He explained “long ago your brain recognized the damage and didn’t put memory there”.

So I’m curious as to why that same area on your brain, causing seizures is also actively useful for motor function.

And to answer your medication question I still take the same dose of meds. Which was higher than I took before. When I started having seizures at 49 they upped my meds 3 times (after each of 3 seizures). I thought my mental deficits were because of the meds doping me. But it wasn’t. When the damaged spot was removed I experienced all the improvements regardless of the meds. They said staying on the meds is an insurance policy.

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