“Our daughter Sundis was only 11 when we saw it happen for the first time. One moment she was up and about, dancing happily around our living room, and then the very next, she was down on the floor— limbs rigid, mouth frothing, her whole body convulsing. As we rushed to her we could see that she was not conscious. It was a moment of pure terror…shock and terror,” says Siddiq Mohammed, his voice trembling.
“Back then we had not even heard of the word ‘epilepsy’, we had no idea what it was…we didn’t know what had hit our little daughter…all we felt was pure chilling fear,” continues Mohammed, a native of Kurdistan Zakho, a small town on the edge of the Iraqi-Turkish border district of Dohuk Governorate .
Sure, given the huge strides neurological medicine has taken, you may not think epilepsy is such a big health crisis. “But that is only if you have access to the right medical attention,” says Dr Shailesh A V Rao, senior neurosurgeon at BRAINS who was part of the team that took care of Sundis. “Back home in Iraq we went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital in search of answers, for the right diagnosis care and cure, but it was hopeless,” says the now relieved father. “Our daughter continued to suffer from the terrible fits.”
“And then we met a former BRAINS patient,” says Mohammed. “She told us about how she had recovered completely from epilepsy after being treated there.” Soon after that, Sundis and her parents were on a plane to Bangalore. “It was definitely the moment that changed our lives,” says Mohammed. “The doctors and facilities at BRAINS were top-class, everything and more than what we had expected.”
“It’s because of a combination of poor diagnosis, mis-matched drugs and wrong dosages that she had shown no improvement,” says Dr Shailesh A V Rao, senior neurosurgeon at BRAINS who was part of the team that attended to the stricken girl. “Left untreated or improperly managed, epilepsy can be life threatening particularly if it were to strike during activities like swimming or driving.”
Sundis was on the path of recovery within days of reaching the hospital after a comprehensive medical exam and diagnostic tests confirmed her problem. “It is now more than a year since we left the hospital and she has not had a single attack of fits in all this time,” says Mohammed, saluting the doctors and the facilities at the hospital for giving his daughter a new life. “I have only one word,” he says. “Thanks.”
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes repeated episodes of unprovoked seizures in people of all ages and backgrounds and is triggered by the disturbance of a brain’s normal cell activity. During seizures patients experience abnormal behavior, symptoms and sensations, including loss of consciousness.
There are many possible causes of epilepsy, including an imbalance of nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters, tumors, strokes, and brain damage from illness or injury, or a combination of these. To control and regulate all voluntary and involuntary responses in the body, nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other through electrical activity. A seizure occurs when part(s) of the brain receives a burst of abnormal electrical signals that temporarily interrupts normal electrical brain function.