Toddler has brain surgery to stop seizures - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Toddler has brain surgery to stop seizures

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Hazel was diagnosed with infantile spasms, a form of epilepsy. So her parents decided on brain surgery to help stop seizures. Hazel was diagnosed with infantile spasms, a form of epilepsy. So her parents decided on brain surgery to help stop seizures.
Hazel has been seizure free and thriving since her surgery. Hazel has been seizure free and thriving since her surgery.
Mom, Allie, is thankful for the outcome. Mom, Allie, is thankful for the outcome.
ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) -

A harrowing medical decision for the parents of a local toddler. They agreed to surgery to remove parts of their daughter's brain, to spare her from damaging seizures.

The Rocky River 2-year-old was having an average of 10 seizures every day, and they were taking a toll on her developing brain. So after her parents exhausted medication and dietary treatments without success, they opted for brain surgery.

When Hazel Sakai was just 11 months old, her mother, Allie, noticed something different about her youngest child.

"She'd just be staring and her eyes would water a little bit and you couldn't get her out of it," said Sakai.

She was diagnosed with infantile spasms, a form of epilepsy. The seizures got worse, and Allie saw them causing developmental delays and regression.

"We kind of liken it to having a computer constantly unplugged. There's no way to retain any real learning or information," said Sakai.

After eight different medications and dietary changes failed to control Hazel's seizures, her parents decided on a surgery at The Cleveland Clinic that would remove the parts of her brain that were malformed.

Dr. Elaine Wyllie says she was a candidate because her seizures started in one focal zone.

"If that focal zone is in an area that is relatively silent and can be removed safely, then sometimes you can literally cure the epilepsy," explained Wyllie.
 
Hazel has been seizure free for four months now. Her doctors say they got to her early enough that her young brain will recover with therapy. 
 
"We would expect some other areas of the brain will pick up some of the function," said Wyllie.

Believing it would give Hazel her best chance. Allie says they made the decision as a family. 
 
 "I learned to be brave, and to realize that she's going to be OK," said Hazel's 9-year-old sister, Helen.

As expected, the surgery left her without vision on the left side of both her eyes, and it will be five years before she's considered "out of the woods" completely. But so far, little Hazel is thriving.


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