FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --One in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives. The disease causes seizures and affects more than three million people in the U.S. Two-thirds of them can control their seizures with medications, but the rest must seek other options. Now, advancements in brain surgery could prove to be the cure those patients have been seeking.
For most of his life, biking for Graham Stegall was a big no-no.
"Because having a seizure in the middle of Chicago traffic was the last thing I would ever want to do," Stegall told Ivanhoe.
He had his first seizure at just one month old. They continued into his teens.
"Approximately 14 to age 20, we thought I'd grown out of them," Stegall said.
Then his world spun out of control.
"This was a game changer right here, because I had a seizure at the wheel," Stegall said. "I don't know how I lived, but I did. From that point on, they just kept getting worse and worse and worse."
Until he met with Dr. Joshua Rosenow, MD, neurosurgeon at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
"Epilepsy is a much bigger problem than I think many people realize," Dr. Rosenow said. "Up to three percent of people will actually have a seizure at some point in their life, and one percent of the American population is living with epilepsy every day."
For those like Stegall, whose seizures couldn't be controlled with medication, surgery could be the best option.
"A lot of people either don't know the surgery is an option for their epilepsy or they feel it's too big a step, or too risky," Dr. Rosenow explained.
But advances in imaging have changed that and allow surgeons to find the exact area seizures are coming from.
"We can cure more people than we ever could before and do it in a way that's safer than ever before," Dr. Rosenow said.
Like Stegall, now seizure free for five years.
"I went from having a seizure every single day to none," Stegall said.
Stegall doesn't take any part of life for granted. He's planning on taking the plunge in Dubai. Yes, skydiving for the first time this February!
For more information, contact:
Joshua Rosenow, MD,