On any given day, there is a patient on the road—someone making a journey to another city to see a physician expert. The added stress of travel and financial burden can be daunting. Jennifer Boss faced this scenario. But thanks to your giving, and Seton’s recruitment of highly specialized physicians, she found the life-changing care she needed, here at home.
“I was so worried about having seizures that I became scared to be in front of customers,” said Jennifer. “I asked to move from a business sales position to a finance position where face-to-face interaction was limited.”
First diagnosed with epilepsy two years ago, Jennifer had experienced partial seizures for several years that were first mistaken as anxiety attacks. She tried multiple medications, but the seizures grew more severe.
“I became so frustrated and wanted relief, but the physician I had been seeing did not want to perform surgery. I contemplated traveling to see specialists in other cities, like San Antonio or Houston. Then I discovered the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Seton Brain and Spine Institute.”
Dr. Jason Shen, a Seton epilepsy specialist and assistant professor for UT Southwestern, gave Jennifer the hope she needed. He’s among a growing group of physicians moving to Austin who are attracted by Seton’s expanding academic medicine program and the teaching and research opportunities that Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas will bring.
“Jennifer had a vascular malformation, or lesion, in the right temporal lobe. I believed this was the cause of her seizures,” said Dr. Shen. “Given her poor outcome with medications, she was an excellent candidate for epilepsy surgery.”
Until recently, removing Jennifer’s lesion would require a craniotomy which opens the skull to expose the brain. A craniotomy can involve several weeks of recovery and greater risks.
Dr. Shen’s colleague, neurosurgeon Dr. Mark R. Lee, offered the cutting-edge procedure Jennifer needed at University Medical Center Brackenridge. Under his steady hand, Jennifer became the first adult patient in Central Texas to undergo a new form of minimally-invasive epilepsy surgery. The lesion causing the seizures was successfully ablated with an MRI-guided laser probe. After only one night recovering at the hospital, Jennifer went home with just two stitches.
“The hole in my head was smaller than the tip of my pinky finger,” said Jennifer. “This surgery was a night and day difference from what’s involved with a full craniotomy.”
“Jennifer’s case is a great example of the new level of care here in Austin that will only grow stronger with the opening of Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas and the partnership with UT Austin,” said Dr. Shen. “A strong team of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and neuropsychologists all came together to determine the best treatment for Jennifer and provide it.”
Today, Jennifer is seizure free. “I’m doing great. And with Dr. Shen’s guidance, I’m coming off the medications. Thanks to the doctors I found right here at home, I’m living a full life.”