DENVER — When your epilepsy is making you experience 100 seizures a day, and the medication is not working, does that mean you have to get brain surgery?
That was the question Aly Bukoski, 30, of Denver, was asking herself before eventually finding a breakthrough treatment called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy.
For most of her life, she said her doctors prescribed medications that her disorder rejected. However, when she moved to Colorado, she found doctors who were willing to explore alternative methods. At first, the proposition was brain surgery, but based on the location of the seizures in her brain, they said the side effects could include her sense of humor. That was a bit of a dealbreaker.
"I think my sense of humor is the only reason my husband married me, to be honest," she said while holding her now-5-month-old son Calvin. "So this was the alternative route, and we said we'd see how it went. I'm glad we took this route."
Over the next two years, Bukoski would undergo many tests, and eventually have a small device implanted under the skin of her chest that could send mild pulses - through her vagus nerve - to her brain. The small hockey puck-looking object fires every five minutes, and since it was placed, Bukoski has not had a seizure. It's been four years.
"Honestly, I wouldn't have the life that I have without it," she said.
In the above story, you can hear more about how this device works, and how she wishes she knew about it earlier in life.
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. For more information, you can visit the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado & Wyoming here.