Teen with Epilepsy and Cerebral Palsy Finds Independence Through Complex Surgery

Teen with Epilepsy and Cerebral Palsy Finds Independence Through Complex Surgery

Isaac Diaz, an 18-year-old teenager, has overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and cerebral palsy to achieve independence and pursue his dreams. From a young age, Isaac faced adversity due to his conditions but remained determined to live life to the fullest.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurring seizures, while cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that affects motor function. According to Dr. William Gallentine, a pediatric epileptologist, cerebral palsy affects one in every 345 children, and up to 50% of these children go on to develop epilepsy.

Isaac’s journey started when he was just a baby, suffering a stroke during birth that caused significant brain injury. This led to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Throughout his childhood, he received care for his conditions and wore leg and hand braces to assist with his mobility.

Despite facing bullying and challenges, Isaac remained true to himself and participated in sports such as basketball, soccer, and tae kwon do. However, at the age of 15, his seizures became more frequent and uncontrollable. Isaac had to give up sports, be homeschooled, and put his plans of getting a driver’s license on hold.

In search of a solution, Isaac and his family turned to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. The Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Stanford, a highly-ranked care center for complex epilepsy, provided the expertise and advanced technology needed to address Isaac’s condition. Dr. Gallentine and a team of specialists conducted a thorough evaluation, including a minimally invasive procedure called stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG), to map Isaac’s brain and identify the location of the seizures.

The SEEG revealed that the seizure focus was in a delicate area near Isaac’s visual pathways, which could potentially affect his vision. With great care, the medical team developed a complex surgery plan called a craniotomy to remove the seizure focus while preserving Isaac’s vision.

Isaac’s surgery was a success, thanks to the expertise of the neurosurgeons and the advanced technology available at Stanford. Following the surgery, Isaac experienced a significant reduction in seizures, allowing him to regain his independence and pursue his dreams.

Isaac’s story is an inspiring example of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. With the right medical care and support, individuals like Isaac can overcome the challenges posed by epilepsy and cerebral palsy and live fulfilling lives.


1. What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurring seizures. Seizures can cause various symptoms, including loss of consciousness, convulsions, and abnormal behaviors.

2. What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that affects motor function. It is caused by an injury to the brain, usually during pregnancy or birth. Children with cerebral palsy may have difficulties with movement, coordination, and posture.

3. What is a craniotomy?

A craniotomy is a surgical procedure in which a portion of the skull is removed and lifted to access the brain. It is often performed to remove brain tumors, treat epilepsy, or address other brain conditions.

4. What is stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG)?

Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) is a minimally invasive procedure used to map brain activity and identify the location of seizures. It involves the placement of electrodes into specific areas of the brain to record electrical signals.

(Source: Stanford Medicine Children’s Health – Link:www.stanfordchildrens.org)

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