Five years ago, Jason and Celina Call of Kalamazoo, Michigan, were enjoying a happy life with their three-year-old son, Dominic.
“I had a healthy pregnancy and birth. Dominic was an active and healthy toddler, and we were busy watching him grow. But we started noticing some strange behaviors,” recalls Celina.
A few months after turning three, things took a downward turn for Dominic when he started having what she would describe as seizure activity.
Jason remembers, “We both specifically remember the first time it happened – we were in our vehicle getting ready to head home after a toddler gymnastics class when Dominic made an odd and prolonged noise, then appeared to be daydreaming for several seconds, before returning to himself.”
The following weekend would mark the start of Dominic’s troubles, after he exhibited over a dozen of these new episodes in a single day – leading his parents to bring him into the local ER. Each episode was exhausting and forced him to nap immediately afterward.
We had to have the best answers, that’s what brought us here.
Initially, Dominic went to several hospitals to try to get a proper diagnosis and treatment options. Various doctors and specialists were helpful at controlling Dominic’s seizures, but still, the seizures lingered. Of equal concern, drugs affected Dominic’s ability to focus at school and sleep at night. And while some doctors offered surgery, Celina thought only one hospital in the state could give Dominic the help he really needed.
“We had heard Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was the best, which is exactly what we needed considering Dominic was having up to 10 seizures a day, including multiple seizures overnight. With our kids being the most important part of our lives, and facing a potential brain surgery, we had to have the best answers,” says Celina. “That’s what brought us here.”
Once at Mott, Jason and Celina met with pediatric neurologists right away and began to see how much they could help Dominic.
“We were always impressed with the team and their approach,” says Jason. “Whether it was a check up or an overnight for testing, they took the time to answer all of our questions and included us in planning. We were able to discuss surgical and non-surgical options, and determine the best path forward for our son.”
Celina also recalled, “We could always tell how invested the team was in Dominic. Dr. Neville would even call me after hours when positive test results arrived – because we were both anticipating the update and excited.”
Kerri Neville, M.D., child neurologist and epileptologist at Mott, oversaw Dominic’s needs and believed surgery was his best option for ending seizures.
“Shortly after meeting Dominic, seizure frequency continued to worsen, and it was clear that medications alone would be unlikely to make him completely seizure free,” explains Neville. “Upon further evaluations – including EEG monitoring, a detailed MRI using specialized epilepsy protocols and PET scan imaging, and a functional MRI – it was determined Dominic’s seizures were coming from the same area, the right temporal lobe, which could be safely removed.”
After a rigorous explanation of the pros and cons of surgery, Celina and Jason believed Dominic would greatly benefit from surgery and decided to go through with it. And it was a decision that would pay off magnificently.
After five years of battling seizures, Dominic had finally found the solution he desperately needed. The surgery not only stopped seizures immediately, but in the 10 months since the surgery, Dominic has been seizure-free and is only on one medication.
“It’s literally been a miracle,” says an ecstatic Celina. “He was riding his bike just weeks after surgery. He’s been taking his tests in school and is on the border of being a higher achiever now. He’s a normal, healthy eight-year-old now and we couldn’t be happier. We are forever grateful to Michigan Medicine for giving our son a new chance at a healthier and happier life.”
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