Nine-year-old Noah has had more than his fair share of challenges in life. Just behind his twinkling brown eyes and infectious smile hides a brain riddled with the debilitating effects of epilepsy. When Noah’s parents, Shannon and Jake, brought him home he was just as healthy and happy as their first two children. It wasn’t until Noah was a toddler that the ill-patterned brain presented itself.
“I’ll never forget the day Noah had his first seizure,” said Shannon. “I stepped away for just a moment and came back to Noah’s lifeless body on the floor. His eyes were rolling back in his head. I didn’t know if he had fallen or what was going on! It was terrifying.” That was the first of many emergency calls that Noah’s family would make.
A year after Noah was diagnosed with epilepsy his doctor noticed a slight heart murmur. Upon further testing, Noah received a secondary diagnosis of atrial septal defect (ASD), a type of congenital heart defect that causes misdirected blood flow. Shortly after this diagnosis Noah’s family moved from Wisconsin to Colorado and found their new care team at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“We did our research before I even considered the job offer in Denver,” said Jake. “We sought out and found the best possible care for Noah’s conditions at Children’s Colorado.”
A new home, fresh start
Noah’s new doctors advised immediate surgery for Noah’s heart condition to ward off potential problems in the future. Although the surgery was a success and Noah was officially heart-healthy, his epilepsy took a drastic turn for the worse. At the peak of his illness Noah was experiencing 100 seizures per day.
After a failed attempt to calm Noah’s brain through a medically induced coma, Noah’s parents had to decide whether or not to proceed to their final option – brain surgery. The portion of the brain affected by epilepsy was close to Noah’s motor strip and there was a possibility that the surgery would leave him unable to walk.
“It was a very difficult decision, but we didn’t see any other way,” said Jake. “We knew we would never be able to take our child home in the state he was in. His brain was just in a constant state of seizing.”
Beating the odds, a home run
At 4 years old, Noah underwent a frontal lobectomy, removing an apple-sized portion of his frontal lobe. Through intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy, Noah conquered relearning how to walk, talk and eat on his own.
Today, at age 9, Noah has been seizure-free for five years. He focuses his energy not on his disabilities, but his capabilities and has become quite the baseball player, proudly hitting three home runs in one game last season.