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Healthy You

Living Life Seizure-Free

Thursday, June 01, 2017 9:03 AM

Delores Bolden always led an active life. She worked fulltime while raising four children. She volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and assistant choir director. But Bolden’s hectic life took a worrisome turn beginning in 2008, when the 55-year-old Gurnee resident began experiencing seizures—up to 10 or more a day.


“I felt like everything was snatched away from me,” Bolden recalled. She was not able to drive or go out alone, and she had to have someone in the house keep an eye on her.

“When we first saw Delores, she had been seen by another provider who tried multiple medications, none of which were controlling her seizures,” said NorthShore Neurological Institute Epileptologist—or epilepsy specialist—Sofia Dobrin, MD.

Determined to get to the cause of Bolden’s frequent seizures, Dr. Dobrin partnered with NorthShore’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) team.

“The EMU is a specialized, state-of-the-art inpatient unit designed to characterize epileptic patterns and identify their location to develop a comprehensive treatment plan,” explains a team member. 

“During Delores’ five-day stay, we were able to locate the source of her seizures and diagnose right temporal lobe epilepsy,” added Dr. Dobrin, who discovered that several years earlier Bolden had bacterial meningitis, which can cause scar tissue to form in the brain and lead to epilepsy.

“NorthShore has a team of epileptologists and other specially trained neurologists who work with patients to determine the best treatment plan,” noted Julian Bailes, MD, the Arlene and Marshall Bennett and Joseph A. Tarkington, MD, Chair of Neurosurgery. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers recently accredited NorthShore as a level 3 center— providing the highest level of evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.

“Delores was an excellent surgical candidate because the scar tissue that was contributing to her seizures could be safely removed,” added Dr. Bailes, who along with Dr. Narayanan holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Bailes performed minimally invasive microsurgery on the right side of Bolden’s brain last February with stunning success.

“I’ve felt absolutely wonderful since my surgery and am getting my life back without seizures,” said Bolden. “I’m so grateful for my NorthShore doctors. They listened to me and were determined to find a way to help me.”

“Delores has an excellent prognosis,” added Dr. Dobrin, who holds an academic title at the Pritzker School of Medicine. “NorthShore is a tremendous asset because our team of specialists and subspecialists offers important options for patients who need this type of care.”