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David Engledow calls himself a guinea pig. Dave underwent risky brain surgery that appears to have cured his epilepsy. The procedure was at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He has not had a seizure since November 8, 2011.
Some people with epilepsy are afraid to mention that they have the neurological disorder, but David Engledow, Pittsburg, is not one of them. Dave was born with epilepsy and suffered a brain injury at the age of two. He was miss diagnosed for some time when he was placed in an orphanage. "Nobody really took care of it they thought it was retardation." Dave explained.
Instead, he’s determined to fight the misconceptions and negative public attitudes that sometimes prevent those with epilepsy from achieving their full rights in society. Dave is offering free orientation training for individuals and organizations. A support group call Southeast Kansas Epilepsy Support Group, which will be meeting at 7 p.m. the first Monday of month. This is a confidential discussion and sharing time that is open to the people of southeast Kansas. The group will meet at the Besse Apartments conference room.
The number one thing people need to understand about epilepsy in Dave's opinion is, "To make sure people know what to do in the time someone is having a seizure." many seizures last less than a minute and by the time an ambulance or emergency personnel arrive the person has recovered. However a person can experience injury if the seizure last for a long time. Learning about the illness and its effects can greatly improve a person's ability to remain independent and in the community.
Epilepsy is the world’s most common and serious neurological disorder. It affects more than 3 million Americans, and more than 45,000 Kansans.
Epilepsy can be caused by many things, including birth defects, infections in the brain and traumatic injuries to the brain at any age. Engledow said that his was probably caused by hitting his head in a fall when he was very young.
“My brother says that I fell and hit the concrete sidewalk when I was 6 or 7,” he said. “When I was in school I’d hide behind trash cans when I had a seizure because people would laugh at you.”