Forsyth County, N.C. - Tiffany Allen couldn't drive. She couldn't work. She couldn't focus. She couldn't even date. Then, doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center performed an amazing, life-changing surgery.
Before the surgery, Allen said, "I couldn't do anything. I felt like I was grounded at all times. I couldn't take a shower alone. My grandmother had to sit in the bathroom with me while I took a shower."
Neurosurgeon Dr. Daniel Couture removed a piece of her brain about the size of a chap stick. To correct these kinds of seizures in the past, surgeons have had to cut out a larger chunk of the brain, about the size of a business card. By removing less of Tiffany's brain, doctors reduced the amount of potential side effects.
"We have techniques where we can map the brain better and make the surgery more sophisticated," Dr. Gautam "Vinnie" Popli, Epileptologist, said.
More than one year after the surgery, Tiffany has not had any more seizures.
"It is very scary to think a year ago, they were taking out a piece of my brain. Just think about it. It is very scary," Allen said.
Allen thought constant seizures were just something she had to tolerate. However, doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center told her she didn't have to live that way anymore.
"This may be extraordinary for patients, but this is every day business for us. We like to keep it that way. We take all the precautions. There are hundreds of hours of analysis of data, making sure we have the safeguards in place," Dr. Popli said. "This is an incredible feeling to participate in the family's joy."
Allen's grandmother, Carolyn Masters said, "When she was a little girl, she used to say, 'Nana, they hurt so bad. Take the seizures away.' But, I couldn't do anything about it. It was so hard."
Now, Tiffany is learning how to drive and enjoying her first relationship. Her boyfriend, Tanner Saddler, said he had no idea Tiffany had brain surgery until she told him.
"I feel like I was being bounded by everything. Now that I'm free, I can actually be who I am," Allen said.
There was one drawback from the surgery. Tiffany's reading ability has regressed. But, she says it's improving every day. She dreams of becoming a nurse someday. It's something that would never have been possible without the surgery.
WFMY News 2