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Vagus nerve stimulator is reducing seizure activity for Xavier Chapa

By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor

The Tomahawk has previously introduced its readers to Xavier Chapa who suffered from countless seizures, sometimes up to 80 a day. While these episodes involved eye fluttering or maybe stumbling as he was walking and were not grand mal seizures, they still were playing havoc on his brain.

Recently Xavier’s parents and neurologist made the decision to implant a vagus nerve stimulator to held reduce the numbers of seizures he experienced daily. The device is set to give him what has been described as a little jolt that interferes with the seizures, causing them to decrease in number. According to Xavier’s mother, Julie Chapa, the decision was made a bit easier when the neurologist informed her that Xavier was at risk for dying during one of these episodes, not because of the severity but for the sheer number he was experiencing on a daily basis. An attempt at controlling the amount of his carbohydrate intake had worked for a while, but the severity of the diet made it difficult to provide enough food Xavier would eat. It soon became a fight to get him to eat at all. One of Xavier’s teachers reported that he had started taking cookies from his classmates during lunch break. He is now five years old.

The vagus nerve stimulator was implanted on December 9th, and to date several adjustments have already been made to get Xavier to a therapeutic level. According to Chapa, more changes may be needed. “We’ve seen a lot fewer seizures,” she said. “They are barely perceptible as they are milder and much shorter in duration. I think it’s more than 50 percent less seizures now.”

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.xavier