Chris Murto had two choices: antiepileptic medication and adhering to a very strict diet called the ketogenic diet, which is loaded with fat and few carbohydrates. Both helped, but Murto continued to experience a high number of seizures.
"They took a toll on me," he said.
"Chris would roll around holding his head and say it hurt. They were totally out of control, one every few minutes," Maura Murto said.
At one point, he said to his mother, "Why won't God just let me die?"
Maura Murto fought back tears, remembering the day. "I told him I believed there was a purpose and would find a way to help him," she said.
Dr. Nakaji was able to help, using a new kind of surgery that uses MRI technology to pinpoint the tumor and destroy the mass.
Nakaji cut a two-millimeter incision in Murto's skull to insert the laser catheter.
"The laser gently heats up the hamartoma and cooks it to death," he said. "The tissue is dead and the body absorbs the melted cells."
The surgery involves a single stitch and only one night's stay in the hospital.
Now, two months past surgery, Murto said he still experiences fatigue but is "contemplative and relieved" about his future, hoping eventually to find a job programming the computer games he likes to play.
"This surgery has changed my life," Murto said. "It's amazing to have instantly gone from having 250 seizures a month to not having one. After all these years, I'm finally able to live an independent life."