Trades Piece of Her Brain for End to Seizures

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While the surgical team plotted the best way to overcome the obstacle, MacDonald's family nervously awaited word of how the surgery was progressing.

"We are all just, frazzled," said her aunt, Bothwell.

"If I talk to her and she knows who I am, I will be happy," said her mother, Spataro.

Brain Surgeons Suddenly Confronted With Obstacle

Nearly four hours into the surgery, Bailes was still looking for the best path to the part of McDonald's brain he planned to remove.

"This is sort of like going through a bowl of Jello... with some veins and arteries in it," Bailes said. He persevered and eventually found a way around the vein.

"I had to go to Plan B, and, and change my trajectory and my extent of removal," said Bailes. "We got the anterior part of the temporal lobe, and the amygdale, the important part, out. But from my point of view it seemed to go well. Time of course, will tell."

And so time did. One hour after surgery, MacDonald woke up and was put through a basic test. She passed with flying colors: She wiggled her toes. She remembered her name.

Some 36 hours later, she was ready for a visit from her little girl. As Mychaela sat on her Aunt Karen's lap, they both gave MacDonald a "thumbs up" on her memory, post surgery.

As much as their report pleased Bailes, he was cautiously optimistic about what the future holds for MacDonald.

"Only time will tell. It's very possible that you do your best at removing that part, and then the seizures actually can begin to originate from an area adjacent, or an area remote. So, you just don't know. You take your best educated prediction of where you can believe the seizure's originating, and where you can safely remove, and, so far, she's doing well," Bailes said.

MacDonald's mother said she was happy to take her daughter's progress one day at a time. " I thank God, the doctor, now she will have a normal life. Her and Mychaela can be happy, she can be happy, and but Kristy's back."

Two months after her surgery, MacDonald remains seizure-free.

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