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Meet Carmen!

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month!

After a 10-hour brain surgery at Seattle Children’s frees her from a life of daily epileptic seizures, this young girl goes on to become a high school volleyball player — and valedictorian.

By Carolyn and Steve Conforti, Carmen’s parents

Our journey with our daughter Carmen began in 2003 when we noticed she wasn’t acting like the happy 3-year-old we knew so well. A week later, we had a diagnosis from Seattle Children’s: Carmen had a tumor in her brain causing a type of epilepsy that was complicated and difficult to control with medication.

Instead of keeping Carmen on medication that would force her to manage side effects for the rest of her life, we opted to remove the part of her brain where the tumor lived.

On the day of surgery, we got calls from the operating room to keep us updated. During one phone call, our nurse said, “I can see Carmen’s brain up on the screen and it looks really healthy.” What a surreal moment!

Carmen had surgery on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, we left the intensive care unit and on Friday we went home. And 16 years later, what stands out most is how everyone who cared for Carmen treated her as if she was their own child.

Because of the surgery that gave our daughter a life without seizures, she can define her own path today. The team at Seattle Children’s lived up to their mission and allowed our daughter to live her healthiest, most fulfilling life possible.