For 20 years, Michael Maletta lived in fear. Because of the constant threat of seizures, there were days he was afraid to drive or go to work for his home improvement business.
Michael, 49, had averaged one to three seizures a year since his late20s. Last year, after suffering four seizures in a single day, the Adelphi resident sought treatment at Holy Cross Hospital. “That’s what changed my life forever,” he says.
Holy Cross Hospital has one of the region’s most sophisticated epilepsy programs, led by neurologists specially trained in epilepsy. One of these epileptologists, Gregory Mathews, MD, started Michael down the path to a new life.
"I met Michael when he came into the hospital after having seizures," says Dr. Mathews. "Many times people come to us because their treatments aren’t controlling their seizures. With epilepsy, you need the correct diagnosis to know what you’re dealing with. Some medicines are better for some types of seizures than others."
Much of this detective work is done in Holy Cross Hospital’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, with technologically advanced tests to pinpoint where seizures originate in a patient’s brain. With that data, Holy Cross Hospital’s epileptologists can respond with the proper treatment, which may involve medications, diet, implanted devices to control seizures or brain surgery.
The Right Diagnosis
Michael was in the hospital for a head injury unrelated to his epilepsy when Dr. Mathews suggested that Michael spend a few of his days away from work in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. During Michael’s stay, the epilepsy team safely withdrew him from all medication and monitored and assessed his seizures when they occurred.
"We learned that Michael’s epilepsy involved his entire brain throughout the seizure, so it was not treatable by surgery,” says Dr. Mathews. “But we could see he wasn’t taking the right type of medicine.”
A Permanent Improvement
In just one admission to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Dr. Mathews and his team were able to diagnose the source of Michael’s seizures, prescribe the right medication and ultimately give Michael his life back.
"My company’s slogan is 'A Temporary Inconvenience for a Permanent Improvement,'" says Michael. "You could say the same thing about the Monitoring Unit."
Michael has been completely seizure free since March, when he started his new medication. "I have such a clear head. I feel incredible. And I live completely without fear, thanks to Dr. Mathews and Holy Cross Hospital."