Lance Rice, a 17-year-old with severe hemophilia A, underwent brain surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in November 2006, to halt epileptic seizures that were not controlled by standard medications. The surgery has become increasingly more common in children and adults whose seizures are localized in certain areas of the brain. Still, there were some added risks because of Lance’s bleeding disorder. The operation was highlighted in a November 27, 2006, feature story in USA Today.
Since the surgery, Lance has had one setback--contracting an infection in his central line that landed him in the hospital for three days. Other than that, his progress has been swift and remarkable.
Deepak Lachhwani, MD, Lance’s pediatric epileptologist at the Cleveland Clinic, was “very happy with how Lance responded post-surgery,” said Michelle Rice, Lance’s mother. She is the executive director of Hemophilia of Indiana, a chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF). Lance had minimal bleeding and was home in about two weeks. “I share e-mails with Dr. Lachhwani probably every week,” she said. “He likes to say, ‘I remain cautiously optimistic with one foot on the ground.’”
Lance has been seizure-free since the surgery—more than 120 days and counting. He has returned to Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis to complete his junior year, after receiving daily home-bound instruction provided by three of his teachers in December and January. He is slowly being weaned from one of the anti-seizure medications and eventually from all three.
More importantly, Lance is starting to gain confidence when it comes to expanding his circle of friends, planning his future and becoming more independent. “Before, he used to be constantly wondering when the next seizure was going to happen,” said Michelle. “Now, he doesn’t think about it much.” If he has no seizures for six months, he will be able to apply for a driver’s license in May—something he could not have considered before the surgery. Lance has a summer job lined up at a golf course and is considering applying to out-of-state colleges next year.
Lance lost 20 pounds after the surgery, grew almost two inches and just seems more mature, said Michelle. “His progress has surpassed all of our expectations,” she added.
The Rice family has created a CaringBridge Web site to post journal entries on Lance’s progress and receive visitors’ notes in the Guestbook section. To access the site, go to: www.caringbridge.org/visit/lancerice.