The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 25, 2014

Surgery changes woman's life

She’s ‘blessed’ to have 2nd chance

JOHNSTOWN — Ask Megan Adams-West if miracles happen and she’ll tell you she’s living proof that they do.

The 29-year-old Johnstown resident shared her story in the Feb. 3 issue of Woman’s World magazine, which is on newsstands now, of battling epilepsy since she was diagnosed at age 8, and the life-changing surgery she had three years ago that eliminated her seizures.

She sent her story to the national publication with the idea of helping others who may be in a similar situation and to offer them hope.

“God has kept me here for a reason, and I’m just blessed to have a second chance,” Adams-West said.

Although it was a challenge growing up, Adams-West was able to keep the seizures under control.

But that changed when she became pregnant.

“At this point I was having up to 12 seizures a day, and I lost my driver’s license. I couldn’t work and had to collect disability,” she said. “I thought my life was over. I felt depressed and had to have everyone take care of me.”

On Oct. 5, 2008, Adams-West and her husband, Stewart West, welcomed their son, Reece.

Unfortunately, her joy and excitement of having a healthy baby was short-lived because the seizures continued to get worse.

“I couldn’t be alone with my son and that killed me,” she said.

Doctors and neurologists kept prescribing more medication.

“I was taking up to 13 pills a day and gaining a lot of weight,” Adams-West said. “Nothing was working.”

But after meeting with a local epileptologist, a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy, she was finally given some encouraging news. The doctor looked at her numerous tests and scans and was able to show Adams-West exactly what was causing her seizures.

“For 18 years not one doctor saw that in my tests,” she said. “I was told I could be seizure-free if I had brain surgery.”

The decision to have the surgery was a hard one because the procedure could affect her memory, speech and vision or leave her mentally handicapped.

“I had to go through with it because I had dreams I wanted to accomplish in life, and I wanted to be a mother without somebody helping me,” Adams-West said.

She had the operation Aug. 16, 2010, at Memorial Medical Center, and other than some short-term memory loss, the surgery was a success.

“I kept getting better and better and no seizures,” Adam-West said. “After six months, I got my driver’s license back and was able to work again. Today, I’m living seizure-free and it’s been great.”

Adams-West, who has a degree in pastry arts, spent many years working from home baking cakes, cookies and cupcakes for weddings and showers, and now that her health is good, she’s ready to cross off one of the items on her bucket list.

She plans to open her own bakery, Nutmegz, March 1 on Scalp Avenue in Richland Township and specialize in gourmet cupcakes.

“This is why I say miracles do happen,” Adams-West said.

“I went from being sick, not able to work and could not take care of my son to a healthy mother who is starting her own business.”

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.

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