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Family shares story on child's sudden seizures and how they dealt with it

(WEAR) - Seizures occur when the brain short circuits, and there are many reasons that can happen.

One family shares the reason behind their child's sudden seizures and how they dealt with it.

David and Mary Jo Summerlin said they thought school stress was causing their son's face to twitch.

"When Caleb was taking the FCAT, he said that his face was kinda drawing up a little bit," Summerlin said.

An exam revealed Caleb was having seizures. They were getting progressively worse quickly, and the tests showed why.

"Called me Thursday afternoon after the MRI, very upset, and he said it was a tumor," Summerlin said. "The tumor was right here, right frontal lobe."

Pediatric neurosurgeon Matthew Pearson said there is an expression in his field called "the eloquent brain," meaning the brain will tell them just where the problem is.

"The brain maps out to the body parts. The legs are in the middle, the arms, face, and hands come around the side," Pearson said.

Caleb's lesion was right in the motor area where it would affect the left side of his face.

Pearson said, "Probably came from a certain set of cells that decided to go bad."

Pearson said the overdivided cells were irritating gray matter, causing Caleb's brain to misfire.

If the tumor was not removed, the seizures would get worse. There was hope in the midst of the difficult decisions.

"He said, I can't a hundred percent, but he said, I can tell you almost for certain that this will not be malignant."

Pearson said with surgery, there was a 75% chance for a total cure for Caleb. He would be off all meds and seizure free for life.

"We did a craniotomy. We exposed the brain, then we could put EEG electrodes directly on the brain and that showed little spikes," said Pearson.

Pearson and his team removed the tumor and checked the surrounding tissue for more damage. "We then put the grids back on and we could still see some firing."

Pearson said they took out the nonfunctioning brain tissue, careful to preserve blood vessels.

He said the small spaced filled in with spinal fluid.

As Pearson predicted, the tumor was not cancerous. He will follow Caleb's progress for ten years to make sure the growth does not return.

"But right now, what's coming back each time is Caleb, and he's normal with full strength," Pearson said. "He is a bright kid, he's pretty good at baseball and he's very happy."