Teen left with half a brain after rare procedure to end devastating seizures
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A brave teen has undergone a rare and dangerous operation to remove half her brain to stop her daily seizures.
Imogen Golder, 16, is learning how to talk and walk again after surgeons disconnected the left side of her brain from her body.
It means the dog-loving teen from Penzance, Cornwall, lost control of her right side of her body – including her vision in the right side of both eyes.
Her mum Karen Golder said she was "so proud" of her daughter but admitted it was "tough" to see her struggling to speak.
Immi suffers from a very rare condition called Rasmussen's encephalitis which causes progressively worse seizures, Cornwall Live reports.
They started when she was four and she has spent most of the last few years sleeping from exhaustion.
Brave Immi underwent the risky operation on November 4 to stop the disease spreading to the right side of her brain.
She is now starting a two-year rehabilitation after the surgery left her seizure-free for the first time in over a decade.
Mum Karen Golder, 47, welcomed the "completely remarkable" news but added: "It's tough right now.
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"At the moment she can't talk but has some words starting to come. The other day she said 'wait a minute' as I was leaving so it's those instinctual things that are coming back.
“Immi has always used her vocabulary and her voice really well and it's hard now she is not talking."
She said even an Alexa advert on television left her in tears recently when it said "all you need is your voice", adding: "It just made me so emotional because I really need my daughter to be able to speak.
“I think she is going to retain her quirky character but cognitively she might not pick things up again.
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“I like quick results and now we are embarking on this rehab which is going to be really long. But I am so proud of her and she is doing so well and just going for it the whole way."
She and her husband Murray Golder, 50, were both missionaries living in Asia with Imogen and their son Jed, now 18, when Immi's right arm "just stopped working" in 2008.
Back in the UK, doctors first suggested she might have the disease three years ago. There are no more than two cases identified by large epilepsy centres, charity experts say.
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A year later, surgeons took a five-centimetre cylinder section from Immi's brain which enabled them to confirm that it was in fact Rasmussen's encephalitis.
Karen is currently with her husband in Birmingham where they can only visit their daughter in hospital separately due to the pandemic.
The causes of encephalitis are not well understood but where one is found it is usually an infection or a problem with the immune system, according to the NHS.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for food and accommodation as they travel between Birmingham and their son back in Cornwall.
- In the News
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