Burnley woman to undergo pioneering brain surgery

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A BRAVE young woman who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy has finally been granted a pioneering operation which could change her life.

Alyce-Jayne Stockdale, of Burnley, has endured dangerous blackouts since she was 18 months old and has hundreds of small seizures every day.

The 21-year-old, who needs round-the-clock care, has been battling for the right to get a radical new “deep brain stimulation” operation at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust. But she has now won her fight with the NHS and is to undergo the complex procedure on Tuesday.

After scores of unsuccessful brain operations, Alyce-Jayne hopes this operation could give her a life she has always wanted.

She said: “It is brilliant news. It has been going on for so long. It is awful living with this condition. I think it will make a big difference to my life.”

The operation involves a metal pacemaker being inserted into her brain. Despite the dangers, Alyce-Jayne wants her epilepsy nightmare to be over and is dreaming of enrolling in college, driving and getting a job.

Her brother Warren (30) said: “It provides hope for her where before there was none. If doctors get things right she can start afresh. It will give her social mobility. We are hoping it will bring the seizures under control. Even if it means a 50% reduction it will have been worthwhile.”

The condition deprived her of a normal childhood and she was confined to a wheelchair in high school. She has undergone countless operations up to last year when part of her brain was severed to prevent seizures. The procedure looked to have worked but two weeks later her condition worsened and now she has difficulty speaking.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who has been fighting for the operation with Alyce-Jayne and her family, was delighted the NHS finally agreed to the op.

He said: “It has been a long process with lots of highs and lows. Everybody wanted the operation to happen – her GP, the hospital, consultants in Newcastle – it was just the bureaucrats.

“Alyce-Jayne has been unbelievably brave just wants to get on with it. It is a risky operation but it will change her life. We hope it all goes well.”