HOUSTON — Wesley Hicks has made some big strides in life.

Born at 31 weeks with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain and infantile spasms, a severe and complex form of epilepsy, Wesley has undergone six brain surgeries.

Still, the 4-year-old is thriving.

His parents, Jasmine and Andre, say a team of doctors with UT Physicians have helped their son through is medical hurdles.

Dr. Michael Watkins, a pediatric neurologist, credits the Hicks for recognizing the earliest signs of epilepsy in their son.

“He’s been spasm-free for a long time now, and we’ve actually been able to wean him of some medications,” Dr. Watkins said.

Epilepsy is when abnormal brain activity causes seizures or even loss of consciousness. It’s the fourth-most common neurological disorder and it affects people of all ages.

Some types of epilepsy have a genetic component, but anyone can have a seizure, especially someone who has experienced head trauma.

Dr. Watkins said an electroencephalogram, or EEG, can usually determine whether the abnormal activity is happening over the entire brain, or in a specific location of the brain. 

Doctors use a variety of medications to control and ultimately stop seizures.  Surgery is also an option for those who don’t respond to medication.

“A cure is always the ultimate goal,” Dr. Watkins said.

Being seizure-free is now allowing Wesley to catch up to his developmental milestones.

“We’ll always be there for him,” said Andre Hicks, Wesley’s dad, “but our dream is that he can one day, care for himself and be his own man.”

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