MAYWOOD, Ill. -- The morning after giving birth to a baby boy in 1992, Susan Eik Filstead suffered a stroke that lead to four brain surgeries and a long struggle with epilepsy.
On May 14, Filstead will give a special talk at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine titled "Through Tears and Triumphs -- Living with the Consequences of Stroke and Epilepsy."
Dr. JosÃ© Biller, who has treated Filstead for nearly 18 years, said, "She has had a remarkable saga, and is one of my heroes." Biller is chairman of the Department of Neurology at Stritch.
Stroke is the most common identified cause of epilepsy in adults older than 35. Most strokes are caused by blood clots. The overall incidence of early seizures after such strokes is 2.4 percent to 3.1 percent. Filstead's stroke was caused by bleeding in the brain. The incidence of early seizures after such hemorrhagic strokes is 4.3 percent to 8.5 percent.
"My seizures continue, as does my quest for a seizure-free life," Filstead said.
Filstead's talk is one of two special Grand Rounds presentations the Department of Neurology is sponsoring during May, National Stroke Awareness Month. On May 28, Dr. Steven Lomazow will discuss his provocative new book, "FDR's Deadly Secret." Lomazow believes President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fatal stroke in 1945 was triggered by skin cancer that had spread to his brain and was responsible for the frailty, weight loss and confusion during Roosevelt's last year.
Lomazow is an assistant professor of neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. His co-author is journalist Eric Fettmann.