TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A groundbreaking treatment against seizures is helping one Ole Miss student live a normal life.
The treatment is called Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy. Maggie Bushway, 21, is the first in Mississippi to successfully use the newest generation.
At 7-years-old, Bushway was diagnosed with brain cancer and epilepsy. She has been cancer free since her ninth birthday, but her seizures became much worse. Bushway says she would have hundreds a day. Then, she was in and out of the hospital until she was 12, and that is when her life changed at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
"They were thinking about doing a surgery where they turn off half of my brain and they decided to do the VNS instead," said Bushway. "It was a last minute decision."
A last minute decision that would give Bushway the chance to live a more independent life.
"I went to the neurologist a couple weeks ago and with this new technology, he is able to see how many seizures I've had and in the middle of the night like when I'm sleeping," said Bushway. "It stopped at least 10 seizures inn the few weeks that I had it."
VNS Therapy is a device that connects to the vagus nerve, a nerve that connects the brain to the body.
“The device will give a little extra stimulus to hopefully abort this from developing into a full time seizure,” says Dr. Louis Rosa III at the North Mississippi Medical Center.
Dr. Rosa surgically implanted Bushway's VNS device. He knows first hand how successful this treatment can be; his son uses a different generation of VNS Therapy.
Recently, Bushway opened doors for those in Mississippi and even around the world.
"She’s the first one to have that new device which has been approved by the FDA in the end of 2017,” says Dr. Rosa.
Since the implantation of the device, Bushway rediscovered her passion for storytelling and film making.
“Alot of my characters have disabilities or emotional problems that they’re dealing with and I like people to relate to my characters and see that there’s hope,” says Bushway.
The VNS device allows Bushway to live on her own as a student at Ole Miss.
"I was pretty close to dying and we would do anything at that point," says Bushway. "The VNS was kind of like a miracle for us."