By Catherine Duncan
|Shown at Charly’s doctor’s appointment are (left to right) Charles Szabo, M.D.; Charly’s mother, Erika Seamanduras; Carlos “Charley” Camacho and his twin brothers, Erik and Jesus Camacho, who performed on the reality TV show. Click on photo to see a larger view.|
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In Mexico City, twin brothers and their friend auditioned for a new reality television show called “Lo Que Más Quieres,” which is produced by multimedia magnate Televisa. The new nine-part singing competition pits three singing teams against each other each week. The winner of each week’s contest can have, as the show’s name says, “what you want most.”
Twins Erik and Jesus Camacho, 19, and friend Marco Chávez won their competition on the show which aired March 17, but they decided to give their wish to the twins’ younger brother, Carlos “Charly” Camacho, 17, who started having seizures at age 12. Charly’s dream in life was to see an epilepsy expert in the United States who could accurately diagnosis and treat his medical issues. A dream come true
A representative from Televisa in Mexico City contacted the Epilepsy Foundation in Washington, D.C., for assistance. The national headquarters then contacted the Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas in San Antonio.
Sindi Rosales, executive director of the local epilepsy foundation, called Charles Szabo, M.D.
, a neurologist and epilepsy specialist with UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Dr. Szabo, professor and chief of epilepsy at the Health Science Center, agreed to see Charly. Rosales helped to schedule the EEG and MRI prior to the appointment.
With their mother, Erika Seamanduras, the three brothers traveled to San Antonio in late January with the reality TV crew filming their trip and medical appointments. After an EEG at University Hospital and an MRI at the Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC), Seamanduras and Charly sat down with Dr. Szabo.
Dr. Szabo said he does not believe Charly had been previously seen by an epilepsy expert or even a neurologist. Charly and his family did not have the diagnosis of his type of epilepsy, he added.Diagnosis
“Charly has what is called juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Coincidentally, JME is also my main research interest,” Dr. Szabo said. “His mother wanted to know if brain surgery could cure his seizures. I told them that Charly did not have the type of epilepsy that can be treated with surgery.”
The family seemed reassured by the diagnosis, he said. “While we were talking, he had little seizures, lasting a second at the most. That means his medication needs to be optimized. I assured them that his seizures were likely to be controlled with medical treatment,” Dr. Szabo. Continuing treatment closer to Charly’s home
Dr. Szabo, who speaks Spanish, told the family about epilepsy specialists in Mexico City. “I made the contact in Mexico City for them so he can start getting treated there by a specialist,” he said.
Charly was thrilled to be seen by an epilepsy expert in the U.S. “Dr. Szabo took his time talking to me. I will follow the treatment the doctor says. He told me to make sure I get enough sleep and to eat well,” he said. Dr. Szabo had explained to him that sleep deprivation was an important trigger for seizures in people with JME.
The teenager was relieved that Dr. Szabo told him he can live a normal life. “He told me I need to be very responsible, take my medicine and take care of myself,” Charly explained. Community partnerships at work
Dr. Szabo said the experience with Charly and the Mexican TV network shows the great relationship UT Medicine San Antonio has with the Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas.
“Our epilepsy specialists have been servicing their clinics. The Epilepsy Foundation, on the other hand, offers many social services, enrollment in medication programs, diagnostic testing, support groups and other services to those diagnosed with epilepsy,” he explained. “We have become natural partners. We provide medical care. They do everything else.”