HEALTH BATTLE: Jenny Page and son Luke Johnson, who has lesions on his brain and recently had brain surgery to help him get a diagnosis to get a pension.
HEALTH BATTLE: Jenny Page and son Luke Johnson, who has lesions on his brain and recently had brain surgery to help him get a diagnosis to get a pension. Mike Knott BUN140818LUKE5

Awake during brain op, but not sick enough for Centrelink?

THIS man hopes after having open brain surgery, Centrelink will hear his plea and grant him a disability pension.

Luke Johnson, from Bundaberg, has 14 lesions on his brain, which cause seizures and memory loss.

One month ago he sat through the eight-hour open brain operation known as a craniotomy while he was awake.

During the surgery, Mr Johnson was tested by medical specialists to work out why he had the silent seizures.

"I wasn't really scared this time," Mr Johnson said.

"I had to be woken up 20 minutes in so they could ask me questions while they probed my brain."

Earlier this year, the Bundaberg NewsMail spoke with Mr Johnson and his mother Jenny Page, who is also his carer, about her plight to help him.

Ms Page said her son's life was hanging in the balance after he was denied the disability pension.

The seizures can come at any time and cause Mr Johnson to black out or behave uncontrollably.

As a teenager he was a keen soccer player and very active, a typical outgoing boy.

But at 16 he had a number of seizures which sent his life spiralling in a different direction.

He was diagnosed with cavernous malformations, called cavernomas, on his brain.

Mr Johnson said the cavernomas had limited his life and feared seizures coming at any time.

"I want to be a normal person but at the moment I can't be," he said.

"I don't go anywhere alone, I feel isolated."

The condition is a vascular abnormality of the central nervous system that consists of a cluster of abnormal, dilated vessels.

The 26-year-old is not able to have a licence or live independently because of the condition.

Ms Page believed the operation would confirm her son's condition was incurable and that Centrelink wouldn't be able to deny it.

Mr Johnson said he was relieved to finally have answers and hoped the report was enough to help his plea.



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