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Welcome back, Evan.

The 10-month-old North Bend boy, who underwent a more than 10-hour brain operation Nov. 23, is expected to return early this evening with his family from UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.

'Evan has done exceptionally well with his progress, so both neurology and neurosurgery feel comfortable with discharging us!" his father, David Stauff, wrote in an e-mail to The World on Monday.

The Stauff family has stayed in Los Angeles since Nov. 17 so Evan could undergo the surgery to prevent ongoing epileptic seizures and infantile spasms.

He has visibly suffered from the severe seizures since April 1, when he was about 3 months old.

'A kid again'

If the seizures had been left unchecked, doctors believed, they would have severely impacted his development and stunted his IQ so that he wouldn't have been able to care for his own needs.

The uncontrolled seizures also could have led to the boy's death, a UCLA surgeon said.

'We are incredibly excited about Evan's release and the doctor's confidence in his progress," Stauff said.

'It is now time to come home and let Evan start being a kid again!"

Since receiving the hemispherectomy -- separating the left and right hemispheres of the brain to prevent seizures -- Evan has remained seizure free.

Smiling, cooing

'We are seeing great progress in Evan's right-side movement already, and he is smiling and tracking us as well as other people in the room," Stauff wrote.

'He is cooing back at people consistently when they are talking to him, and shows a great deal of personality."

Hospital staff removed staples from the incision area on Monday, and Evan was discharged shortly after.

The surgery, Stauff noted, became more involved than originally expected. The surgical team ended up removing the entire left hemisphere of Evan's brain, instead of just a portion of the lobe.

'This was due in part by how vastly under-developed it was, and how much seizure activity was really taking place once EEG leads were directly placed onto his brain," Stauff wrote.

Spreading the word

Before the Stauffs considered the radical surgery, they tried multiple medications and a special diet to curb Evan's seizures, but those had no staying affect.

Stauff said one of his goals now is to spread the word about epilepsy and hemispherectomies to parents in similar situations. They need to know that they have options, he explained.

Follow Evan's progress and learn more about infant seizures at www.evanstauff.com.

Those interested in donating toward Evan's medical expenses can also visit the website or any US Bank branch to donate to the Evan Stauff Donation Account.

Reporter Jessica Musicar can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240; or at jmusicar@theworldlink.com.

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