At last! The morning of the 23rd of October 2003 finally arrived. It was a bleak, cold and chilly day and my first brain operation was scheduled to be performed at 8:00am. After a forty five minute drive, my wife Lisa and I arrived at the AustinHospital in Melbourne, Australia. I had been very jittery throughout the journey, talking continuously about anything and everything. We were both exceedingly anxious with the events that were about to take place. Our hands sweaty and clasped tightly together, we nervously followed the signs to the neurology department for my first surgical procedure. As with all hospital admissions there was an abundance of necessary formalities to undergo. Once completed, I soon found myself wearing the unfashionable, ever popular standard hospital attire. With only moments to say goodbye, I was whisked away to the operating theatre.
During the past twenty years epilepsy caused a significant, often frightful, impact on my life and the lives of everyone close to me. For fifteen turbulent years, I operated my own business, managing staff with ever increasing seizure frequency. This created an unstable and at times, highly dangerous working environment. The magnitude of my condition escalated, resulting with a post seizure response of a menacing and sinister nature, prone to violent outbreaks. Whenever a frightening situation occurred not only was I in danger, my staff, and often customers were as well. Individuals perception and understanding of epilepsy clearly showed, which had surprising results. My socially unacceptable behavior ultimately influenced me to undergo two major brain operations, in the hope of gaining seizure freedom.
Enduring the postoperative healing process was unlike anything I had ever experienced, absolutely unimaginable. My surgery involved having a golf ball sized part of my brain being resected, in contrast to removing something off the brain itself; a form of rewiring took place. This sent my mind into a tailspin defying any sense of logic and reason.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts on Stuart’s experience and on the broader issue of increasing epilepsy awareness. What are some ways you have made headway in increasing awareness?