My name is Van Tuan Chau. I am 40 years of age. I have been having epilepsy for 36 years. I have epilepsy since I was a kid in Vietnam when I was 4 years old. Since my first seizure, I have been taking a medicine call Dilantin. But before my seizure incident, nothing really severe happen, not even a slight fall from the stairs. Also, it is not hereditary either.
But anyway, after my first seizure, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. To understand epilepsy, if a person have a seizure just once, it is not epilepsy. But I am sure after my first seizure incident, more seizures happened to be called epilepsy. Afterward, Vietnam seemed to be a place not suitable to have epilepsy because there was a period of time when my parents struggled to get me to the hospital. So my parents decided it is better if we came to San Francisco, California.
Upon arrival to San Francisco, California, my parents used a few years to settle down and I began in the 3rd grade. I was about 8-9 years old, then. About two years after, I attended William R’ De Avila elementary school. Afterwards, I graduated after attending the 5th grade. Maybe I was blessed. I did not have any serious seizures during the period. I still have low self-esteem and was unwilling to play with kids my age.
In about year of 1985-1986, I started in middle school and went from the 6th thru the 8th grade. I finally graduated after these 3 years in middle school. But I did not make any real close friends because of my health condition. Most kids around my age went to play after school. But I mostly went home after school feeling lonely even there was no curfew. I can say that I lost my childhood years.
As the year 1989 was approaching, I went to study at George Washington High School. After graduating in the year 1992, I went to city college of San Francisco for 3 years and transferred to San Francisco State University. After graduation, I went to City College of San Francisco and study there for 3 years. Afterward, I transferred to San Francisco State University. As I struggled through college, I get more encounters and begin to have more life experiences.
In my final year in SFSU, I finally graduated in the year 2000 and earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration. After my college graduation, I switched between jobs and have about 7+ years of working experience. During my job seeking period, I decided to volunteer at various places and even at a church I used to attend. Now I attend a different church. As a volunteer at church, I help out by passing out free groceries to the public.
From my childhood year up to now, I have changed a lot of anti-epileptic drugs or aeds. My first aeds was Dilantin. Afterward, there were more aeds that I have taken, including Keppra, Keppra XR, Tegretol, etc. The list goes on and on. But that wasn’t enough. Of course, if the aeds have benefits, it also has side-effects. Some of the side-effects of the aeds were loss of memory and drowsiness, etc.
Before, I take the aeds 3 times a day. Recently, after my 2 brain surgeries and my other surgeries, with half of the bad tissue taken out, I just need to take it twice a day. Before my total of 7 surgeries, I have auras or a feeling of when the next seizure is coming. But right now, I don’t have auras anymore. To be on the safe side, I was recommended to wear a Medic-Alert bracelet. In closing, as a Christian with a positive attitude of life, I hope miracles will happen to me soon. Thanks for reading. GOD bless. Amen.
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Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.