This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™, which will run from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, 2017. Follow along!
I can still remember the day that I graduated from pharmacy school in 2005. As I walked across the brightly lit stage in my cap and gown, I was overcome with emotion. I was happy that I would finally be considered a Doctor of Pharmacy; I was proud of all the work I had put it; and most importantly, I was excited to help patients manage their medications and make an impact on their lives. People would be relying on me to provide them the appropriate medication with the appropriate dose and appropriate directions. Studies show that patients trust the opinion of their pharmacist and value the relationship, sometimes more than that of their doctor. And I was thrilled to build up my own base of patients. But little did I know, that in the distant future, I would have to wear the pharmacist “hat” for my own son, and that he would become my most precious patient.
In 2015, my son, Stavros, contracted autoimmune encephalitis and as a result experienced hundreds of seizures. In the two years following his initial diagnosis, he underwent numerous treatments, including IV steroids, immunosuppressants, epilepsy meds and even chemotherapy. But despite the aggressive therapy, he still struggles with seizures. His initial diagnosis has now led us to a new diagnosis: epilepsy.
As a pharmacist, I am aware of the long road that many epilepsy patients travel to get to that magic medication therapy that allows them to live as normally as possible. I have read the clinical trials and reviewed the data on new drug therapies and even medical devices that have helped patients with epilepsy. As a pharmacist, I recognize that Stavros might be in the 30% of patients whom don’t respond to therapy and might always struggle with seizures.
As a mom to a child with epilepsy, I want to hold him in my arms and make it all go away, the seizures, the medication changes, the side effects. I want to see him excel at everything he wishes to pursue. This is when my pharmacist hat comes off. As his mom, 30% is unacceptable and just like any other mom of a child with an illness, I will never give up or stop fighting for his magic therapy.
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