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Epilepsy Blog Relay: A Lifetime with epilepsy and a little help from VNS

March 12

Betty Gail’s Story

My journey with epilepsy began at the very young age of 6 months old. I contracted meningitis, and needed brain surgery to remove fluid that had built up on my brain. Then at about the age of nine, the seizures started. My doctors always assumed that they came from the meningitis I had as a baby.

Medication

I started taking phenobarital first. Like many other people, I tried many medications through the years, none of which controlled the seizures for any length of time. Some actually made me have more seizures.

My life from childhood through the teen years, and even my time as a young adult, was very challenging. Trying to maintain some form of normalcy while having seizures, taking the medications, and recovering from them made life unbearable at times.

Surgery

In 1991 I had a left temporal lobe brain surgery, and I was seizure free for approximately 10 years, but then the seizures came back. I went back on medicine, but nothing ever controlled them completely. I missed a lot of time from school and work, because the recovery from the seizures was actually worse than the seizure itself. It was very difficult trying to explain to family and friends, and later on to bosses and coworkers, about my epilepsy. I felt misunderstood since the type of seizure I was having there were no visual effects that anybody could actually see. I mostly had them in my sleep.

VNS

The years passed by and I coped the best I could. Then in 2012 a new doctor came to town. I entered the hospital and went through the routine gambit of tests. Turns out that I was a perfect patient for a VNS implant. So, in December of 2012 I had the VNS surgery done, and I have been seizure free for over 4 years now!!!

There are several more chapters in my journey, but I only had time and space for the short version. Thank you for taking the time to read my story! I’m living proof that you should never give up or lose hope! God Bless!!

 


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