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Epilepsy Blog Relay: Life with Epilepsy in Kenya

epilepsy in KenyaThis post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™, which will run from June 1 to June 30, 2018.  Follow along!

Rich’s Story

Symptoms of having Epilepsy were evident but not confirmed by a medical practitioner since 2002. Due to lack of epilepsy information I lived with it until the episodes exceeded. I was given some medication to take on a daily basis. In 2009, I personally initiated the journey to determine the cause of the condition.

Diagnosed with epilepsy in Kenya

Due to the premium pricing of the MRI & CT Scan services in my country, Kenya i choose to do a CT scan as it was more affordable to my family members. The report wasn’t detailed but I was diagnosed with epilepsy and given a list of drugs to control the condition and encouraged to attend to some check ups. The check ups didn’t make any difference, the neurologist only changed the dosage at every visit. I gave up as the check ups were costly and made no impact.

Carbamazepine & Rivotril are the drugs I have been using since 2009 to date. My age and weight are the primary determinants a local medical practitioner has been using to fix my dosage.

Education and Epilepsy

My A level education wasn’t easy for me. I had to re-read assignments, sometimes three times, to grasp the content. I noted some memory issues. Due to the effort though, I scored a B-. My three years in college weren’t that hectic as I only chose to read when I was comfortable. (Reading had turned to be stressful to some point of which I avoided as it was a trigger to my seizures). I completed my Diploma in Administration with an Upper Credit and was comfortable with the score basing on the ability to hold the content for longer. I understood it was a primary side effect of the anti-epileptic drugs i was on.

Life after college wasn’t easy, I tried to work in a restaurant but couldn’t manage due to the working conditions which were triggering several episodes at the workplace. Wth no workers health insurance, the employer couldn’t accommodate me but had the courtesy to give me a chance and decide if I could keep working for the company. For the sake of my health, I had to quit the job.

I had some 20 USD savings, I chose to venture in business as an alternative to other forms of employment. I have been working so hard with my condition being one of my motivators. I begun the business small, to date I can list some of my achievements.

Life in Kenya with epilepsy

Relationship wise most ladies couldn’t accept to go beyond marriage for reasons I assumed were my condition. The situation was really depressing until I met a lady whom on the first night at my place managed to do some first aid after I had a seizure. I concentrated on her & thanked her for her amazing effort. After some months of dating I officially married the lady. We are happily married, I experience less seizures as there’s someone in to listen to me by the end of the day. Though my daily activities are always tiresome from 6am to 8 pm. I believe my wife has helped reduce my triggers.

Persons living with epilepsy in Kenya find it difficult to access affordable medical services, lack of support to advocacy groups, awareness on epilepsy management and control. The government systems don’t actualize epilepsy related policies. Epilepsy drugs are expensive with limited price control by the governments. With these factors pending, number of persons living with epilepsy keep rising. Advocacy should be done to educate the public on epilepsy as part of the Persons with Disability (Pwd’s) and accord them necessary psychological support.

NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post by Brodi at livingwellwithepilepsy.com.

TWITTER CHAT: Save the date for the  #LivingWellChat on June 30 at 7PM ET.

epilepsy blog relayLiving Well With Epilepsy’s Epilepsy Blog Relay™ is an epilepsy awareness movement to designed to maximize collaboration and eliminate stigma. Thank you to our generous sponsors and partners!

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