I am a 40-year-old man with epilepsy. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at 8 years of age. Prior to my diagnosis, I knew something was wrong but did not say anything to my parents. When my father first saw me having a seizure, we quickly saw a doctor. The news that I had epilepsy was shocking to both me and my famiy, but that news did not stop me from living my life as best I could.
During my elementary years, I played baseball, soccer, and track while going through the ups and downs of living with epilepsy. Various doctors during the early years tried to figure out a good medicine combination to make my seizures decrease, but there were not as many drugs to chose from as we have currently. During my middle school and high school years doctors always had trouble finding the right seizure drug combination as I was having about 5-6 seizures a month.
During my high school years, I played adapted hockey and soccer and also became the varsity student manager for both baseball and girls basketball. After high school, I obtained an associate degree in graphic design from Dakota County Technical College.
As a working adult, my continued seizures affected how many hours I could work per week. I then decided to research different types of surgeries because my medicine wasn’t consistantly effective. My doctors advised a Vegas Nerve Stimulator. At the beginning it helped to decrease my seizures a little, but today, several years later, it is helping considerably more than before. About 8 years ago, I switched over to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota and medical marijuana was added to help decrease my seizures.
For along time, I have been be an advocate for epilepsy awareness and education which includes the ups and downs of living with the disease. I even started a blog called brettsepilepsy.com. My blog topics include depression, schooling, driving and other major topics for those living daily with seizures. I am proud to say my hard work paid off with my website. A New York-based company asked me and other epilepsy bloggers to meet together to find ways to spread epilepsy awareness throughout the country.
I do not let epilepsy stop me and I have a good part-time job. I keep striving and am creative when a challenge comes my way. I continue doing my epilepsy blog because educating others helps everyone. I feel lucky to have a great support system dealing with epilepsy in my own life.