When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I originally found refuge with the Dan Marino Center. I was treated using Depakote ER, which worked for the time; however, I grew immunity to it at the age of 17. I had convulsive seizures in school and had to be taken to the hospital multiple times. It actually caused me to miss so much school that I was unable to graduate senior year because I was short 2 half credits. This issue was only the beginning of my struggle; I also lost my front teeth during a grand mal seizure when I hit them on my handlebars while riding my bike to work, as well as lost my job after having a seizure at work at Boston Market; my manager considered me a “liability” and laid me off. It was 2009, I went to search for help, I called the Dan Marino center for help.
Epilepsy Florida started immediately to assist me on the road to overcoming the seemingly insurmountable odds. They helped me get a neurologist to help with my treatment, as well as opened my eyes to the realization that I am not the only one living with epilepsy. The organization had awareness walks, annual dinners, social youth groups, art functions, and other ways to bring people with epilepsy support and assistance. Their services helped me get EEGs, medications, lab work, and doctor visits both neurological and psychological. I was paired with
Epilepsy Florida with their caring staff, with special regards to my social worker Rachel Stevens, helped me build my confidence and faith, and I went to an alternative facility to get my High School Diploma, which I did within just a few months and graduated. I continued pushing forward never giving up, I found jobs to make ends meet; I was forced to ride my bike long distances to get where I needed to go. I went to every function they held as much as I could, I even met my soon to be
As for my epilepsy, I realized at a young age that I will always have to deal with this disorder. I will have to maintain a careful low-stress life and continue to stay on my medication as directed. I’m now on an alternative to Keppra called Briviact, a similar medication with better side effects. I go to the future with a positive mind and strong-willed attitude, and also will be with Epilepsy Florida for as long as I can.