LIVING WITH EPILEPSY
TELL US YOUR STORY:
I don't let my epilepsy control my life!
My name is Sally-Anne and I am 28yrs old. I was diagnosed with epliepsy aged 14 at christmas. It took them several years to get it fully under control. I attended the the epilepsy clinic at our local hospital and was under the care of specialist Sister Sarah Goodman. It felt more like going to see a friend than going to the hospital. I have been seizure free for 7 years now, I work as a Learning Support Assistant at the local college my epilpesy does not affect my life apart from remembering to take my medication however my husband Paul is very good at reminding me! I lead a full life including sports cricket, rugby and football.
A positive Mental Attitude is what I believe in!
How it all began…
My life with epilepsy all began as an inquisitive 3-year-old, into everything.
I climbed up some gates and fell onto my head, causing meningitis. As a knock on effect of the meningitis I developed epilepsy.
In one way you could say I was lucky because at that time medication was only just available, the usual outcome was death.
I started having seizures from then on.
During my time through my schooling, the local education system was adamant that I went to a school for children with disabilities. But my parents fought the system, so I was able to go to the local primary school.
From the age of 3 until I was 12 I was having seizures on a daily basis. I would see several consultant neurologists who all reacted differently with treatment or referring me to see my GP (who I trusted above any consultant because I had seen him since I was a baby).
In some cases, you feel like a human guinea pig with the changing of the medications. It’s all about trial and error until they find something that works.
During my days at school I was constantly bullied as a result of my epilepsy. I missed valuable schooling and I wasn’t correctly assessed for my capabilities so I would be put into lowest sets for each subject.
After the age of 12 my epilepsy had stopped. But then at age 17 it returned just as I was in the process of getting my provisional driving license. All the doctors couldn’t understand why and concluded that it was due to my hormones at the time. I was constantly fitting.
Discrimination at work..
I was again discriminated against, this time at work. I was both bullied and victimised by employers. In one case, the company owner said that they didn’t want to employ me anymore because of my seizure pattern whilst I was at work.
His attitude was as if epilepsy was contagious.
He would quarantine me away from the others. After I told my parents what was going on, they decided that I should quit the job.
I went to job interviews, all with a similar outcome. The interviewers saw I had admitted to epilepsy and then terminated the interview.
As I reached my 19th birthday the seizures stopped, although I was still taking the medication. The following February I was sent to the Chalfont Hospital for Epilepsy where I stayed for 4 months being monitored with EEG tests and brain scans. I also had a psychiatric assessment to assess for my independence for work and education potential..
After my epilepsy was stabilised my parents and I had a conversation about what I would like to do as a career, bear in mind I had no qualifications from school. I said would like to be an accountant or lawyer.
When I was 22 I went to see a disability advisor at the local job centre, who recommended that I go to a disability college in Mansfield for a year.
I was taught about accounting and business studies, which I would then use to get on to an A-level business studies course which I passed with merits overall. This earned me a place on a degree course in Accounting and Law at Southampton University. Unfortunately, due to the accommodation fees I was unable to afford it.
I met a girl who became pregnant, which put a stop to my career plan. We separated and I got offered a place on a law degree course at De Montfort University which I graduated from in 2011.
Positive Mental Attitude
Currently, I’m still taking my medication and I’m still seizure free since I was 19. My independence is as close to normality as possible, what with working and driving my car, which goes to prove that anything is possible.
So be positive and stay focused and eventually you will achieve your goals.