I had my first seizure when I was 18 months old. I then had a seizure aged 8 and one a year later. I was diagnosed with epilepsy and, later on, it transpired that I had photosensitive epilepsy too.
I have been on medication since I was about 14, including sodium valproate for more than 15 years. It controlled my seizures eventually, but I had no quality of life. In December 2010, after years of being tired all of the time, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue.
By a stroke of luck, I ended up with a different consultant and he suggested that I change medication. Over a period of 18 months, I withdrew from my medication and started a newer drug. Within 3 months of coming off sodium valproate, I had lost 20% of my body weight. Within 6 months I had found my mojo and the chronic fatigue ebbed away.
I’m now on Keppra. Anyone who knew me before says that I’m like a different person. I can think straight, I can remember things, I don’t get as tired as I used to do and I don’t feel depressed. I’m very conscious that nobody knows about the long term side effects of taking the medication I now take so I make sure that I make the most of my life and take every opportunity I can to make a difference whilst I can do.
Epilepsy no longer defines who I am or what I do. Only I can do that.