I developed epilepsy in my early twenties when I had a small seizure while driving. I went to hospital to get checked out and was diagnosed.
Further tests showed I’d a partial seizure and these continued to get more frequent, up to 5 a day at the beginning. I was put on medication but 20 years and a lot of different meds later, I still take seizures although they now only happen monthly.
Around 2006, an MRI scan revealed a scar on my right temporal lobe and I was offered brain surgery. I was sent to the Sir William Gower's centre in London and spent 3 days in there. However, another MRI scan showed that the scar was located somewhere else, between the right and central lobes which ruled out any chances of surgery.
Going to that hospital was a huge eye opener for me. I thought my epilepsy was severe until I saw other people with my own eyes, who were really affected mentally and physically from this horrible condition. I will never forget that experience.
Another major moment along my epilepsy journey was back in 2009. I was in Miami with my now ex-wife, celebrating our wedding anniversary. On the last day of the holiday I took a seizure in the sea. According to my ex-wife, my head went under the water with my mouth open, taking in all the water. Two strangers dragged me out and, because I wasn't breathing, started doing CPR until the emergency services arrived.
I spent 4 days in a coma in Mount Sinai hospital and awoke to see my brother and sister standing in front of me. I was told that I was dead for about 3 minutes on the beach. If it wasn’t for those two men, I wouldn't be telling this story now!
Going through that experience has taught me to take nothing for granted, taking each day as it comes. I now work as a support worker in mental health and learning disabilities. Every day, I feel that I’m giving something back to people with epilepsy, as well as other disabilities.