Wendy V’s Story
Hi, my name is Wendy and I have epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury I suffered in July of 1987. I was struck by a motorcycle as a pedestrian. I went into cardiac arrest, was in a coma for 3 days, and had a shunt placed in my head to relieve pressure due to brain swelling. I had a fractured pelvis, ruptured kidney, liver tear, cracked ribs and the metal plate in my right forearm. I was hospitalized for about one month then had to use a wheelchair because of my fractured pelvis.
I started having nervous feelings when I got home. I contacted my doctor, and after some testing, I found out I that I was having seizures. My first medication was dilantin. I had an allergic reaction right away. My seizures got more frequent and severe. I went to the University of Wisconsin, had lots of different tests done including intercranial monitoring. They found out my seizures traveled from one side of the brain to the other. That is why I wasn’t a candidate for brain surgery. I failed so many medicines over the years. I then went to Rush Hospital in Chicago to look into the vagus nerve stimulator. The wonderful neurologist that I saw there wanted me to go into a drug study for vigabatrin versus the vagus nerve stimulator. Vigabatrin or Sabril has been a godsend for me. I have no more grand mal seizures, no side effects or peripheral vision loss either. I have been on it since 1993. I also take Keppra and primidone, and a diamox water pill due to hormonal changes.
We still don’t know enough about who is likely to develop epilepsy after an accident like mine, which has lifelong consequences. We need more research and a faster path to treatments so that people can get back to their lives. I am thankful for all of the good medical care I have received and also all of the hard work you do to find the causes of epilepsy and better way to treat it. Despite my epilepsy, I kept pursuing an active life when I met my caring and wonderful husband. I cannot work full time, but I work part-time with special needs kids who also have epilepsy. I enjoy them and can relate to how they feel.
THANK YOU TO MY HUSBAND MARK AND MY MOTHER AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAS STOOD BY ME AND SUPPORTED ME.