This interview was conducted after Debra volunteered to share her opinions on her experience using the SeizureLink System. While she did receive a free SeizureLink System during the pilot study, she did not receive any compensation for this interview.
Life can change in an instant. One moment we are comfortable in a life we know well. It may not be perfect, but it is familiar. We may take some things for granted-- what we do, how we function, our health--never realizing that in the time it takes to draw a breath, everything can change. We could find ourselves on the precipice of a new normal.
That is what happened to Debra. She sustained a traumatic brain injury after a terrible car accident in 2007 that left her with epilepsy. One moment she was driving and the next she was in a wrecked truck that was dangerously close to a ravine. Her journey has been long and difficult, but she is a survivor. This is her story.
What's your name and where are you located?
My name is Debra and I live in Texas.
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy doing a lot of things, but my favorites are watching TV, hunting, fishing, and coloring in my adult coloring book.
What's your epilepsy story?
I was diagnosed with epilepsy after I was involved in a pretty bad motor vehicle accident. I did have seizures as a child, but nothing like this.
I have both grand mal and petite mal seizures. They happen a few times a month. I get the small ones several times a week and the big ones happen a little less frequently.
The wreck changed everything. That was the point where my life changed forever. I was hit in the rear quarter panel of my truck, causing it to roll several times. If it would have rolled one more time it would have gone over the ravine. The car stopped spinning right before the bridge.
I was really banged up. I don’t remember much, but I know I was airlifted to a hospital. I was in the hospital for a few weeks. In 2007 after the accident, I was not even functioning at a fourth-grade level. I guess the wreck did a lot of damage to my brain.
My life changed dramatically after that car accident. For several years I was very dependent upon the man I was dating at the time. So much changed. My life was different – I was different. I lost more than six months of memory and I am still not that great at remembering things now.
After the wreck, the doctors did some testing to see what cognitive ability I had retained after the accident. That is when my seizures started happening. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2008.
After the diagnosis, I felt more settled. I felt like I had some answers to what was going on with me. It doesn’t mean that I suddenly understood everything, but finally my condition had a name and that meant a lot to me.
It took a while to get my seizures under control, but now I manage my epilepsy by following the doctor’s advice and taking my medication regularly. I feel like my epilepsy is somewhat controlled now.
It has changed my life in some ways, I mean, it would have to. Something that major would have to bring about some changes, but I have tried very hard to not let change my life significantly.
“Never give up” is sort of my mantra. For me, giving up was never an option.
What was life like before you tried the SeizureLink System?
Before I tried SeizureLink, I was not aware of most of the seizures I was having. The SeizureLink System alerted me to many more events that I wasn’t even aware I was having. It was a real eye opener – and a little unsettling at the same time since I had no idea.
What did you do before you tried SeizureLink?
Before SeizureLink I had not tried anything to alert others. Initially, I didn’t really think I needed an alerting system because I didn’t think I was having events often enough. Boy was I wrong.
I am so glad I tried the SeizureLink System!
What appealed to you about the SeizureLink System? Why did you think it might be better than what you tried before?
I really like the alert system. When my muscles start to tense up and I start having a seizure it will alert the people on my list right away. It doesn’t matter if I am at the store or in bed asleep at the time. The System picks up on the seizure very early and lets me and my support system know, so we can take appropriate action.
It also records my seizures and makes a log of when they happen. This is very helpful because I can take the log to my doctor and he can see what is going on with me, and decide if he needs to change my medications, and other things. Basically, it helps me get better medical care.
What was your biggest breakthrough while using the SeizureLink?
As I used SeizureLink, I began to have more of understanding of my epilepsy. I was more aware of my seizures and how frequently they were occurring. It helped create a better, clearer, fuller picture of my epilepsy and even my post-wreck life.
How is life different now, after using the SeizureLink System?
I am just more aware of my seizures and how often they happen. I didn’t really have that before. I also feel more comfortable because I know that if I have a seizure, someone will be there to help me, and I won’t be by myself. That is a pretty big deal to me.
What advice would you share with someone who was thinking about purchasing the SeizureLink System?
Wear it all the time, even while you sleep and even if you it’s a time when you think you don’t have seizures. You might be having them, but you don’t know because you are asleep. Use the SeizureLink System just in case.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Your seizures don’t have to stop you. Of course, some change is inevitable, but you don’t have to be run by them. SeizureLink is a great tool that can help you so much.
Your life can change in a moment. Let SeizureLink help make it a little easier.
Your epilepsy is a part of your life, not your whole life. The SeizureLink System can help you manage it.