My name is Derrick. I had my first seizure when I was 9 years old. No reason, no known cause they just started.
It didn’t take long before I realized I had to quit sports, and I realized my dream of becoming an aircraft mechanic for the US Air Force would never happen.
The next 9 years of my life would be hell: grade school, junior high, high school and about a year or so after high school.
For those 9 years I had the worst neurologist ever, he often contradicted himself and did no help in convincing me and my mother that there was hope for resolving my epilepsy, and our health care offered no other options for us when it came to neurologist in the area.
But if anything came from my epilepsy, I would say it would have to be some of the best friends in the world. When you have epilepsy, you become a responsibility for those around you, and only those who truly appreciate you as an individual will not have an issue with maintaining that responsibility. When my friends and I would head out for a weekend road trip they’d always ask and make sure I had enough medication. They’d pick me up at the beginning of the night and drop me off at the end of the night.
When I turned 18, I got put under new health care and was able to see a new neurologist. By this time I was having 12 seizures a day: mostly partial complex but at times grand mal. I was on over 3,000 mg of medication a day.
I remember the first day visiting my new neurologist after telling him my story he replied “This is ridiculous you need brain surgery”. We suggested VNS therapy first but he insisted the success rate was too low.
About 6 months later I went under the knife, and had a section of my right frontal lobe removed. I have now been seizure free for 11 years!
At 21 I got my driver’s license, at 25 I got my motorcycle license and started college, at 27 I got my Bachelors Degree in Audio Engineering, and now I live in the Silicon Valley employed as an IT specialist.
I wish there was more I could do for the epilepsy community with my knowledge of computer programing, electronics and sound. When I was in college I wired an EEG machine to my computer and made a program that translated your brainwaves into music in hopes to help kids understand the functions and different parts of the brain. I suggest to anybody with partial epilepsy consider brain surgery.