epilepsy - EEG

Travis was admitted to the Vanderbilt Epilepsy Center almost two years after he was first diagnosed, but only four months after his seizures became frequent and difficult to control with medicine. They told us he would be there a week and during that time, if he didn't have a seizure, we could possibly go home with no answers. During the first day, after only being at the hospital for three hours, his Doctor was doing rounds with three or four medical interns. True to form, Travis had to be the center of attention, and he had a seizure while the Doctor and interns were in the room! He had a few more seizures and was discharged the next day with a not so good diagnosis, his tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures were generalized which meant surgery could not be done because they were originating on both sides of his brain and in no certain area. Until a cure was found, he would have seizures for the rest of his life which would hopefully be controlled by medicine. Unfortunately, his life would end when he suffered a seizure while driving just over five years later. I hope to be able to post that video from the hospital, soon-ish.

I am posting one of Travis' EEGs

  • during a seizure 
  • two minutes after the seizure.

It is really crazy to think there was so much going on with his body during a seizure and within just a few minutes he was back to normal, mostly. Seizures did take a toll on him and he was usually worn out for some hours after a seizure.  He often had abrasions from falling when the seizure started. One time at the skate-park, he broke his collar bone when, according to several witnesses, he fell off his skateboard during a seizure. To hear him tell it, he didn't have a seizure; he fell off the skateboard trying to save a girl from getting hit by a someone on a bike. He had to have surgery that included a plate and screws to repair it.  He had I think nine broken bones during his life, this the only one as a byproduct of a seizure and/or skateboarding.

Remember, November is Epilepsy Awareness Month and March 26 is Purple Day, both to raise awareness of Epilepsy. Epilepsy not only affects those that live with it, it affects everyone that person ever meets. Would you know what to do if a stranger had a seizure in front of you? It could happen, strangers were able to provide assistance to Travis because they became aware! 

Just 2 short months before he died, Travis wrote a letter to the Epilepsy Foundation:

A Note written by Travis...

December 7, 2011 at 7:09pm
It's been 5 years. 5 years of EMS bills that I can't refuse. 5 years of hospital bills that by the time I wake up, it's too late. 5 years of $28,000 worth of seizures.

For 2 of those 5 I was poked, prodded, flashed, audiolized, and scanned. 2 years of pain to what gain? All for nothing. For them to tell me I have a clinical diagnoses of epilepsy. Tonic-Clonic Seizures.

But... but.... what about my dreams? I want to be an Army man. "Sorry son" Okay... what about a Police man? "Sorry son." But... I've wanted to do that since I was 3... Okay.. I'll just be a truck driver like my Dad. "Sorry son.. CDL Law's prohibit epileptics."

I've come to hate that word. Epilepsy. $40 dollars for medicine a month I don't even want. I could use that money for depression medicine. But, I suppose not getting hospital bills is better than wanting to kill myself... right?

Epilepsy... what do I have to show for it? if I could remember I'd tell you. I don't remember what I did yesterday, let alone last year. 22 recorded concussions does a number on your memory. It also makes you a very bitter person when combined with Bi-polar disorder.

But I'm sure you don't know anything about that. Or maybe you do. And maybe you'll feel bad. Like every other person in my life. "Oh, Travis? Yeah... He's always... down. I don't know what's wrong with him. He just blows up on me when I try and talk to him." Welcome to my life. The life on an epileptic who really doesn't want to be here anymore.

Maybe one day you'll find a cure. If you do, be sure to send it my way.

Travis (Last Name Deleted)

Side note from me after he sent it to me to post:  wish I knew how to help him see the good in his life... he has actually been dealing with Epilepsy for almost 7 years... he was diagnosed when he was a Sophomore in HS. His facts may not be accurate about only 28k, $40, and 22 concussions, but his pain is real.

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