My name is David. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 14. I had an MRI that revealed a tumor in my brain. At first, I was petrified that I had brain cancer, but later I was relieved to discover the tumor was benign.
Even so, my life with epilepsy was very difficult. I had trouble finding or keeping a job. I had lost my driver’s license because of the seizures, which meant that my dad had to drive me back and forth to work. But my seizures eventually got more and more frequent. I would typically have petit mal seizures – my mind would go blank, I would get disoriented and start talking gibberish that people could not understand. I started having 10 to 15 seizures per day, and eventually lost my job.
One of the hardest things about living with seizures was feeling dependent on other people. I want to take care of myself – I don’t want other people to put their lives on hold to take care of me and drive me everywhere.
My friends and family were supportive, but I felt bad relying on them and constantly asking for help. With the RNS System, now I’m finally at a point where I can take care of myself, and it’s the best feeling.
Earlier, when I was struggling with frequent seizures, I was so unhappy and depressed that sometimes I’d stay in my room for two or three days at a time. I tried medicines, but they weren’t working, so when the Mayo Clinic called and asked if I wanted to participate in the clinical trial for the RNS System, it only took me about 30 seconds to say I would do it.
I received my RNS System around 2004, during the clinical trial. It took a few months for my doctor to fine-tune the device to recognize and respond to my particular brainwave patterns. At first, I had to use the remote monitor three times a day to give my doctor the data he needed.
At this point, I’ve been seizure free for about 13 years.
My wife has been by my side through everything, but the seizures used to scare her. She knew what to look for and how to recognize a seizure, but she wouldn’t know what to do to help me when they happened. When I felt a seizure coming on, I used to go sit down someplace by myself. Afterwards, the seizure would leave me feeling drained and very tired. Because I never knew when I’d have a seizure, I missed out on a lot of opportunities. There were a lot of things I did not do because I was afraid of experiencing a seizure. Even though I have not had a seizure in years, I still worry about them every single day, but I don’t let it control my life anymore.
Thanks to the RNS System, I feel like a new person. I have a good job in merchandising. Before, I had to live with my parents, but now my wife and I have our own place. I was able to regain my driver’s license and get a truck.
Epilepsy controlled my life for a long time, but now I don’t have to worry as much or depend on people anymore.
I’m living a normal life. I’m just free. It’s definitely been a life-changer for me.
This represents the experience of individual(s) who have used the RNS System. Individual results will vary.