Lester Taulbee’s Story
I began having seizures at the age of 19.
They first began with auras. I actually liked that feeling after a while. I didnt realize the underlying problem. I began wrecking my vehicles. I began having more and more seizures that were noticeable to those around me. The auras had turned into full seizures that I didn’t remember afterwards, or even know that it happened.
I began getting unexplained scrapes and bruises. The first neurologist I went to told me that it was just generalized epilepsy and gave me some very common medicine. That neuro never did any scans or blood work so I decided to get a second opinion. After many CT scans and EEG’s I was gently told that I had a benign tumor in my right temple lobe. So we debated for a little while and tried meds to control my seizures that by this time were very frequent. So after careful consideration in 2001 I decided to have my first surgery to remove the tumor.
The surgery went well. I was swollen pretty bad and my eyes were blacked and nearly swollen shut. I was sent home with pain meds that made me sleep all the time so I got dehydrated and had to go back in the hospital. Once I healed I was seizure free for a little over 2 yrs. I thought I had beat it. I began having seizures again around 2004. My neuro and I tried all the different meds that were on the market at that time to try to control my seizures. Nothing really worked to completely control the seizures. So in 2007, I had a second right temporal lobectomy.
After this surgery I was informed that although more tissue was removed, there was still residual tissue that was inoperable due to the tissue being so deep. Again, the surgery went well, I had a little more swelling this time than before. I was seizure free again for a year or so and the seizures gradually came back. I was told I was no longer a candidate for brain surgery after having 2 surgeries and the residual tissue being inoperable. I actually had a neurologist, that was quite well known and considered to be one of the finest in his field, look me right in the eyes and tell me, “Theres nothing else I can do for you, we have tried everything” I felt so helpless. I remained on meds to try to control the seizures but they were never really controlled.
What a blessing it was, that neurologist I had been seeing took a position at a different hospital and a wonderful lady picked up where he left off and took his patients, those that didn’t follow him. This lady is my angel. I mentioned to her one day what the previous DR. had told me about not being able to do anything else and she was so professional and told me that there was always a new development on the market to treat epilepsy.
This lady introduced me to the VNS stimulator and after discussing the procedure, I decided to give it a try. I had the VNS implant in 2010. That helped for a little while but never really fully controlled my seizures. My angel doctor kept telling me, “there is always something new, it just has to be approved by the FDA, dont give up hope” I am on 3 different types of seizure meds, I am not having near as many seizures as i used to, but I do still have 3 to 4 seizures per month. I have learned to live with the seizures and come to terms with the fact that my seizure may never be completely controlled but something I will have to live with. I dont feel as hopeless now though because I have such a wonderful neurologist that is always there and very uplifting.