Thomas is 15 and has epilepsy caused by a focal tumour of the left temporal lobe, affecting just one part of his brain. Epilepsy &Me explores whether or not Thomas should risk brain surgery for a life without seizures after visiting Young Epilepsy’s Neville Childhood Epilepsy Centre at its Lingfield campus.
When Thomas has a seizure he blanks out completely, he has no memory of his seizures which can occur around three times a week. “It’s like someone’s taken a pair of scissors and cut a chunk out of my mind – it’s like a blank hole in my day.” Medication has helped to cut down the amount of seizures Thomas experiences which are now completely random, and the longest he has been seizure-free is one month.
One of the hardest things Thomas has had to cope with is bullying when he was first diagnosed ““When I first knew I had epilepsy my friends didn’t understand it. They poked fun at me and I was quite lonely.” Now friends and family are a great support to Thomas, although he says some people still poke fun, and others don’t understand what it means.
He hopes that by starring in Epilepsy & Me he can help to raise the awareness of epilepsy and help others understand more about it. “I would like it if everyone understood more about what I have. I guess it’s possible that people just don’t know enough about epilepsy. If I could make people understand just one thing about what I have, it’s that not all epilepsy is the same. Epilepsy isn’t just what people think it is. It affects people in dozens of ways, not just them, but their friends and families. People can respond in positive and negative ways to the condition and it’s about getting the public to understand that epilepsy is not something to be taken lightly, but something that is hugely complex.”
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