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Samantha's Epilepsy Story

The birth of a child is a joyous occasion, but for new mum Samantha, of Tingalpa, the start to her daughter Evie’s life in April 2019 was also the start of Samantha’s life with epilepsy. Just five hours after Evie’s birth, Samantha experienced her first seizure, with a second following four hours later. After just a few days, a diagnosis of epilepsy was delivered.

"I felt nothing like the sharp person I was."

Samantha describes some of the greatest challenges of this time:

“Having my independence completely stripped away from me, adjusting to a whole new diagnosis as well as being a new mum. I wasn’t allowed to drive for seven months and had to have constant surveillance for the first month of my daughter’s life. I felt nothing like the sharp person I was. I felt like a shell – empty.”

Samantha was also troubled by side effects from her anti-seizure and antidepressant medication:

“The anti-seizure med side effects took a good eight months to go away. These included the feeling of my brain being “doughy”, unable to focus, forgetfulness, and some mood swings.

The antidepressants caused dizziness, dry mouth, and headaches.

I’m now on a keto diet that has helped with my focus and all over body health. I also need to try and get enough sleep and keep my stress levels low.”

Finding support and education

Samantha names devoted husband Mitchell as a great source of strength and support during very trying times:

“He really stood up in my hour of need and took on the full responsibility of looking after me and our newborn daughter. In my eyes, he is a hero. He went without sleep and food for long periods of time. He was the first to hold, feed, and change Evie because I was so sick. Despite also suffering trauma from what happened, he stepped up and took it all on without me.”

Whilst Samantha wishes she had connected with Epilepsy Queensland sooner, she says recent contact through the helpline and Instagram has helped her to feel less alone with what she has gone through.

“Returning to work I wanted to feel confident in the whole new person I was. I want to feel educated and empowered living with epilepsy. Epilepsy does not define me. Epilepsy Queensland has, and always will, offer me support and education. Their Instagram page is so informative, warm, and approachable. I really love it.”

 

A perfectly fulfilling life

When asked to reflect upon her progress since diagnosis, Samantha responds: 

“Being able to take my daughter out in the car to exciting new places and accepting I can live a perfectly fulfilling life with epilepsy. What my family and I have been through shows us we can get through anything. I am becoming a strong role model for my wonderful daughter!”

Samantha shares her hope for the future: “I hope to become more confident and share my story with others who are finding it hard to find the light. I want to be more and more educated on epilepsy and get more involved in anything I can to help spread awareness of this common but very misunderstood condition.”

Samantha’s message to other people living with epilepsy is: “Your biggest hero is yourself, so start believing in you! You will be amazed at what you can conquer!”

 

If you have a story to share, please contact us or request the list of questions by emailing pr@epilepsyqueensland.com.au.