My name is Jane Rae and while waterskiing in 1995 and trying to impress my fiancé David, I, instead of impressing him, gave him an added challenge to live with for choosing me to become his wife. I had a bad waterskiing buster and developed epilepsy. He had chosen my already existing challenges, but it was now also me with my epilepsy.
My epilepsy brought with it many challenges that I found simply so horribly confronting. I know without the support and love from David and our two children, Sophie and Harry and without the care and the relationship Dr Cecilie Lander has developed with me for many years, I humbly know I would not be here writing this today.
I have now had my form of epilepsy for around 24 years and before I started being one of Cecilie’s very lucky patients, I simply looked at myself as being just another number with epilepsy. Then I became a patient of Cecilie.
Since becoming a patient of Cecilie in 2002, so much has happened regarding my health. Sometimes I think maybe it is a patient like me that might be the reason she is going to ‘sit back’ and hopefully do lots of relaxing and retire!
One of the most important things since having her as my neurologist is that I no longer feel like just a number with epilepsy and I don’t just feel like a patient. Cecilie has made me feel like I am a friend of hers and a special one. The unique relationship Cecilie has created with me, I am sure every single one of her patients receives. By being not just a neurologist with lots of patients, but by Cecilie being that friend (and a very intelligent one at that!), I have been given the courage and mental strength to cope positively now with my form of epilepsy.
Due to my form of epilepsy, I have what I call a ‘black’ memory. I had to give up my career as a teacher. I have nocturnal seizures and the occasional convulsion. I suffer severe post-seizure depression on top of general depression caused during childhood. It is not possible to attempt brain surgery which Cecilie, David and I spent time looking into. Describing this simply is to say that I am also a very privileged sufferer of epilepsy. Yes I have the conditional love and support from my husband and children, but I have also had the most amazing support from Cecilie.
To describe Cecilie’s patience is impossible. Cecilie has allowed me to always be able to move forward. Under the guidance of Cecilie, I have trialled many different medications and possible ways to control my epilepsy so that my quality of life and the quality of life is as high as possible. Cecilie has dedicated so much of her life to learning more about epilepsy, I believe she gives her ‘absolute everything’ to help me live the life I aim for.
I just want to thank Dr Cecilie Lander and I could go on and thank her for more but I shall just say thank you Cecilie for absolutely everything you have done for me while being my neurologist. For so many years you have, more than you realise, supported me, David, Sophie and Harry. With the knowledge, guidance, patience and friendship you have given me I am now able to continually keep working on the courage I now have to cope with my epilepsy. I accept myself and I also accept that taking medication is ‘part of me’.
With many thanks to you all at Epilepsy Queensland for what you all continually do, but also with the most sincere and huge thank you to wonderful Dr Cecilie Lander,