Living the life I choose

Through accurate diagnosis and streamlined treatment, The William Quarrier Scottish Epilepsy Centre is helping people like Elaine to regain their independence.

Elaine was first diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 11. Throughout high school, her condition was managed with medication, but her seizures returned in 2008, and by 2012, she was experiencing seizures two or three times a day. By the time Elaine was admitted to hospital for telemetry in 2013, she was unable to fulfil her role as office manager and was no longer allowed to drive. She wasn’t able to go out on her own: as she only experienced a short aura before a seizure began, she didn’t have time to get herself somewhere safe, and so she had to have someone with her at all times. Epilepsy had taken over her life.

Elaine was admitted to The William Quarrier Scottish Epilepsy Centre in May 2013, just weeks after the facility had opened. The modern 12-bedded facility features world-leading diagnostic and treatment facilities, which deliver life-changing results for patients affected by complex epilepsy. The centre provides comprehensive support, from initial assessment to inpatient monitoring, managing medication, psychological support, outpatient care and telemedicine consultations.

Elaine spent a total of five weeks in the centre, which proved to be a transformational experience. The care and support she received from staff including Epilepsy Nurse Specialist Joanne Hill led to an accurate diagnosis, and she was able to reduce her
medication from 12 tablets a day to just two.

Before coming to the centre, Elaine had never met anyone else who was affected by epilepsy. Spending time with other patients meant that she could talk to many people who could relate to what she was experiencing. As Elaine says, the patients quickly develop a real camaraderie, looking out for each other and even recognising the warning signs that others were about to  experience seizures.

After leaving the centre, Elaine was keen to give something back, and in November 2013, began volunteering two days a week. As part of this role, Elaine acted as Patient Participation Coordinator, offering a listening ear to patients undergoing treatment at the centre and providing valuable advice from the perspective of someone who knew exactly what they were going through. Elaine’s goal was simple: to inspire patients to stay positive during difficult times, and to reassure them that life could improve.

Elaine has been seizure-free since April 2014. Earlier this year, she regained her driving licence, and in July 2015, she successfully applied for the role of full- time Senior Administrator at the centre. She now drives an hour-long commute to work, something which she simply couldn’t have done two years ago. As Joanne says, she is a working woman who happens to have the condition, and staff at the centre don’t think of her as a former patient: they simply see her as a colleague.

The support Elaine has received from Quarriers has helped her to regain her confidence and independence. Epilepsy no longer determines what she can and can’t do: Elaine is in control of living the life she chooses.

For more information, please visit www.scottishepilepsycentre.org.uk.

I love my job. I’m very passionate about helping other people, and if I can help just one person, it’ll make it all worthwhile.

  • Elaine, Senior Administrator