My journey from patient to employee

Kristen, who had surgery for epilepsy, poses in front of mountains
Enjoying the view at the top of Mount Willard in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

When I was 13 years old, I remember eating my breakfast and next thing I knew, my mom was repeatedly asking me why I wasn’t responding to her. I was having my first seizure.

The start of my journey

This was the beginning of my journey with epilepsy. For two and a half years, I had seizures everywhere — from the classroom to the basketball court — as many as 8 to 12 a month. I learned that before a seizure, I’d feel like I was outside of my body, as if I was looking down at everything around me. Then I would wake up and not remember anything. Some medication made me feel like a zombie, or tired, moody, and I was barely eating meals. I felt as though I was not living my life.

Kristen, who had epilepsy surgery, runs in a road race
Running in a triathlon in Syracuse, New York

But I wouldn’t give up and neither would my team at Boston Children’s. The moment my neurologist, Dr. Ann Poduri, asked if I would be willing to have resection surgery, which would remove the area in my brain where the seizures occurred, my answer was “yes.” The thought of being seizure-free was extraordinary. Dr. Joseph Madsen, a pediatric neurosurgeon who specializes in epilepsy surgery, made sure to explain the surgery to me in detail, in a way I could understand. I had the surgery one year later. Thanks to Dr. Madsen and the rest of the Boston Children’s team, I’m now more than seven years seizure-free.

Kristen, who had surgery for epilepsy, at her college graduation
Graduation from Stonehill College

A new beginning

Dr. Madsen, Dr. Poduri, and the rest of the team at Boston Children’s have made it possible for me to achieve so much in life. I graduated recently from Stonehill College and am living on my own. I’m now working at Boston Children’s as a patient experience representative. And even better, I was given the chance to work in the Neurosurgery Department.

Kristen, who had surgery for epilepsy, poses on the stairs of the hospital with her colleagues.
Proud to be part of the neurosurgery team

It feels amazing to be a part of a team that helps patients just like me. I understand the families’ feelings of uncertainty, but I also know how the possibility of being seizure free feels. Getting to work in the department that changed my life for the better is another dream I have achieved. Boston Children’s is an amazing place, a place that has truly changed my life.

Learn more about the Epilepsy Center.

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