Unfortunately, due to the epilepsy diagnosis, I was unable to remain in the Royal Navy and was medically discharged in 2020. I was devastated to lose my dream job that I had worked so hard for.
The results of my resting EEG showed small sharp in the left frontotemporal region and my sleep-deprived EEG showed bursts of frontal slow and spikes, which apparently increase the risk of further seizures. We also found out my shoulder was in agony because during my seizures it dislocated posteriorly; a rare dislocation only occurring due to seizures, electric shocks or trauma. This happened because of the contraction of my muscles and ligaments during my seizure. My shoulder has come out multiple times since due to the damage caused and I am due to have surgery on it later this year.
The diagnosis left me and my parents speechless. I couldn’t understand how this could randomly happen to a fit and healthy 21-year-old. I had always thought epilepsy was something you were born with, but I was told that it could occur at any age. I had many emotions at the time, but my main fear was of another seizure happening, on top of the worries I had of my career now being at risk.
I was immediately put on 750mg of Levetiracetam, to be taken twice a day. The neurologist told me my main triggers were sleep deprivation and alcohol. I quit drinking alcohol completely after my diagnosis and now always make sure I get a good night’s sleep. I haven’t had a seizure since my 2nd one in January 2019. Unfortunately, due to the epilepsy diagnosis, I was unable to remain in the Royal Navy and was medically discharged in 2020. I was devastated to lose my dream job that I had worked so hard for.
When I found out I was to be discharged from the navy, I applied and was fortunately accepted into university to study nursing. The course started in September 2021 and I’m very happy to have made progress and worked hard for this future career opportunity. I will not let epilepsy define me, my career, or my goals in life. I shared my story to recognise the journey I have been on and, hopefully, it can help others in the armed forces going through a similar situation.
– Dan, November 2021