Retired litigation lawyer Peter Gornall developed temporal lobe epilepsy at the age of 69. He is a regular delegate at our Epilepsy Society annual conference and here shares his experience of this year's conference 'Epilepsy: expanding horizons.'
Epilepsy Society's annual conference 2014 maintained the excellence of previous years. The demand for tickets grows year on year and many were disappointed when the number wishing to attend exceeded the capacity of the venue. Judging by past years, the numbers will inevitably grow and it may be a challenge to find a suitable venue to provide enough capacity for those wishing to attend.
People with epilepsy and their partners, friends or family get a great deal from the conference. Subjects covered included advanced research and developments at Epilepsy Society, explained by the charity's medical director Professor Ley Sander. New and improving surgical treatments available were explained by Dr Andrew McEvoy, brain surgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and expert in the field of epilepsy. There was also a session on memory loss by Dr Sallie Baxendale, neuropsychologist.
Meeting others with epilepsy
The experts provided lots of valuable information but I got the impression the delegates attending found comfort in the presence of a large company of other people who understood epilepsy.
There were many spontaneous discussions with an interchange of information between those attending who quite often found themselves meeting hurdles that were familiar to others. It's a rare opportunity to discuss problems and how to handle them with others in the same situation.
Many agreed that it can be difficult to discuss problems which crop up with their doctors. The overall impression was that it was important for people to take charge of their own epilepsy and be prepared to ask questions of those treating them. This would help ensure the side effects of the epilepsy and drugs being prescribed were fully taken on board by those treating them.
The conference is a much valued day for Epilepsy Society members and to make sure of being able to attend it is necessary to apply for tickets as soon as the date and venue of the conference is announced. If you are not quick off the mark you may be unlucky.