Anthony was diagnosed with epilepsy at 20 and underwent surgery just before his 29th birthday. In 2015, he had been seizure free for 12 years, and was working as an engineer. He spoke to us about his epilepsy:
'I had probably been having simple and complex partial seizures all through my childhood but they were put down to bad behaviour and I was packed off to a special school.
When I was 17 I passed my driving test and immediately had an accident, running down two pedestrians who both suffered broken bones. I broke my shoulder and knee caps and was done for driving without due care and attention. No-one considered that I might have had a seizure at the wheel.
The turning point came when I was 20. I was working as an engineer, inside the pipe of an industrial pump. My colleagues were trying to communicate with me but I was totally unresponsive. The company I worked for sent me to the local hospital and it was from there that I finally got to see a specialist and was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy.
Opting for surgery
Epilepsy completely stole my '20s from me - they were a lost decade. I felt I was on the scrap heap. I was having panic attacks, severe seizures, mood swings and thoughts of suicide.
Opting for surgery was a big decision but I had no life as it was. I was virtually housebound with no work and no social life. Surgery offered me hope.
I have now been seizure free for 12 years and am not taking any medications but it probably took me 10 years to really pick myself up after surgery. The initial months were very worrying, wondering whether surgery had worked. I felt very delicate and vulnerable to injuries and worried about what would happen if I had a seizure and landed on my head so soon after surgery.
Challenges after epilepsy surgery
I faced many challenges in getting my confidence back. One of the biggest challenges was finding a house. I worried that if the seizures returned and I lost my job, I could lose the house too. Now I have my driving licence, my own home and a social life with friends and colleagues again. I have also set up a Facebook page for people who have had epilepsy surgery or who are thinking about it, so that they can support one another. It's really important to me to support other people whose lives could be changed through surgery.'