Epilepsy Florida (EF) has been by my side since 2011 after loosing my job due to my seizures and side effects. I was diagnosed in 2008 and I voluntarily gave up my driver’s license after a car accident. I had been having the sensation of déjà vu and having a weird taste in my mouth. It turned out I was having seizures that whole time. I was diagnosed at the age of 24. When I became a client of Epilepsy Florida I wasn’t able to pay for my neurological care, or medication. The medications I was on at the time were over $1,000 a month. EF assisted me with access to PAPs, so I was able to get my medications for FREE! I was also able to see a neurologist regularly without having to pay out of pocket.

Since becoming a client I have participated in many events and activities with EF. I participate in the Walks every year and have raised over $2,000 total for them. I have attended the support group meetings, the Let’s Talk About It Dinner, and I volunteered at the Athlete’s vs. Epilepsy Golf Tournament. My goal is to raise more money for the walk next year and continue to help with events like the Golf Tournament.

The support group meetings were essential to me and my family to understand and manage my Epilepsy. At the support group meetings I was able to learn more about the different types of seizures, and what resources are available in our area. Also, it was a way for me to meet other people who have also been diagnosed with Epilepsy, hear their stories, and learn about their journey.

On August 12, 2016, I had the Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS) implanted to help reduce, if not beat my Epilepsy. I have been seizure free for four months now, and driving is a real goal that I see in my near future!  With every setback and frustration on my journey, every time I have to start back at square-one, I know is not really a setback but a way for me to grow stronger, with more resolve.

Ilana Bitton

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