My name is Zohe Hernandez. I was born in Puerto Rico 38-years ago. At the age of nine, my family moved to Miami looking for a better future. In April of 1997, at the age of 17, when I was about to graduate from high school, I was in a bad car accident that left me in a coma for five days. When I woke up from the coma, I begin having seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy shortly after. It was a very scary time for me and my family, but since then my family has been a great support to me. I was also introduced to Epilepsy Florida who have been a great part of my support system. Over the many years that I have been involved with EF, they have provided me with medical assistance when I needed it most, referrals to medical professionals, support group, social events and so much more.

The staff and especially the case management team have been extremely supportive and helpful whenever I am in need, especially helping me through some of my struggles with not being able to drive due to my epilepsy and seizures. It has been a very hard transition to lose my independence in this regard and something that I struggle with every day.

I have also had many challenges when it comes to maintaining a stable job, even though it is important for me to be part of the workforce. I used to be a flight attendant for 2 years, but was let go from my job when I had a seizure on the air craft and they had to make an emergency landing to let me off.  I was also recently let go from a company that I worked with for 5 years, due to the “elimination of the position” however, I believe that it was due to my medical condition.

Despite these daily challenges, a few years ago I was blessed with a referral to Cleveland Clinic where I was implanted with a Nueropace device that since then has been extremely instrumental in helping to control my seizures. Although I am not yet 100% seizure-free, I am experiencing seizures a lot less frequently and have hope for a brighter future. Thanks to Dr. Garcia and Dr. Rodriguez and Epilepsy Florida, I feel that I am able to live a normal life day-to-day, am getting excellent care, and continue to stay positive that I am blessed with so much love and support in my life.

Ilana Bitton

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