A Christmas tree decorated in ornaments that show hearts, medicine bottles, and an insurance card.

Why am I Grateful?

The holiday season is always an exciting time. It's especially joyful when you can share your traditions with your children. Last year, my daughter was too young to understand. But this year she was able to participate in one of our favorite traditions. This year, my daughter participated in our "grateful tree."

When November starts, we take out our Christmas tree. Then we spend the next couple of days hanging words or phrases that we are thankful for on it. This year, my epilepsy-related grateful list is very long.

Living with epilepsy, and living with gratitude

There are so many things I am grateful for this year.

I am seizure-free!

As you can imagine I am continually grateful for being seizure-free with medication. This achievement allows me to continue to have freedom such as driving.

It also creates confidence that I can safely care for my daughter. I don't have to worry that I could have a seizure while taking care of her. As her primary caregiver, this is clearly an important need for our family.

My medications are working well

Over the past year and a half, I have had to find a new "helper" medication with my Lamictal. The process, as many of you can relate to, is not easy. One medication made me angry, and another gave me severe kidney stones. But I've found that Briviact works with Lamictal to keep me seizure-free. Thankfully, I haven't had major side effects from this combination.

My insurance

Briviact is an expensive medication without insurance. If it wasn't for the insurance we get through my husband's work, I would not be able to take this medication. I am also able to continually get bloodwork to make sure that my medication is at optimal levels to remain seizure-free. Additionally, due to our insurance, I am able to have more freedom to search for a provider.

And finally, with our coverage, my husband and I were able to verify that our daughter does not have epilepsy.

My pregnancy

This holiday season I am pregnant with our second daughter! And an extremely important part of my pregnancy is doing whatever I can to stay seizure-free and make sure I am taking medication that has a small chance of impacting my child's development. As I mentioned in my Briviact article, there are limited studies done on pregnancy while taking Briviact. However, it is a sister medication to Keppra which is another ideal medication when pregnant. So I am glad to be on meds with lower chances of birth defects.

AED Pregnancy Registry

I've also mentioned that there is a database that pregnant women on anti-epileptic drugs can be a part of. This organization allows for more data to be collected about medications and pregnancy. I am currently participating with the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry (aedpregnancyregistry.org), contributing my data on Briviact and Lamictal while pregnant. I am grateful that I can help add statistics on the benefits of my medication combination while caring for my growing child.

I have a trusted neurologist

Dr. Heorth is an amazing neurologist. However, I will be leaving Mayo Clinic as my care facility soon. Dr. Heorth gave me recommendations for locations that have excellent neurologists in Phoenix, Arizona. I am grateful for the care he has for his patients even when he knows they plan to switch to a new provider.

This community

I am so thankful that I get to be a part of this community at EpilepsyDisease.com. Having this community is a precious gift. Not only do I get to share my experiences, but I also learn from others.

I'm grateful

There are so many reasons to be thankful. I'm excited to save this year's grateful list and see what is added next year.

And always remember, you are not alone!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The EpilepsyDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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