I met my husband Pat on a rugby pitch at Radford University in 1993. He was athletic, confident, and always willing to lend a hand. When he graduated, he enlisted in the Army out of love for his country and a desire to remain active.
Pat was deployed to Iraq with the Arrowhead brigade in June 2006. On July 7, 2007, Pat was on a night mission in a Baghdad neighborhood. While getting supplies for his men, he was shot. Pat’s traumatic brain injury was grave, and at the field hospital, the medical staff had no choice but to remove half of his skull to allow his brain to swell. Since that frightful day, Pat has worked hard to regain his ability to do things we used to take for granted: use his right arm, walk, talk, write, and read.
However, the biggest stumbling block has been the post-traumatic epilepsy. I’ve never been more frightened than when Pat experienced his first seizure four months after his injury. I truly thought he was dying.
Over the past year, Pat has tried several medications but continues to suffer from seizures. Months of hard work in speech therapy are erased by a seizure. They can wipe him out to where he cannot fully participate in his normal therapy regimen for weeks.
I often wonder what Pat’s recovery would have been like without post-traumatic seizures. With a brain injury, most of your recovery occurs in the first two years. With seizures to contend with, not to mention the drug haze, Pat has had to work extra hard to make gains. Pat is now on two seizure medications and has been seizure free for about six weeks. We hope that this combination will do the trick—at this point, I fear our options are running out.