AEP participant Kieran Champion tells his story

August 14, 2023
Sam Jackson

“Regardless of the severity of your condition this is a rare opportunity to be treated by some of the best people in this area of medicine, in the world. Do it.”

I was diagnosed with epilepsy three-and-a-half-years ago…

At the time, I was living in Hong Kong, working a high stress job with a very hectic work schedule. I began to have ‘episodes’, where I would become faint and have a strange feeling.

Sometimes, I experienced an increased sensory awareness, like déjà vu with a strong sense of smell. After experiencing a few episodes, I decided to see a GP who organised extensive cardio tests, given my family history of heart issues (Vaso vagal). However, I was given a clean bill of health and my episodes were attributed to tiredness, the summer heat, and working too hard.

One day, I had a significant fall off a stool hitting my head, at a coffee shop with work colleagues. My colleagues said I went stiff for about a minute or so. I returned to work that day but started developing a headache.

I called my wife and told her I fell - again. She took me to the doctor. On the way, I had a seizure. The GP thought it might be epilepsy and referred me to a neurologist in Hong Kong. I was prescribed Epilim and after continued seizures including hospitalisation post tonic clonic seizures, I was also prescribed Brivact.

I remained on this medication until I returned to Australia last year, where I was fortunate to see Professor Kwan. He also prescribed Lamotrigine and I have seen some improvement in my seizure frequency.

Prof. Kwan referred me into the Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP). The AEP provides an opportunity to take part in an important study into epilepsy – it is a privilege to be involved.

I found the AEP testing very interesting and enlightening. The staff were very helpful in explaining the process of the tests and it was interesting to learn about what was being examined.

I feel the AEP’s additional diagnostics combined with the very high calibre of physicians and technicians, available here in Melbourne, is fantastic. I am so happy to be a part of the study. It has certainly helped me with understanding my epilepsy.

AEP Participant: Gary Alway

Gary has been living with epilepsy for almost three decades. In his early 20s his epilepsy was fairly-well managed with medication, and his seizures were rare. But then everything changed. He began having multiple seizures and blackouts every day, culminating in a car crash nine years ago, caused by a seizure.

AEP Participant: Fiona Waugh

Fiona didn’t experience her first seizure until 34-years-of-age and after a further two tonic clonic seizures in as many days, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. “Since diagnosis I’ve remained drug-resistant with a high frequency of seizure activity. But I’ve always had a desire to try and get on top of it, which has led me to make some big treatment decisions over the years.”

Meet the AEP team: Elliot Brooker

Elliot is a valued member of the AEP Neuropsychology team and is responsible for conducting telehealth neuropsychology assessments for AEP participants and control group volunteers.