VNS Therapy™ changed my daughter’s life. I will always be grateful for VNS Therapy.
In 2015, my family’s lives were falling apart. My daughter, Vivien, was living with life-threatening, uncontrolled partial seizures. Her medications were not working to fully control her epilepsy. I was scared because the light in her eyes was gone, and she was distant. She no longer laughed or smiled. Her cognitive skills declined, and she couldn’t keep up in school. She had stayed back in the 5th grade, and her teachers suggested placing her in a new school for her special needs. We had struggled for years trying to get her teachers to understand that her learning disabilities were related to her seizures.
When our doctor offered VNS Therapy, we jumped at the chance to give our daughter a better life. Vivien had lived with seizures for most of her life. VNS Therapy offered a glimpse of hope.
After the VNS Therapy procedure, Vivien was back in school the next week. Vivien had some side effects like a scratchy throat and a slight voice change. Both went away over time.
A year later, our dream came true. VNS Therapy proved to be the right choice. Vivien was back to her old self. She was in the moment now and able to function on her own. Before VNS Therapy, Vivien was limited in what she could do on her own. Now with fewer seizures and improved recovery after seizures, she was able to do normal tasks like dressing herself, packing her lunch, and getting ready for school.
After seven years with VNS Therapy, the battery was low. Vivien was older now. It was easier to explain to her why we needed a replacement. We knew what to expect. It was easier than the first time when we sat her down on the couch and tried to explain VNS Therapy. We wanted Vivien to feel empowered going into the procedure and we wanted VNS Therapy to be her decision. Vivien liked science so we watched the Bionic Woman television show from the 1970s. Vivien liked the idea of calling herself the “Bionic Girl.”
She now understood that VNS Therapy had been a game changer. It improved her life so much that she called VNS her friend and nicknamed it “The Bodyguard” because it was watching over Vivien twenty-four hours a day. Vivien had her very own personal security team. The VNS was always on and keeping her brain in check. The VNS gave her an independence she never knew and allowed her to mature. When we told her she had to have the battery replaced she shrugged and said, “Let’s do this.”
The second VNS Therapy procedure went more quickly. We were able to get the VNS replacement at the same children’s hospital with most of the same medical staff. I still worried that the replacement might trigger a seizure or the new battery might not work.
The doctor and medical team were great. There was a representative from VNS Therapy that was at the hospital in case we had any questions. It was comforting to know we had a Care Team on our side.
The replacement procedure took about an hour and we were back home from the hospital that afternoon. The robot voice didn’t come back and her only side effect was discomfort from the incision which lasted two weeks.
I know VNS Therapy isn’t a cure but it has been a life-changer for my child. Vivien is now a happy teenager who thrives at school, has an active social life, and talks about getting her driver’s license.
Individual results may vary. The most common side effects of VNS Therapy include hoarseness, shortness of breath, sore throat, coughing, and prickling/tingling of the skin. These side effects generally only occur during stimulation and usually decrease over time. Infection is the most common side effect of the procedure. For full safety information, visit www.vnstherapy.com/safety.