Faces of Epilepsy - Laura Gibson - Epilepsy Foundation of CT

My name is Laura Gibson and I am now 37 years old. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 3. My mom noticed me staring into space. I went to a speech therapist because I had not begun talking until the age of 3. My speech therapist also noticed my staring into space and said I should go to a neurologist. This is where my epilepsy story begins.

When I was diagnosed I was put on Dilantin by my doctor. My staring into space was resolved. When I hit puberty at age of 11, my seizures were no longer under control. I was experiencing flashing lights, zoning out, and confusion.

At the age of 16, I began going to Yale New Haven Hospital.  I tried several different medications. A good majority would work at the beginning and then slowly stop working. I did get my license when I was 18 and had to hand it in when I was 20.

At the age of 20 I began with multiple tests that would lead me to surgery. When it was decided I needed the "Grid" I stopped. I was afraid to have surgery and have electrodes directly placed on my brain. The double Grid would not be done until I finished college and graduated with a Bachelor's in Social Work and a Minor in Music (almost a double major) but I chose to graduate with my friends. I made a decision to not pursue getting my Masters Degree in Social Work and I wanted to get my seizures under control.

 After all the tests, I was told my seizures come from my occipital lobe. Because of my vision, astigmatism, and such strong prescription, I chose not to have it removed. Yale told me that there was a study with the company Neuropace. The Responsive Neurostimulator. This is a device implanted in your brain. When a potential seizure or seizure activity is sensed it will send out a signal hopefully eliminating any seizure from happening.

What happened after I graduated from college and got a job? It has happened 2 times that I have lost my job because I had "blankouts." Each time I received a settlement.  The second time was devastating. I had worked with this company for 7 years. It had to do with the change in management. They couldn't even notify me in person. I was confused and lost. What am I going to www.BlackCatsTravel.com do? 

I had been going on yearly trips with friends since 2009 and I had been told you know you'd be a really good travel agent. I went back to school and passed my Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) Exam in April 2014. I was looking online for jobs and I found "home based agent" I thought wow I wouldn't have to drive to work. After much thought I chose to open my own business Laura Gibson with LoveShack Vacations in May 2014. Using "LoveShack Vacations" branding and focusing in on Romance Travel. I sold honeymoons.

After Christmas 2016, I decided that I needed to leave the LoveShack Vacations "brand" and become my own identity. I named my travel agency Black Cats Travel. It is more personal and focuses on the destinations I am most passionate about and have firsthand experience. My passion also comes from my clients who have visited some destinations I have not been to, but fell in love with while doing research for them.

I am in my 4th year of owning my own travel agency and I am still in the growing phase. I enjoy putting these amazing trips together for my clients and having them share pictures with me. Please check out my website:  http://www.BlackCatsTravel.com  to find out more about the destinations and tours I am most passionate about!

Finally, on January 12, 2016 I got my driver's license back. I have not had a "blank out” since January of 2014. I never gave up on my hopes and dreams of getting my license back. You should not give up on your hopes of seizure improvement either. Do not let others prevent you from pursuing your dreams, be it working or gaining better seizure control.  It could not have been done without my parents. My parents' help and support would not allow me to have this come true. Thank you Mom and Dad!

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