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Trevor Marshall

Life After Seizures

Holy Name - Trevor Marshall

Starting 25 years ago, Trevor Marshall had a couple of health scares that changed this life – a heart attack so severe that he flat-lined and a stroke a decade later that left him in a coma for a week. He took the lessons seriously, upping his exercise and changing to a healthy diet.

His lifestyle adjustments enabled him to lose a significant amount of weight, reverse his diabetes and lower his cholesterol. Trevor had gone to Holy Name Medical Center after both events and remained under the care of Dr. Gerard Eichman, a cardiologist at Holy Name, who encouraged Trevor to continue eating healthy and exercising.

“Dr. Eichman and the other doctors and nurses at Holy Name were fantastic,” Trevor, 64, said. “They made sure to explain everything to me and were always very attentive. I was doing great.”

Trevor did have one lingering side-effect from his ordeals – he would get occasional migraines that would strike with no warning. But he was able to maintain his daily routine, which included a 4-mile walk with his wife, Pamela.

On occasion, they would push their granddaughter in her stroller, and as part of his routine, Trevor would make breakfast for the family following his walk. One fateful morning, immediately after cooking he saw a bright light and got an excruciating headache. He decided to take an aspirin and go rest. Instead, he collapsed. Trevor had another stroke.

“I woke up four days later in the hospital,” Trevor said. “And then I began having seizures.”

Dr. Joseph Petrsoric, Medical Director of the NAEC Adult Epilepsy Center at Holy Name, started treating Trevor for the seizures, which affected his language. Dr. Petrsoric worked tirelessly to find the precise dosage of medications that would be effective.

Trevor was released but the seizures continued at sporadic times. They were scary for him and Pamela, and would often require hospitalization after they occurred. “The exact cause of the seizures is unclear but the migraines may have been a precursor to them,” Pamela said.

“I would see squiggly lines, get the bad headache, and then wake up in the hospital,” Trevor said. “It’s not something you want to experience.”

Trevor started to restrict his lifestyle because he never knew when they may happen. And Pamela stayed close by in case he was standing or in a position where he could get hurt when one occurred. She learned what to do when Trevor was seizing: turn him on his side and make sure he doesn’t choke. And always, always, try to keep him calm.

“It got to a point where I could tell when one was coming,” Pamela said. “He gets quiet, like he’s somewhere else. Even when I was talking to him, it was like he was somewhere else – either he wouldn’t respond or his response wouldn’t make sense.”

Thanks to Dr. Petrsoric’s treatment, the number and severity of seizures has declined dramatically, in fact Trevor thinks he hasn’t had one in a year. Pamela admits he’s had several, he just doesn’t remember them.

“He’s probably had about six this year, and we’re trying to figure out what’s triggering them,” she said. “They seem to happen if he’s exposed to very bright lights and we’re looking at whether diet and sleep might be affecting him. But I’m so grateful to Dr. Petrosric for working with us. He makes real time changes if things are not working well and that means so much.”

Trevor said he’s back to taking his granddaughter for a walk – Pamela still joins them – and doing most of the other daily activities he was doing before his last stroke.

“I go out in the yard, go with my wife to the grocery store, for example,” Trevor said. “I’m very happy with the care I received. With God’s mercy, the love and support of my wife and kids, and the help of Dr. Petrosric and Dr. Eichman, I’m still alive.”

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