Terry Book is Helping to Advance Epilepsy Research of the Future
When Terry Book was eight, she had her first seizure. Then a second one. They would not stop for another 30 years, during which time she would struggle with every kind imaginable—petit mal, grand mal and everything in between. The seizures still allowed Terry to live a normal life, except that driving became impossible. She tried every medication she could, and while some helped alleviate her symptoms, nothing worked completely.
Terry was taking a sedative and several other drugs for her seizures in 1988 when she met Gregory L. Barkley, M.D., a physician in Henry Ford Health System’s Department of Neurology.
At that time, Terry, then 38 years old, had experienced seizures for most of her life, and did not have high hopes for a cure. To her surprise, Dr. Barkley was sure he could help her. In fact, he promised to get her down to only one prescription—and to eliminate her seizures entirely. Dr. Barkley’s optimism turned out to be well-founded: Under his care, Terry has not had a single seizure in the ensuing three decades.
“Dr. Barkley is wonderful, brilliant. Every pore in my body felt like it suddenly opened up while under his care,” says Terry, who began slowly returning to things she had not done in years, like driving.
“It was like a metamorphosis for me,” Terry says. She had her life back again.
Terry’s trusting care relationship with Dr. Barkley continues today, even as her symptoms have dwindled.
“We talk about everything during the appointment. I love him because he listens,” she says. “That is the key to his success. He is calm, he puts you at ease when you’re talking to him.”
Terry’s positive experience led her to want to give back to support the next generation of innovations in epilepsy research.
“When I first got epilepsy, it was back in the late 50s, when not much was known about it…there was one tiny book with 60 pages on epilepsy, which didn’t explain anything,” she says. “So much has happened since then, and it’s a disease where research is vital. It’s amazing what they have done in the medical field to help people with epilepsy, and I am glad to be able to help.”
Terry’s gifts to the Epilepsy Research Program ensure that more people with epilepsy will find treatments that work for them—as she did at Henry Ford.