Beth Tells Her Epilepsy Story to Help Others

Dec 13 2023

Beth Stiles, an administrative coordinator at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center, was moving furniture with her sister and suddenly didn’t feel quite right. The next thing she remembers is waking up disoriented and confused. When Beth collapsed on the floor, her concerned sister called 911 and notified Beth’s husband, Chris. 

Beth was 28 years old when she experienced her first generalized tonic-clonic seizure.

“During my seizures, my muscles become rigid and my entire body jerks or spasms,” she explains. “I have even broken teeth during one of my seizures. It may seem very overwhelming, and it was in the beginning, but now I think about the people that have multiple seizures a day or the people that cannot control their seizures with medication. I realize that I am lucky.”

Beth and Chris had just been married for three years, and she was worried about the burden of her diagnosis and the impact it would have on their marriage. Despite the fears and challenges of an epilepsy diagnosis, Chris has been supportive of Beth through it all, and they will be celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary this year.

Since her diagnosis, Beth has channeled her passion for epilepsy awareness and devoted her own time to share her story with others. Like, did you know that any person can have one seizure in their lifetime without a diagnosis of epilepsy? And that every two out of three people with an epilepsy diagnosis have no known cause?

“I try to get as involved as possible and I will tell my story to literally anyone,” Beth says. “There is no question off the table.”

Beth spent years working in higher education and is a frequent guest lecturer at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, various student organizations and during a course focused on the patient’s perspective. 

The challenge is that not everyone is as open to discuss their epilepsy diagnosis as Beth is.

“There are so many myths around epilepsy, and not everyone wants to share their story,” she says. “I see that as one way I can give back and make a difference.”

Beth says she does not live in fear of her next seizure. 

“It has been almost five years since my last seizure and I take two medications to control them,” she shares. “It will never go away; it is a condition I will always have, but it is not who I am.”

After her years in higher education and her diagnosis, Beth found herself with an admiration for health care workers. Therefore, it is fitting that she found her way to our Springfield team.

“I came to Mercy Health looking to build strong relationships, and I am,” she says. “I am proud of the things we do to make things better for others.”

Beth and Chris continue to enjoy kayaking, gardening and home renovation. Chris also restores wildlife habitats as his profession. 

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, so Beth recently continued to raise awareness through advocacy and sharing her story. She is walked a 30-miles challenge event and attended the annual Living with Epilepsy Conference.

Beth wants to continue to help others who have received an epilepsy diagnosis so they know they are not alone in their journey. 

This holiday season, we are celebrating by spreading the good news! Read more grateful stories, like this one, that feature our team members, patients and the wonderful communities we are blessed to serve.

Also, learn about the neurology services we provide at Mercy Health.

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