DENVER (CBS4) - When Anna Smith was in 7th grade she developed nocturnal epilepsy.
"I was having grand mal seizures while I was sleeping, sometimes multiple at night, and it just wreaked havoc on my whole body," said Smith. "I was exhausted all the time, physically and mentally, my memory was almost nonexistent."
When medications couldn't help keep the seizures under control, Anna received a Vegus Nerve Stimulator. The implanted device tracks her heart rate, when it senses a seizure, it sends a signal to the brain to control the seizure. For Anna, this was life changing.
"Having fewer seizures, I was able to graduate high school, which no one thought I would. I was able to graduate college. I actually got a degree in mathematics," she said.
Then, about a year and a half ago, the high school math teacher, now 33 years old, and her husband decided to become foster parents.
"I'm with teenagers all day every day, and I love watching them grow up love offering them compassion, and I think this was just the next step to be able to do it in my own home and have my husband be a part of that daily joy,"
In January, they received a 16-year-old foster daughter.
"She kind of made us a family, she tied us all together," Smith said, getting a little emotional.
"She brought us so much joy, entertainment, laughter," recalled Smith. "Oh man, we laughed more in the past three months than we probably have our whole lives."
This week, the Smiths learned their foster daughter would be leaving them and entering a transitional program to begin to learn and adjust to life on her own. Although she no longer lives with the Smiths, they remain in contact with their foster daughter and hope to continue to be a part of her life.
"I just want you to know that we love you and we believe in you and just keep seeking out help when you need it. The world is here for you," she said.
LINK: VNS Therapy
for more features.