Epilepsy Awareness Month
November is National Epilepsy Awareness month, so I’ve decided to share my story!
I was a healthy child who didn’t experience seizures, migraines, or any other neurological issues until I was 12 years old.
When I was 12, I started experiencing petitmal seizures that would cause me to lose control of my hands temporarily and throw things around, or I would completely space out and lose consciousness while I was doing something.
The seizures slowly progressed until January 2009 when I experienced my first grand-mal or tonic-clonic seizure at age 13. After my sister Brittany found me, my parents rushed me to the emergency room.
A month later, I had undergone multiple electroencephalograms (EEG), computerized tomography (CT) scans, and blood work. These tests led to a diagnosis of epilepsy shortly before my 14th birthday. After the diagnosis, I had petit-mal, grand-mal, and complex partial seizures up until I was a senior in high school.
It took nearly four years to find the right medicinal combinations to get the disorder under control. We tried the ketogenic diet, which was initially invented for people who have epilepsy. Many different medications which came with tons of side effects including loss of feeling in my fingers and toes for months at a time, extreme highs and lows in emotions, and weight gain. All of this to hopefully quit having seizures.
I am now almost six years seizure free. However, there is so much more that underlies. I suffer from severe migraines, generalized anxiety disorder, and I haven’t had a good quality of sleep in more than 10 years. All because of my epilepsy.
I will most likely be taking anti-seizure medication for the rest of my life. If I decide to have children, I will have to attempt to come off nearly all those medications to prevent congenital disabilities and risk suffering seizures.
Remember, I was a completely healthy child. My family and friends had no idea until I was diagnosed. We were blindsided because of the lack of knowledge and awareness in society. People die from this brain disorder. There isn’t a cure! I encourage you to research epilepsy because your knowledge could save a life. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime. Your loved ones can be one of those people.