That’s me. Just one of a huge number of people who suffer from epilepsy.
Today is International Epilepsy Day, and typically this second Monday in February passes through my life as just another day. This year is a bit different, though, as I’m currently in the midst of working with a new neurologist to better treat my lifelong seizure disorder.
I’m fortunate that my epilepsy is controlled through medication, and I haven’t had any major seizures for nearly 18 months, but, sadly, others aren’t as lucky as I am.
I’ve spent many days over the past few months in doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals having tests done, and I’ve sat in waiting rooms with many people who are still struggling to control their seizures. For some, epilepsy is life changing and not just for the person, but also for their family and friends.
International Epilepsy Day promotes awareness of epilepsy in more than 120 countries each year. It’s promoted “as a day for everyone, no matter where you are, no matter how small your group or large your area, no matter whether you focus on the medical or the social aspects of the disease, to speak with one global voice.”
Interestingly, in researching International Epilepsy Day, I discovered the mascot is a seahorse. How appropriate! Here’s a description from the website:
Campi is a cute little seahorse who happens to have epilepsy. He is very gentle and kind and sometimes he is a little shy. Everyone is his friend.
We wanted to have a character that had a connection to epilepsy in some way and Campi just happened to fit the bill. The seahorse is genus Hippocampus and its shape resembles a part of the brain that has the same name and is important in producing seizures and epilepsy.
It’s also an animal that people find fascinating, graceful and beautiful.
Since I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about horses and the water. Growing up, I showed horses and was a competitive springboard diver. If I wasn’t at the barn with my horse, I was in the pool practicing–from first grade until college, horses and water were my life.
In yet another ironic twist of fate, my father is a neurologist (now retired) who specialized in epilepsy, so again I was fortunate to not only have an incredible father but also the best doctor!
Having epilepsy has resulted in a few bumps so far in my journey through life, but it certainly hasn’t stopped me, and I hope that through expanding awareness, fostering understanding and further research, more people with epilepsy will travel a smoother road.