Our son was born full-term with no complications, was very healthy, and developed on track during his early months. One evening, he dropped his head abruptly about 4 times, crying. Then, he burped. Maybe it was just gas. But the next evening, it happened again…and then a third night, around the same time every night. Something didn’t feel right. After some online research, we found Infantile Spasms (IS)–categorized as a “catastrophic” childhood epilepsy. But what are the chances he would have that? The next morning, we managed to get a same-day neurologist appointment due to a cancellation. The check-up yielded very little, and the doctor was just sending us on our way, telling us that we shouldn’t worry too much, when our son went into his first ever seizure cluster. We were promptly admitted to a hospital. What started as a 30-minute appointment to relieve our greatest fears turned into a week-long hospital stay that confirmed it instead. His EEG showed modified hypsarrhythmia. Our 5 month old baby was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and our world changed forever.…

Since I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 5, I’ve never experienced the range of emotions of shock, rage, fear, sadness that others have upon being diagnosed. It’s always just been part of life. My seizures were generally focal aware (simple partial), but progressed to being focal impaired awareness (complex partial). As a kid, I was lucky to have a mother who cared about making sure I had medication that worked, but she accepted what the doctor told her at face value and didn’t ask too many questions. Mom never hovered, but always encouraged me to try new challenges. I grew up trying to find the right combination of actions that contained my seizures and let me live a good life: identify my triggers, take my medication, recognize my limitations and try not to be offended by those too ignorant and not willing to learn about epilepsy. If I had break through seizures, my neurologist changed my medications, and I didn’t ask enough questions or push to pursue treatment that could completely control them. I found ways to…

It took me a long time to understand why epilepsy entered my world after being seizure-free for the first 19 years of my life. Truthfully, I spent a lot of years asking myself, why me? I was bitter at first about my epilepsy for quite some time. My bitterness was due in part to the loneliness I was experiencing. I didn’t have the same resources back then that are available today. I felt so misunderstood; however, I went on as if everything was ok. Frankly, I didn’t want to talk about it. The narrative was, ‘Jen has epilepsy, but we don’t talk about it.’ Honestly, that was my fault. I was embarrassed. I didn’t understand the first thing about epilepsy or even know the basics of seizure first aid. It silenced me. It was not until I hit rock bottom in 2017 while attempting to manage my epilepsy on my own that it forced me to reach out. I needed more support beyond my family and friends. It was the best decision of my life. Not only did…

My name is Ian, and when I was diagnosed with epilepsy I honestly didn’t know what to think. The question floating around in my head was “why me?”. Though it was burdensome, I learned that perseverance is necessary for taking on the unknown. Sometimes in life, we aren’t dealt the cards we want, but what matters most is how you play them. My diagnosis, which came in my freshman year of high school, felt like it would derail my dreams. It was hard in the beginning and I do still have my moments, but it has taught me to adapt to life’s ups and downs. I believe it’s because of epilepsy that I began to connect to community service work during my high school years. The city I grew up in is a bit of a forgotten place with its share of struggles. A position I could relate to when my diagnosis came. Learning to accept my circumstance inspired me to join my school’s Interact Club and advocate for positive change in my community. I started by volunteering…

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