I am a cardigan addict. If I had an extra hour in the day, I would spend it reading. I have a thing for shiny shoes. I wish I could run a marathon. One of my dreams is to live on the beach, with the mountains nearby. I will have the improper use of an ellipsis...in almost every post. My grammar on this blog would probably make my Honor's English teacher, Mr Fagg (yes, that is his real name) shudder and I totally overdo the bold and italics. However, that is the great thing about blogging, there are not many rules. I use emoticons, way too many explanation points and no one really cares, or at least do not make it known that they care. It's great! I am known to be really competitive and have sustained a Wii-related injury.
I am also a mother, wife, friend, advocate, social worker and a bunch of other things. I like to cook, have a thing for organization, and I have epilepsy. My first seizure was when I was 7 months old. It lasted over 45 minutes. The doctors told my frightened parents that I would either be severely retarded or dead by morning. Neither of those things happened.I have my strong family to thank because I never felt like I had a serious disability. I knew I was different, but they instilled in me (with help from a stubborn streak) the feeling that I could do anything I wanted to. I have always had a defiance when it comes to someone telling me I can't accomplish something because of my limited body. 'They' said I would be severely delayed and wouldn't be able to learn...I got straight A's. 'They' said I would never be able to go to college...I started three days after I graduated from high school. 'They' said I would never be able to move away from home...I have lived in Israel, Hawaii, and multiple other towns away from the farm where I grew up. 'They' said I couldn't attend my high school graduation...I was doped up with Valium, but I was there. I have been a director for several companies, my professional resume is quite stacked for someone so young. The list goes on and on. Hard work and being more than a little independent has gotten me to where I am today. Not every one is this way, but I feel grateful that I have lived a semi-mainstream life. It was all about the attitude that nothing could keep me away from something that I really wanted to achieve.
Life was never easy. Everyone around me had to struggle to make sure I was safe and taken care of. "They" whoever "they" are including doctors, well-meaning friends and associates, etc. never knew they were just bringing out the fighter in me. Now I have to be a warrior for my son. I want others to know that epilepsy and seizures affect 3 million Americans, with 200,000 new cases each year. That is more people diagnosed with epilepsy, than with breast cancer each year. I have felt embarrassed, judged, hurt, ostracized and a host of other feelings because my brain doesn't function properly. I have had to accept that it isn't my fault, it's not my parents fault, or a doctor's fault. It's just something that happened and has made me a stronger person. I went through a lot of guilt when my son was diagnosed because I had lived through the struggles and pain that comes with a disability that no one really knows a lot about. It's taken some time and some real self-examination to realize that it is not my fault. I have started to turn my guilt into passion. I hope that others out there who know someone who has seizures, recognizes that it is a disability. Also, with hard work, most people with epilepsy can be just as successful as "normal" people. If any of us are really normal!I have had three different types of seizures. When I was younger I had staring (absence) seizures. I also had petit mal (Complex partial) seizures, most affecting only one side of my face. I continue to have grand mal (tonic clonic) seizures, but not to the extent of those in my childhood or adolescence. I do not have an aura, and there were no specific triggers for my seizures when I was younger. My seizures started out like most stories, with febrile seizures. They progressed and by the time I was two years old I was having seizures with and without fevers. There were a couple of occasions that I had up to ten major seizures in one day. I was so drugged that I was either so hyper or so sleepy that I had no quality of life. My parents made the decision to take me off of medication before I entered school. There was no rhyme or reason to my seizures. I could have them when I was sick, or jumping on the trampoline, or for no specific reason at all. I went back on medication in high school, but there was a two year period in junior high where I had no recorded seizures. I also had a period in college where I was 15 months seizure-free and another where I had 19 months without one. The longest period of time is three years, where I had no recorded seizures. It is especially devastating when I have gone a really long time without a seizure and the beast rears its ugly head again. I find it is the same with Cole's tonic clonics.
I would define myself as eclectic. I love a lot of different food, activities, styles, types of music and so on. I love to try new things. One thing that constantly stays the same though, is how I feel about getting the word out about Dravet Syndrome and epilepsy. I want to make this blog a safe space where people who are struggling with this condition can connect and realize that there are other people out there that are going through the same thing. It is also to help keep all of our wonderful friends and family updated on Cole's progress and treatments. I am sure that my super educated friends with Harvard degrees wince when reading all of the grammatical errors on Warriors, but that is in between their smiles. We use this site as a place to connect with other people. It has brought a lot of good into a lot of people's lives. We hope that it does the same thing for you, whether or not you have seizures. Feel free to e-mail us. We need to spread the word and do something about epilepsy. This condition, just like a bunch of others, needs warriors!