A few years ago my daughter was diagnosed with Epilepsy. She was having problems focusing in school, was appearing at the wrong class at the wrong time and generally struggling.
Epilepsy can be caused from a head injury or brain tumor. Or, like my daughter, there may be no cause.
A lot of information is available about seizures and seizure disorders. You would think that getting a diagnosis would be easy. It wasn’t. We were told that she had attention deficit disorder, depression or was just boy crazy and not concentrating because of it.
Some of the symptoms for epilepsy seemed to fit. I asked to the doctor about it but he disagreed. Finally, after a showdown in the doctor’s office the pediatrician agreed to order an EEG to test for seizures. Two weeks later we got the call saying it was positive and thus we began our journey into life with epilepsy.
This happened when my daughter was in middle school. As you can imagine, her grades suffered. Once she was put on medication things leveled out. She went from being at the bottom of the barrel to soaring to the A/B honor roll in one grading period. Things began looking up. But every time her medicine needed to be changed or adjusted she would start losing things again and having problems. This is how we knew to take her to do the doctor.
She’s a junior now at an out of state college and maintains a “B” average. We were told early on not to expect her to excel in music. Music is her major. The doctor also warned us not to expect high academic achievement and not to expect her to be able to handle being away for college. She got a full academic ride at a tuition free college and received a lot of financial aid on top of the college admission.
There are different types of seizures associated with Epilepsy. Her seizures are the petite mal or absence seizures. This is where a person appears to be daydreaming. She would get this dreamy, glazed look to her eyes and set her jaw. It would last for a few seconds to a minute. It’s hard to diagnose because it can mimic other things like attention deficit disorder (ADD). However, ADD won’t cause an abnormal EEG. Only a seizure disorder will do that.
The most commonly known form of seizure is the Grand Mal. I have this and wish my daughter had this type. This is the type of seizure where you lose consciousness and fall to the ground. It’s easier to diagnose because from the first moment the doctors will suspect a seizure is the culprit. Instead, we wasted almost two years before getting an accurate diagnosis and beginning treatment.
The third type of seizure is a partial complex seizure. During this one, part of the body may shake and the person having the seizure may or may not lose consciousness.
Epilepsy is usually treated with medications. Occasionally, someone may have to resort to surgery to control the symptoms.
There’s less reason to be afraid of someone who has a seizure disorder or Epilepsy than there is reason to be afraid of someone who has a cold. Unlike a virus, seizures are not contagious. People with epilepsy are just like people who don’t have the disease. We all want to love, be loved and be given a chance at life.
If you are diagnosed with a seizure disorder or Epilepsy it’s important to be optimistic. Even though there is no cure the disease can be managed. You can have a full, fun life. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
For more information on Epilepsy please visit:
Epilepsy, What Causes It?
Living with Epilepsy