Sticking Together through the Challenges of Epilepsy

David Isenhour is sharing his daughter Alison's epilepsy story and what has helped their family stick together through challenges
David Isenhour
Parent of a Child with Epilepsy
Wednesday, December 22, 2021

For a long time, our family’s epilepsy story had two significant dates that changed our lives forever. One is the summer day in 1996 when Alison suffered a head trauma that we believe was the trigger for her epilepsy. The other is the day in April 2012 when she was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Now, there is also an important third date in April 2019 when Alison finally got a "win" in her fight against this horrible disease. After undergoing six or more hours of brain surgery, Alison has since been seizure free!

As her father, the hardest part about Alison's hard-fought battle with epilepsy was the sense of utter helplessness. I am a scientist by training, so it was difficult for me to fully grasp that epilepsy is not a finite affliction but rather a large spectrum of them. When Alison was diagnosed, I had a lot to learn, and I continue to try to learn more.

The more I learn about epilepsy, the more I realize how much more needs to be done. As a community, we face a huge challenge in educating the public and government officials about what epilepsy is, who it affects, and how it affects them. This means we need an all-hands-on-deck approach to make a difference. Parents, family members, and friends need to be fully involved in the education process.

One glaring issue that I see is the lack of treatments for those who suffer from epilepsy. Many of the current medications are directed more at masking symptoms rather than providing treatment. We need to fund more research to help change this and to help people like Alison experience seizure freedom.

For those of us who have a loved one with epilepsy, we are engaged in a daily battle facing challenges, heartbreaks, and at times, successes. It is important for each of us to realize we are not alone in this fight. Reach out for help as needed.

With a challenge like epilepsy, we all need to all stick together.

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Reviewed by: 
Sara Wyen

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The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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