Conquering Each Day With Epilepsy

Kate is sharing her journey with seizures as a student and young adult to help raise awareness about epilepsy

By Kate Goodin , Kentucky

Person with Epilepsy

December 15, 2019, is a day I will never forget. It seemed like a typical day. I was getting ready for midterms, and I felt in control. I took a nap and had my first tonic-clonic seizure when I came downstairs. However, it wasn't really my first seizure. For three years prior, I unknowingly had myoclonic seizures ending in confusion for a short period. 

In my case, these seizures occur when I am low on sleep. I was young and thought they would go away. I didn't overthink it until my big freshman sleepover when I only got three hours of sleep. I had about fifteen of these "morning shakes," as I called them. I went straight home and told my family. My dad said, "They sound like seizures, but I don't see any cause for concern." I don't blame him because I didn't see any concern either.

Three months later, I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). My life went from taking no medication to taking more than nine pills every night. Getting diagnosed at the beginning of high school was hard. I had to explain it to teachers and staff, and on top of that, take two midterms two days after my seizure. Other kids judged me for missing school when I had to stay home due to my seizures. 

Initially, I didn't want people to know what was happening. I wanted to sweep it under the rug and ignore it, but that wasn't possible. I had missed school days, and the auras from a seizure would sometimes send me home. I started being completely transparent with everyone. I am still judged today, but I use it as an opportunity to raise awareness about epilepsy when people misread me. I want to share my story with anyone who will listen because I hid it for so long. 

I was lucky my first medication worked, and I only had a few tonic-clonic seizures since my original diagnosis. Now, I can proudly say I am three years seizure-free, in college, and an Ambassador for the Epilepsy Foundation. My biggest challenge has been driving, and I still haven't overcome it, but that's okay. If you're not ready to drive either, it's understandable, especially living with epilepsy.

I won't let epilepsy define me, so I encourage others to also think about it. Take control of your mindset and take a sliver of your power back. Each day, hour, minute, or second you don't have a seizure is a day you conquered. As for family members of people with epilepsy, there are not enough words to express my gratitude - thank you. 

Reviewed By: Sara Wyen

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