Tag Archives: Epilepsy

What’s Next For Epidiolex Maker GW Pharmaceuticals | Leafly

For nearly four decades, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug, more tightly regulated than opium or cocaine. So it marked a milestone this week when the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval to the first-ever pharmaceutical derived from the cannabis plant.

Epidiolex, developed by UK-based drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals, is a purified form of CBD meant to treat certain forms of epilepsy. While the FDA has approved other, synthesized cannabinoids—such as dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC—never before have government regulators acknowledged the medical benefits inherent in the Cannabis sativa plant itself.

As you probably know, the approval of Epidiolex has caused a bit of a scare among some in the marijuana community, specifically those who stress the importance of “whole plant” extracts containing other potentially beneficial cannabinoids. Some worry this could actually be a setback for folks who are more whole-plant focused. Do you have any thoughts on that?



Read on www.leafly.com/news/industry/whats-next-for-epidiolex-maker-gw-pharmaceuticals

People You Probably Didn’t Know Had Epilepsy

Even though an estimated 65 million people in the world have epilepsy, a neurological condition of the brain that causes seizures, not many people in the spotlight speak openly about it. Below, is an ever growing list of people — writers, athletes, entertainers, etc., that I’m compiling — who lived and some who are still living, with epilepsy. 

1. Vincent Van Gogh330px-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project_(454045)

‘I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.’ — Vincent Van Gogh

Doctors believed painter Vincent Van Gogh lived with temporal lobe epilepsy and bipolar disorder, according to the Van Gogh Gallery. “Temporal lobe seizures originate in the temporal lobes of your brain, which process emotions and are important for short-term memory,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

2. Neil Young


Neil Young is a singer and songwriter who lives with epilepsy. He’s also had polio and a brain aneurysm, according to The New York Times. His daughter, Amber Jean, also has epilepsy. Young helped found the Bridge School, where individuals with severe speech and physical impairments can go to learn.

“Epilepsy taught me that we’re not in control of ourselves.” — Neil Young


3. Edgar Allan Poe Edgar_Allan_Poe_daguerreotype_crop
“It is happiness to wonder. It is happiness to dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe

“The Raven” poet wrote about his episodic unconsciousness, confusion and paranoia, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. While the cause of his death is still unknown, historians think Poe may have died from alcohol abuse, his epilepsy or heart failure, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

4. Theodore Roosevelt

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Both Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, and his lesser known brother, Elliot, had seizures throughout their lives, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Center. Elliot Roosevelt died from a seizure a few days after he attempted suicide. Despite Theodore Roosevelt’s many health conditions, he was active outdoors. He was dedicated to preserving our environment and is considered the “Conservationist President,” according to the National Park Service.

5. Lewis Carroll Lewis-Carroll-teal

“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” — Lewis Carroll

Author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known under the pen name “Lewis Carroll,” recorded two of his seizures in journals, according to the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Doctors now suspect that Carroll lived with temporal lobe epilepsy, according to The New York Times.

6. Charles DickensDickens_Gurney_head

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens

Author Charles Dickens had epilepsy when he was a child but didn’t have seizures as an adult, according to the BC Epilepsy Society. Some prominent characters in Dickens’ books had epilepsy, including Monks in “Oliver Twist” and Bradley Headstone in “Our Mutual Friend,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

7. Princedownload

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.” — Prince

Prince dealt with epilepsy as a child, he told People magazine, but the singer claims his epilepsy was cured after an angel spoke to him. “One day I… said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’” he said on PBS’ “Tavis Smiley” show, “and she said, ‘Why?’, and I said, ‘Because an angel told me so.’”

8. Florence Griffith Joynerdownload (1)

“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything… I’m just not listening anymore.” — Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner, nicknamed Flo-Jo, was an American Olympian. She died in 1998 from an epileptic seizure, which doctors then tried to contribute to Flo-Jo’s use of performance enhancing drugs, according to The New York Times. Flo-Jo passed every drug test she took and denied ever using drugs, according to CNN. “My wife took the final, ultimate drug test,” Flo-Jo’s husband, Al Joyner, said in a statement after her death.

9. Lil Wayne400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_LilWayne

Rap superstar Lil Wayne recently came clean about the condition he has dealt with for much of his life. In 2013, he was hospitalized when he had a series of seizures. They occurred after shooting a music video, and it was assumed they were brought on by a busy schedule and lack of sleep. Recalling this frightening time, Wayne said, “No warning, no nothing, I don’t feel sick. I get headaches real bad. And the headaches? I didn’t get no headaches or nothing.”

After recovering, Lil Wayne opened up in an interview about having multiple seizures throughout his life. In talking publicly about his epilepsy and what it feels like to have a seizure, the rapper is helping to shed light on the condition for his millions of fans. He also has made it a point to let his fans know that epilepsy won’t damper his career plans or schedule, saying that his doctor “didn’t tell me to do too much that a human doesn’t do anyway. Sleep and eat right, that’s about it.”

10. Jean Clemensjean clemens

The youngest daughter of Mark Twain. She had epilepsy from age fifteen, which her father attributed to a childhood head injury. Her epilepsy was not successfully controlled and at one point she was sent to an epilepsy colony in Katonah, New York. She was found dead on Christmas Eve in her bath aged 29. The cause of death was reported as drowning due to epilepsy.

11. Dai Greene400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_DaiGreene

Olympic athlete Dai Greene is an example of how lifestyle habits can make a real difference to your health. The British track and field hurdler has epilepsy, but he hasn’t had a seizure in years. After medications failed to eliminate his seizures, Greene realized that alcohol, stress, and lack of sleep triggered them. He changed his lifestyle, cut out alcohol, and started eating better.

In 2011, Greene told The Guardian how his family was skeptical about these changes at first. He went on: “But they were fine once I discussed it with my specialist, who agreed to me coming off medication because I’d changed my lifestyle dramatically. I was no longer drinking … so I was confident I wouldn’t put myself in a scenario where I’d have another seizure. I very rarely drink alcohol now. I’ve had some nights when I’ve gone drinking at the end of the season, but as long as I spend time in bed the next day I’m fine. Also, my girlfriend doesn’t drink, so that helps.”

While we can give Greene kudos for overcoming these challenges naturally, you shouldn’t stop taking your medications without a serious discussion with your doctor. No one with a medical condition should rely on lifestyle changes alone without consulting a doctor. But Dai’s success shows that healthy living can be a great supplement to professional medical care.

12. Danny Gloverdownload (2)

He will forever be known for his role in the popular “Lethal Weapon” movies, but Danny Glover also impacts people when he talks about epilepsy. The Academy Award-winning actor struggled with epilepsy and seizures as a child. Like many people with epilepsy, he outgrew the disorder.

Glover attributes part of his success to being able to recognize the warning signs of seizures after his first one at the age of 15. He said “Eventually, I could recognize it happening … Each time I got a bit stronger and the symptoms began to diminish to the point where I was ready to go on stage.”

Today, Glover works to bring awareness to epilepsy by supporting the Epilepsy Foundation. He contributes to the organization’s programs for children and volunteers his time speaking about epilepsy and bringing awareness to the issue.

13. Jason Snelling400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_JasonSnelling

Former Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling is another important supporter of the Epilepsy Foundation. He was diagnosed with epilepsy in college. With treatment, he was able to continue his football career and become a successful professional athlete.

Snelling has been outspoken about his condition — particularly the stigmas and difficulties surrounding diagnosis. In an interview, he said that “It took a long time for the doctors to diagnose me because not all seizures are due to epilepsy; it could have been a seizure disorder that was caused by something else. In my case, it did turn out to be epilepsy.” Furthermore, he offers advice on fear and stigma: “You know, there’s a big fear factor about having seizures in public, of maybe having one in front of other people. And I like to tell people not to worry so much about that. Epilepsy can be managed, and you can go on and do whatever you want to do. I was able to fight my fears and overcome a lot of things; having epilepsy has actually built my character.”

Today, Snelling works with the Epilepsy Foundation to bring awareness to the condition. He reaches out to others by speaking out about his own experiences. He also works with the Foundation’s African American initiative, Know the Difference. Snelling’s outreach is helping to bring awareness and funding to this important cause.

14. Susan Boyle400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_SusanBoyle

The woman who made waves on “Britain’s Got Talent” with her lovely voice has also opened up about having epilepsy. The unlikely star struggled with the condition throughout her childhood. In recalling those struggles, she has said: “At school I used to faint a lot. It’s something I’ve never talked about. I had epilepsy. People in the public eye don’t have things like that. All through my childhood they’d say epilepsy is to do with mental function. And now I realize it’s not. I was up against all those barriers. It wasn’t easy.”

Boyle has talked openly about her disability and how it held her back. Adults in her life told her that her seizures were due to a mental defect, and for years she believed them. By talking about her struggles, Boyle helps to shine a light on children who may experience complex emotions because of epilepsy.

15. Rick Harrison400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_RickHarrison

His fans know him as the knowledgeable owner of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop and the star of “Pawn Stars.” What Rick Harrison’s fans might not know about him is that he lives with epilepsy. Harrison attributes his love of history to the fact that he was forced to spend much of his time as a child inside the house, alone. The Epilepsy Foundation has quoted Harrison as saying, “Because of my seizures, I was forced to spend a lot of time in bed in my room away from the television when I was a kid … The best way to entertain myself was to read, so I became very interested in history books.” He ended up developing a lifelong passion for the subject.

Now, Harrison is giving back by working with the Epilepsy Foundation and helping the organization bring awareness to his home state of Nevada.

16. Chanda Gunn400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_ChandaGunn

Athletes with epilepsy are particularly great at inspiring others to succeed in the face of a physical disability. Among some of the most inspiring is Chanda Gunn, the goalie for the 2006 women’s U.S. Olympic ice hockey team. Diagnosed at the age of nine, Chanda was already an avid athlete. When she was forced to give up swimming and surfing, she took up hockey and never looked back.

For Gunn, it’s important to let other people with epilepsy know that the condition won’t hold you back from your dreams. While ice hockey might be considered dangerous for people with epilepsy, Gunn demonstrates that anything is possible. On epilepsy.com she writes: “There’s no reason why a person with epilepsy can’t play sports or pursue their dreams.” Although she was afraid of the sport she’s now famous for playing, she further says, “I’ve learned to live with it, the fear of the unknown, because I want to really live life and for me that means playing ice hockey.”

Today, Gunn is one of the most successful women in U.S. hockey. She’s also a spokeswoman for the Epilepsy Therapy Project.

17. Alan Faneca400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_EpilepsyAlanFaneca

Former guard for three NFL teams and a winner of one Super Bowl, Alan Faneca has long been vocal about living with epilepsy. He was diagnosed at the age of 15 and has coped with it ever since. He’s opened up about living in fear (especially as a teenager) with epilepsy, and his early attempts to hide it. He was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “I felt like a freak. You live scared that somebody is going to find out, and they’re going to think less of you. You’re living in the shadows.”

In spite of his condition, Faneca managed to have a 13-year career in professional football that included several Pro Bowl awards. He’s now a spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation, spreading awareness and teaching people first aid for seizures.

18. Hugo Weaving400x400_12_Famous_Faces_of_Epilepsy_HugoWeaving

Australian actor Hugo Weaving is best known to Americans for his roles in “The Matrix” and “The Lord of the Rings.” He started his battle with epilepsy as a teenager when he experienced major seizures at least once a year. Weaving says that his disorder never held him back, and that he didn’t let it stop him from doing the things he loved to do.

He’s also been open about his experiences with the condition — including medications. In 2015, he was quoted in The Guardian as saying, “People always thought I was laid back, but I was basically doped for 30 years on epilepsy drugs. I ran out of my meds filming in the desert and went cold turkey. I was on a moderately high dose and it was masking a nervous anxiety I didn’t know I had.”

Weaving always had a positive attitude about his illness and hoped that he would outgrow it. Because of the seizures, he was never able to get a driver’s license. Today, he can say that his hopes came true. He hasn’t experienced a seizure in over 18 years.

19. Elton John330px-Elton_John_2011_Shankbone_2

Elton John has struggled with epilepsy for years.  It is thought that the epilepsy was induced by the star’s years of drug use. Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, record producer, and occasional actor. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriter partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100.

20. Alexander the Greatalexander-the-great-fictional-characters-photo-u2

Alexander the Great had epilepsy although at the time is was diagnosed as the “sacred disease.”

Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a King of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, until by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into northwest India. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful military commanders.

21. Adam Horovitzadam-horovitz-recording-artists-and-groups-photo-1

Horovitz was married to actress Ione Skye from 1992 to 1995. They separated in 1995 and divorced in 1999. Since 1997 he has been involved with riot grrrl artist Kathleen Hanna; they married in 2006. Horovitz is featured prominently in The Punk Singer, a 2013 documentary film about Hanna’s life and career; he even shot a scene himself to show Hanna’s distressed reaction to the medication she was taking against Lyme disease. His best friend since childhood is actress Nadia Dajani, whom he met at P.S. 41, a public elementary school in Manhattan.

Horovitz began to wear a medical alert bracelet following the tonic–clonic seizure he experienced in 2003.

22. William Alexander “Bud” Abbott Bud_Abbott_in_a_crop_from_a_promotional_photograph_for_Abbott_and_Costello_Meet_Frankenstein_in_1948

Famous comedian (half of the “Abbot and Costello” duo) who had epilepsy all his life, but tried to control and hide it. He was an American actor of burlesque, radio, stage, television and film, producer, and comedian. He is best remembered as the “straight man” of the comedy duo Abbott and Costello, along with Lou Costello. Abbott was active for over 30 years, appearing in both television and film roles.

23. Ward Bond330px-Operation_Pacific-Ward_Bond

A film actor. His epilepsy led to his exclusion from the draft during World War II. He was an American film character actor whose rugged appearance and easygoing charm were featured in more than 200 films and the NBC television series Wagon Train from 1957 to 1960. Among his best-remembered roles are Bert, the cop, in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and Captain Clayton in John Ford’s The Searchers (1956).

Contributing Sources:

9 Famous People You Probably Didn’t Know Had Epilepsy | Health Updates 
By Margaret Lenker
Healthline Newsletter – 12 Famous Faces of Epilepsy
By Mary Ellen Ellis and Kristeen Cherney

Depression – “Words do matter” Things you shouldn’t say.

What’s the matter with you? “DO YOU THINK YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE THAT GETS DEPRESSED?” Depression is a serious problem in our society.

I am someone that lives with depression everyday of my life. It’s so hard at times – almost suffocating! I understand that people may not understand how to talk to me about it, what to say to make me feel better or even just what to do to be able to cope themselves. But the first thing people need to learn is that WORDS MATTER! If you are diagnosed with depression or you’re researching depression and mental health and landed here, I hope this gives you some insight and guidance to help you better understand what impact your words have.

Depression affects about 300 million people worldwide and 16 million AmericansFor someone that has depression, hearing someone say something like that can be extremely hurtful. The American Psychiatric Associationstresses the importance of avoiding derogatory language. Words such as psycho and crazy are not helpful. Neither are words like “suffering” or “victim.” Someone “has” depression; they do not “suffer” from it. I don’t think that a person would be wrong to say that depression is a complicated and overwhelming condition, both for those who have it and for their friends, loved ones and family.depression-main

Being diagnosed with depression is NOT the same thing as having a sad day or depressed feeling for a couple days. It’s NOT the same as feeling bad about something you didn’t get, or something currently going wrong . Clinical depression is much, much deeper than any of that.

As for me, I’ve been diagnosed with major depression for the better part of my life. I’m 50 years old and SOME of the conditions I deal with are: intractable epilepsy, osteopenia, osteoarthritis, multiple back and neck surgeries, headache/migraines, severe anxiety/panic attacks and I have chronic pain. Plus a ton of medication side effects. I won’t even go into all my emotional problems that contribute to the depression.

Now I’m not saying I am, and I don’t want to be by any means, an expert on depression. But I’ve been through a lot. When you reach rock bottom and are taken to the hospital for treatment, that’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Medicationshelp, but they come with unwanted side effects and can interfere with medication you may currently be prescribed. That’s what happened with me, it was a challenge to find a medication that worked.

What’s the link between a person’s personality and mental illness ? Depression often makes it extremely hard for the person dealing with it to take any action to get better. For the majority of people who have never had to deal with it, that seems totally illogical. It’s probably why people, even with good intentions, often say the wrong things to someone who has depression.

Friendships have been extremely difficult for me over the years. I’m often in a bad mood, quiet, short with people, give nasty looks and like to be left alone. Unfortunately, I’m not aware that these things happen many times. It turns people off that do not know I have major depression. People would rather be around positive people. I get that! If it weren’t for my family, maybe I would be totally alone, or stuck in short relationships?

Depression, mental illness and suicide have been hot topics in the last year. In April 2018, the World Health Organization annual World Health Day was almost entirely dedicated to depression and suicide awareness. The “Depression: Let’s Talk” campaign kicked off. And last year (2017)Instagram  began their #HereForYou mental health campaign to bring awareness to mental health issues like depression.

When talking about depression, the language we use matters. Even with the best intentions, what you think is motivational for the person, actually can hurt someone with depression. Any conversation like this is going to be difficult and possibly unpleasant to have, but don’t be deterred. Remember, this is a friend, loved one or family member and you love them.

Here are some examples of comments made by people to someone who is clinically depressed, with a little explanation of why you don’t want to say that particular phrase.

“Everything will be OK.” Someone with depression can’t see that. It’s important to stay positive and encouraging, but it takes action to feel better.

“Just do something about it.”Depression is so sneaky because it makes it very hard to do anything about it. Depressed people make depressed and poor decisions. They are responding to feelings instead of logic.

“Stop it.” People usually know what they shouldn’t be doing. The problem with depression is each person who has it knows the right thing to do but can’t find a way to bring themselves to do it. They need help getting started and staying motivated.

“Get over it.” No one expects a friend or loved one to “get over” any kind of disease, but that is often the response when someone with depression expresses his or her feelings and emotions. Clinical depression is not a choice. Depression is a medical disorder, a biological disruption of brain chemistry linked to and triggered by some combination of genetics, family history, past trauma, stress and other factors.

“You don’t need medication; you can pull through this.” That is NOT for you to decide. While it is very true that many cases of depression do respond to treatments other than antidepressants, like diet changes and exercise, lifestyle changes, counseling, etc., some people do need medication.

Get out and Go do something and you will feel better.” If you say that be prepared for a response like: Go do what? I can’t be bothered. I’m tired. I’m not interested. I have no energy. I just want to sleep. Doing something won’t make me feel better. Leave me alone. Someone with depression doesn’t want to spend time or energy thinking about what to do. They may even feel harassed and annoyed by you telling them to do something.

“Be grateful for what you have”  How does this solve their depression? The person may still feel that life is not worth living despite being grateful for what they have. A lot of people have it worse than you! People with depression often know this, and feel guilty about their condition. They don’t need more guilt piled on.

Some short phrase examples of things you do NOT want to say to a depressed person.

  • “No one ever said that life was fair.” 
  • “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” 
  • “So you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?” 
  • “Try not to be so depressed.” 
  • “It’s your own fault.” 
  • “Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.” 
  • “I think your depression is a way of punishing us.” 
  • “Haven’t you grown tired of all this “me, me, me” stuff yet?”

If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Just sit with us, let us cry, let us vent, just be there!

David’s story with Epilepsy

The seizures in my life that have brought with them pains that will never go away. They become a part of us, they journey the paths we take and go wherever we go in life. We can never get rid of them, but we can try to understand, accept them, and learn to deal with them through acts of pleasure that we experience in life. Let me explain the seizures that I live with everyday. I have primary generalized epilepsy (onset seizures):

  • Motor symptoms may include sustained rhythmic jerking movements (clonic), muscles becoming weak or limp (atonic), muscles becoming tense or rigid (tonic), brief muscle twitching (myoclonus), or epileptic spasms (body flexes and extends repeatedly).
  • Non-motor symptoms are usually called absence seizures. These can be typical or atypical absence seizures (staring spells). Absence seizures can also have brief twitches (myoclonus) that can affect a specific part of the body or just the eyelids.

My battle with epilepsy began when I was sixteen; I was on vacation (the summer before my senior year in high school) in Blythe, Ca (desert) driving home from New Mexico. I had a very violent tonic-clonic seizure in the car which lasted over 12 minutes. This was just the beginning of a very long battle. We now know that I’ve had epilepsy since I was a baby. It just took someone to witness the tonic-clonic before I was diagnosed and we started the research.I woke up in the hospital over a day later not knowing what had happened or where I was. I was as scared as I ever was and I didn’t know why I hurt so badly. I was so confused; I wanted to talk but couldn’t formulate sentences, then I would pass out again because I was so exhausted.As you can imagine my parents were freaking out so to speak as to why their son had a seizure – NO I WASN’T USING DRUGS. Yes they actually asked that several times. They all wanted to know “what was wrong with David?” I began having quite a few tonic-clonic seizures as a teen and continued as a young adult that always seemed to cause some type of catastrophic failure in my life. But life goes on!! At sixteen, I was issued a driver’s license and I drove for a while.  I was so excited to get my license. I always felt different from the other kids because I had epilepsy. I always felt like I had to prove something. This was short lived because I had another seizure and at that time the DMV suspended my license for a year and a half.During my senior year of high school, I was afraid to tell anyone that I had epilepsy except for my best friend (who always had my back) and never said a word to anyone about my seizures. He would always “watch out” for me whenever we would go someplace; I knew that I could count on him.We had gone to see several neurologists, doctors and specialists of all kinds. I ended up going to see a holistic doctor in Santa Monica for treatments to see if there was a chemical imbalance. We went from Orange County to L.A. County to San Diego County and we reached out to every organization that we could find at the time (Epilepsy Foundation etc.)  DSC01230We didn’t know anything about epilepsy and had to learn all we could. My mother has been my biggest advocate my help and friend (above being my mother) with my epilepsy.  I don’t know what I would have done without her. She is still the first one I look around for and want after I have a seizure; she is the only one in my life that has shared every detail and been involved of every aspect of my epilepsy.When I was in my early twenties I was working at John Wayne airport in California, fueling planes; I was about ready to get inside of a 5,000 gallon jet fuel truck and head to the commercial ramp when suddenly I went into a seizure.  My muscles tightened and my foot went all the way down on the gas pedal. I crashed the van in to the side of a private jet which knocked me towards the runway right in the path of a landing DC-9. I crossed the commercial runway then the smaller runway hitting a helicopter that was on the tarmac and finally crashing in to a light pole. This as you might have guessed ended my career at the airport – and my license was suspended AGAIN!I slowly was falling into a depression and not even realizing it.  I was withdrawing from the world and feeling hopeless inside. I was afraid to tell others how I felt.  I felt trapped in a corner. I finally met my first epileptologist who was able to actually get my seizures under control by getting me on the correct medicines. I remained (tonic-clonic) seizure free for almost 11 years. Keep in mind that I’d been put on drug after drug trying to control my seizures, but nothing had worked.When my daughter was three, we lived in NJ; we decided to come out to California for a visit. While on the plane my daughter had a seizure (3 yrs old.) It was the single most gut wrenching experience of my life. We had to make an emergency landing in Ohio and we spent a week at Children’s Hospital of Ohio, not the vacation we had planned. My daughter had a total of 3 seizures over the next year and luckily no more. She is now an adult and remains seizure free.In July of 2006 I had a seizure while at work. They called it a breakthrough seizure and increased the medicine I was taking. Almost exactly a year later I had another seizure and at that time the Dr changed medicines again. A month later, I had another seizure and another so off of those medicines I came and I started a different medicine regimen. My mom flew back to NJ to be with me and we had Thanksgiving 2006 together (at Boston Market) that was a first EVER!! Things seemed to stabilize and she left to go home for Christmas in CA.The seizure that changed my life occurred in January 2007 outside a church in New Jersey, where I was picking up my daughter for her overnight stay with me. It was snowing so I had started my truck to warm it up and walked over to get her when down I went into a massive tonic-clonic seizure. This time was no different; (as always landing on my knees) and falling on my face leaving me 3 permanent scars.  I was “beat up” as usual from the fall with scraping, bruising and sprains. I went into the hospital and stayed there for treatment, testing and medication changes (hooked up to a video EEG) for three and a half weeks.I lost my job during this time (not the first time). We decided that I had to fly home for a couple of weeks and be with my family for support and talk about some possible life changes. During that time the decision was made for me to move back home with family. So, inside of two weeks we packed, sold or gave away all of my belongings in NJ and moved me back home to California.It seemed like it was also time for me to do something to help raise awareness about epilepsy, which was slowly taking away the life I once new. So I became an advocate, speaking where I could and supporting people online.DSC01677 (5)I had been (tonic-clonic) seizure free again for almost two years when one day while riding my bike I had a tonic-clonic seizure that wiped me out for over a day. I can remember crossing the intersection (riding next to a bus) then waking up in the hospital hurting and exhausted. I just couldn’t believe that I had another (tonic-clonic) seizure. I suffered a mild concussion even though I was wearing my helmet and since then my seizure frequency has increased. One of the unique things about epilepsy is that it is not unusual for seizures to change type, frequency or intensity. I also decided to have surgery to install the VNS (vagus nerve stimulator) as an adjunct therapy, in August 2010. Over the years, I’ve taken 26 different seizure medications to obtain good seizure control. They have changed from a single medication to multiple different medications per day in varying doses. I’m currently taking multiple medications and still pursue alternative treatments. The VNS stimulator unfortunately was not very effective and due to a cervical surgery that was needed in 2015, it was removed. Since we cannot seem to gain good seizure control I decided that it would be a good idea for me to wear a helmet. I am also doing this to help raise awareness of the dangers of seizures and epilepsy.Service dogs have long been an interest to me. I decided that a seizure alert/response dog would be worth looking into. Through Little Angels Service Dogs, I’ve been training a beautiful female yellow Labrador retriever named “Miss Chevious Allie Poochino” AllieI just call her Allie. I have had a great opportunity to get excellent professional training and help training Allie. She goes everywhere with me and is with me 24/7. Allie has become my best friend and protector and is really helping to improve my quality of life.With all of this I made the very hard but smart decision for the safety of everyone in mind. I will never, ever get behind the wheel again no matter how hard this makes my life or what I will miss out on. I have come to the realization that it is an incredibly irresponsible and selfish thing to do. As the wise Spock once said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one”.  Life I have learned is too precious! I have had to learn to go by other people’s schedule. I am not one to ask for people’s pity or ask for help from someone. I consider myself a strong, independent person. I want to take care of myself. Being able to have the freedom to get into a car and choose where you want to go, how you want to go is something we all take for granted. This is a freedom that I no longer enjoy and I miss it terribly.In 2012, my seizures had become so out of control that I could no longer work. I’ve been disabled and on SSDI ever since. Living with epilepsy creates all kinds of problems like major depression, anxiety, cognitive problems, memory issues and SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). As well as all kinds of medication side effects. Trying to develop a relationship, date, etc. can be extremely challenging, for both parties. Needless to say, I’ve attempted and failed several times at dating. The last time was in December of 2017. IMG_3621I had a (tonic-clonic) seizure while out with a woman eating dinner at a restaurant. Two and a half days later I woke up in the hospital. I had a severe concussion and brain bleed, and hurt my neck during the fall out of the chair which would require surgery. I spent 17 days in the hospital and came out with a three level cervical fusion and four level double anterior plating, because I’m a fall risk. It’s taken six months to recover, physically and mentally.When I’m having non-motor symptom seizures, which happen every few minutes everyday, life continues on usually without much interruption that anyone would notice. I’m the only one that feels the impact, which can be frightening, confusing, frustrating, disorienting and tiring to mention a few. However, the motor symptom seizures, the kind that you think of when you hear the word “seizure” are devastating when they come. I’m thankful that I don’t have those everyday.So the journey continues… stay tuned!