Hi! My name is Kate Folladori.
I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2001, when I was 15. At 14, I had my first seizure while away at summer camp. My parents drove to Austin (I can only imagine what they were thinking) and picked me up that night. At 19, I, for the first time, told someone outside of my family and those who saw that first seizure that I am living with epilepsy. And this year, at 32, I finally made a friend who has epilepsy. She is one of the first people I have ever come in contact with who truly understands everything I discuss with her.
Challenge and Opportunity
I tend to separate these “firsts” in my life, like the first time I drove a car by myself or my first love. Because epilepsy feels so different from those other things, it was certainly incredibly isolating for me having no one to relate to. And I know that it actually is different. I firmly believe that it is a unique challenge for both those who have epilepsy and their loved ones.
I felt for the longest time that this condition only stole opportunity from me. It has delayed graduation from college for well over a decade and I haven’t been able to work consistently. Epilepsy has affected my relationships and caused other health problems. But it has, within the past couple of years, and especially within the last few months, presented wonderful opportunities.
Outreach and Understanding
The biggest blessing is perhaps a sense of purpose. For many years I did not feel strong enough to have the desire to help others. This is for a variety of reasons that extend even beyond epilepsy. But it was only recently I felt I had what it took, both the desire and the strength, to want to help.
And this desire to help is what this blog is about. I primarily want to help people feel less alone, which is a lot of what the Epilepsy Foundation Texas has done for me. And I want others to feel understood. If I can even do that for one person, I will retire happy.