I was diagnosed with epilepsy (nocturnal seizures) my senior year of high school in 2004 and am a board member of the Epilepsy Foundation in Amarillo. After finding out I had epilepsy, a lot of my childhood made more sense. I would wake up and couldn’t remember things and bit my tongue in my sleep. I grew up thinking this was normal and I was just a very deep sleeper. My senior year I was on an airplane by myself and fell asleep. A neurologist just happened to walk by and noticed I was sitting stiff in my seat. He instantly knew I was having a seizure and laid me down in the aisle of the plane. When we landed I was sent to the children’s hospital. What are the chances of that happening?! If that’s not a God thing then I don’t know what is. If he hadn’t seen me on that plane then who knows how much longer it would have taken me to find out about my epilepsy.’

I am so very thankful for my husband and daughter! When you tell people you have epilepsy, it scares them. So trying to have a close friend or boyfriend was hard because people don’t know how to react. I didn’t think I would ever find someone to marry that would want to deal with my health problems. Only the people that truly cared about me stuck around. I had always dreamed of one day being a mom and I had come to the conclusion that wasn’t in the cards for me. We couldn’t even think about having kids until I got my seizures under control. Once I finally got my medications figured out and decreased my stress then they finally stopped. Thankfully, I found a medication that worked for me and is safe for pregnancy. God blessed us with a beautiful blue-eyed red headed little girl. I can’t imagine my life without them.

I have been seizure free for years but the side effects of my medication still get to me daily. The medication can sometimes cause brain fog and it makes having conversations and remembering things hard. But I will take side effects over seizures any day!

“If you have epilepsy, don’t give up. I know it’s hard with all the doctor appointments, tests, and medications. It can be discouraging and you may think you’ll never feel better. One day you can have a normal life, it just takes time. I’m living proof of that.

Julie Wood