I am thankful that Epilepsy taught me how precious and fragile life is. I now want to live each second to the fullest and with passion. I am thankful I can play with my grandchildren, building wooden train tracks, singing songs together and painting and hiding rocks. I am thankful for my supporting husband, who never looked at me or treated me differently after I developed epilepsy. I am thankful I can enjoy gardening and see the beauty and God’s hand in a flower or a spider’s delicately woven web. I am thankful that I currently have seizure control and I can work to advocate and raise awareness and help those who struggle with epilepsy.

My new normal is I now live with a stalker. Epilepsy is my stalker. It is always there. It is visible to no one, but I know it is there. It is always in the back of my mind. When I drive, shower or pick up a hot baking dish, anything dangerous, and everything is potentially dangerous if you have a seizure, I always think what would happen if right NOW I had a seizure. Epilepsy is my stalker that will always be there inside me. I can’t let this consume me, but it is there and that is my new normal.

I had to do something when I was diagnosed with epilepsy that I never had done before. I had to put myself and my health first before anyone else. As a mother and wife I had always put others before me. I had to learn to take care of myself first. I have my alarms set on my phone which is always in my pocket to remind me to take my meds on time. I exercise in a class three days a week. I try to get enough sleep. I eat healthy foods, most of the time. I’m sure chocolate is considered a health food somewhere. I also learned I have to let go of the things that cause stress and drama. That is sometimes easier said than done, but realizing what is truly important helps keep things in perspective.

I am making big plans for 2019 where I will be in Austin working to get Sam’s Law passed. Sam’s Law will be seizure recognition and first aid training for all Texas public school employees. This will ensure our children with seizures are safe at school.

Shari Dudo