As a pharmaceutical representative for 20 years, the last 7 spent working for UCB and promoting seizure medications, it was shocking to me to become the seizure patient I had talked about for so long. Epilepsy is not a curse, it does not happen because a person does something wrong, it is not “karma,” it is just something that I have to manage now. I am not ashamed to have had a brain tumor or seizures, it is what it is and nothing for anyone to be afraid of. There are resources to help patients and family members with support, access to physicians and medications, and there are many other people just like me and you that have this condition as well. WE are not alone, and we are going to be okay.

I try to eat right, take all of my medication exactly as prescribed, and do not drink alcohol. I also try to get as much sleep as possible, as lack of sleep can lower the seizure threshold. In addition, I regularly attend epilepsy and brain tumor support groups and get tips from others on how they manage their condition.

I make sure that my family knows what to do in case I have a seizure, my sister and close friends have each other’s contact information, and I have a family friend keep a house key and put her on the pick-up list at my children’s schools in case of an emergency and she needs to take care of them if I am unable. I have appointments with my physicians scheduled well in advance, and I make sure someone can attend them with me. I am going to take real vacations with my kids and not check my phones and constantly stay “plugged in” in the fear that I will miss something. I refuse to let my diagnosis control me, and I am going to live my life and enjoy every second!

Tory Gerczak