**This piece was first published in 2021, for our National Fundraising Week.**
In this piece, Sarah Dromey writes about why she supports the work of Epilepsy Ireland....
Nobody wants to have seizures, but it is fair to say that there are those who are lucky and unlucky in the epilepsy community.
I am one of the unlucky ones. I had my first seizure at 2 years of age and have what they call “drug-resistant epilepsy.” This means that the medications available are unable to fully control my seizures. For 70% of people living with epilepsy, they will go on to become seizure-free. For the other 30%, their condition will be more difficult to control. I am one of the 30% and this is what I mean when I say I’m part of the unlucky population of those living with epilepsy.
I have been living with epilepsy now for 41 years and counting. Sometimes the experts can find a reason as to why a person develops epilepsy and sometimes, they can’t – in my case, they can’t.
Epilepsy can be a devastating challenge, and a seizure can suddenly happen at any time. I have injured myself many times. I have burned myself, got black eyes, broke my ribs and the scariest was when I broke my neck in three places.
In my case, I do get a warning about when I have a seizure – or an “aura” as it is known in the epilepsy world. It gives me a little time to prepare for the seizure but during the seizure itself, I am totally unconscious and unaware of anyone or anything around me….and as you can see from the above, after the seizure can have its own challenges!
But living with epilepsy is not just about dealing with the implications of seizures – it can also affect other areas of your life as well. There is a still a lot of stigma and misunderstanding around epilepsy. For those with uncontrolled seizures (like me) you can’t drive. Both these issues coupled together can make it difficult to make and keep friends. People with epilepsy must learn to manage the challenges that their condition can present alongside the challenges and up and downs of day-to-day life.
While the condition and its implications are undoubtedly challenging, I know that by speaking about and promoting public awareness of epilepsy that things can improve life for others living with the condition. I also know that Epilepsy Ireland seek to improve the lives of people with epilepsy across Ireland by being there for them throughout the journey with their condition and by educating the public about the condition – the importance of this cannot be understated.
Remember – a person can be diagnosed with epilepsy at any stage of life. You never know when you might need to call on your local Community Resource Office. For anyone newly diagnosed, I want to help ensure that the services that Epilepsy Ireland continue to be there for all people with epilepsy.
Thank you Sarah for sharing this piece.