At Seventeen – Rose

At Seventeen – Rose

In 1974, it was summer in my hometown of Chicago where the weather was 110 degrees in the shade when I had my first known grand mal seizure. I was 17 years old. Back then being a teenager diagnosed with epilepsy pretty much made you a social outcast. Friends turned their backs on you, you became lost and alone.
I think back to that time almost 44 years ago and how much I’ve grown. At 61, I am no longer afraid to admit that I have Epilepsy and that I no longer allow it to define me. I have become an activist and advocate for epilepsy awareness and education, speaking out about the neurological disorder that I have had to live with all of my adult life. I know I will never see a cure in my lifetime and the best I can hope for is to keep my seizures under control.
When I get asked what’s it like to be an Epileptic, I reply that I am not an Epileptic, I am a Person With Epilepsy. My condition doesn’t define the person I am, I do that. I may have Epilepsy but it doesn’t have me.

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