Sara Eve Fermin, a 33-year-old poet from Union City, New Jersey, remembers the first time she had a seizure. She was shopping at Gap when she suddenly felt her legs buckle. She tried to cry out, but her vocal cords were frozen. Her eyes flooded with color, and then everything went black. When she awoke, she was on the floor with temporary amnesia and no understanding of what had just occurred.
That was 10 years ago. Since then, Sara Eve has tried 15 medications, visited four doctors and undergone two surgeries to treat her condition – intractable epilepsy, a disorder in which an individual’s seizures can’t be completely controlled with medication. Today, Fermin isn’t seizure-free, but she’s able to manage her symptoms with anticonvulsants, lifestyle modifications and a strong support system.