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Living With Epilepsy

Epilepsy Foundation of Western OhioThe September 2008 issue of Parents Magazine has a great article about a Massachusetts family and how they dealt with their son’s epilepsy.  (Unfortunately it was not posted on their web site, and did not turn up in numerous web searches.  Should you find a link please let me know)

The story centers around a young boy named Michael, who suffered from 2 types of seizures that sound very similar to those that my son experiences.  The similarities between the descriptions their lives to our day to day reality was striking.  Michael’s parents spoke about how their child suffered through hundreds of seuzures a day, and how they “got used to living in crisis mode.”

I don’t want to paint this as a negative story, as it was actually quite informative and inspiring.  As parents of a child with epilepsy, we are often asked what our family life is like.  This article really sheds light into much of what life is like for us, and I imagine what life must be like for many other families who have a child suffering through epilepsy.

Their story has a happy ending, as their son Michael has now been seizure free for some time thanks to the right medications, early detection, and a lot of luck.  I am thrilled for Michael and his family.  I imagine that having Michael seizure free must be a wonderful feeling – one I hope we might experience someday.  Reading this article helped to further that hope.

One thing that we definately share with Michael’s family is this.  Our experience, like theirs, has taught us not to sweat the small stuff in life any more.

The article also features the following facts about Epilepsy: (Taken from the Parents article)

  • The Brain is made up of 100 Billion nerve cells, which communicate with each other and the rest of the body.
  • A seizure is triggered by abnormal electrical activity that causes a change in sensation, movement, behavior or consciousness.
  • Doctors diagnose epilepsy after a child has two or more unprovoked seizures, which means that they aren’t caused by something external, such as a fever.
  • Epilepsy is actually an umbrella term covering many diseases and syndromes.
  • Epilepsy affects about 3 million people in the United States, and 45,000 children are diagnosed with epilepsy each year.
  • There are 30 types of seizures, which can last from a few seconds to two minutes or longer.  In rare cases, they can be fatal.
  • Drugs, surgery, or a special high fat / low-carb diet are effective in about 80% of cases.  Kids may be good candidates for surgery if their seuzures – unlike Michael’s – can’t be controlled with medication and are caused in a specific area of the brain.

If you would like to learn more about epilepsy or need help dealing with epilepsy, please visit the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio at

The Epilepsy Foundation is always looking for volunteers.   If you would like to join in the fight against epilepsy, please visit the volunteer page of the EFWO site.