The month of March has been a sea of purple! On March 26th, 50 million people worldwide stood united to raise awareness of the third most common neurological condition. As I prepare this final blog of the month I'm deeply moved by the warmth and support our community has shown; for many years I have told families and people living with Epilepsy that they are not alone, but for the first time in 12 years I truly believe that we belong.
There is Excitement in the Air #EPICchallenge
Imagine a five year old waiting for their birthday and their special birthday party –that's exactly how I feel about our upcoming National Epilepsy Awareness Day Campaigns. PURPLE DAY!!! You can feel the excitement and an epic challenge is in the air with only 1 more day until our National Epilepsy Awareness day, March 26th. There is a pulse in the air like no other I've felt. Our fax machine has been vibrating with registration forms from schools registering to participate in our celebrations, our phones are ringing nonstop and so many of you have dropped by to pick up Purple Day materials for your office. Not to mention, thousands of pancakes flipped and consumed last month to kick off Epilepsy Awareness Month. "Purple Day" 2015 continues to be a day of anticipation as the nation turns purple.
As March break gets closer and closer, I subsequently find myself experiencing correlative bouts of jealousy when I tap in to social media and see plans of vacations to far-away lands and dream destinations. It's no secret to most that I spend my winters longing for warmer temperatures and the touch of beach sand on my feet (some days I follow the sun around my office, and I keep my Birkenstocks in the back seat of my car... just in case), and travel has always been something I have had an affinity for. But living with epilepsy makes for an added twist when you want to pack up all of your things and get away for a while.
It was an early morning and I was getting ready for school the way any 8th grader would when the home phone rang and it was my oldest sister calling in a voice of pure panic. She explained to my mother that while driving to their high school, my other sister had suddenly passed out in the car. There it was... absolute sheer panic. I could see it on my mom's face. The memory is as clear as if time stopped, permanently frozen. My entire family immediately entered into a state of the unknown. Life as we knew it at that moment had completely flipped upside down, never to be truly the same. For many years after that incident, my sister was in and out of the hospital after having episodes of what was mostly being referred to as "fainting" due to a lack of understanding of the medical problem. It took quite a long time for the actually diagnosis of epilepsy to emerge. From the very first episode until my sister's epilepsy was properly diagnosed and until she was able to find a way to
Normally when I sit down to write for Epilepsy Durham Region, the words have a way of flowing out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard. When it comes to epilepsy and me, I have been the archetype of being an open book, and feel so lucky to act as an advocate for other people living with epilepsy, and taking part in such amazing events and adventures with this organization – all of these things are met with a passion that translates easily onto paper. But as I sit here and think about our February theme, family, I struggle to articulate all of the emotions I have; to speak of how epilepsy has affected me is the easy part, but to speak of how it has impacted my family has me at a loss for words.