Epilepsy is not just seizures. I should know – I am nearly seven years seizure free. But epilepsy impacts me every day. There are the things people think about – like doctors appointments and medications. But there are also the things people don’t think about – like medication side effects, having to get 9+ hrs of sleep every night, not being allowed to drink alcohol, and always being aware that a breakthrough seizure could happen at any time.
When I was growing up, I was ashamed of my epilepsy. I hated that it made me different and I thought I was “weird.” Now, I am on a personal and professional journey to be the person I needed to see growing up; an adult who is living out her dreams, confidently and unabashedly. Oh, and also I have epilepsy and I am not afraid to talk about it!
I am a writer and an advocate for epilepsy awareness. I have written and published the first children’s book featuring a little girl with absence epilepsy, “Mimi: A Story About Absence Seizures.” I currently serve my community as Miss El Paso County 2022/2023 and if I go on to win Miss Colorado 2023 I will be the first person with epilepsy to wear the crown. My biggest accomplishment as Miss El Paso County is passing Epilepsy Remembrance Day in the state of Colorado on April 19, 2022. I have learned through research that when I was younger I was at high risk for SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). I am still here, despite the fact that thousands of beautiful souls are not. I want to make sure that no name ever gets forgotten after epilepsy took them too soon.
I may have epilepsy, but epilepsy doesn’t have me! I am so proud to be a warrior and fight every day for the epilepsy community.