Tammy Karatchuk

When I was 15, I had a nocturnal tonic-clonic seizure, which lead to the diagnosis of a brain tumour. A year after the tumour was removed, I had another seizure, this one was a focal aware – and during chemistry class. At the time, we didn’t know I had epilepsy. We thought it was a seizure disorder caused by the tumour. It was the early 1990s, and there wasn’t a lot of information available about epilepsy.

The seizures persisted, and I was diagnosed with another brain tumour at 17 years old. Once this tumour was removed, I didn’t have another seizure for years – and when I did, it was ten seconds here, or a five seconds there. Nothing that inferred with my life. I consider that very lucky.

However, a week before my wedding, that changed. I had a focal aware seizure, but my body was completely involved. These continued after the wedding for over a year. The medication I was on no longer worked, and I had to go through a revamp.

Once my meds were overhaulled, I felt like a new person. I was seizure free for six years, and when I have them they’re still focal aware.

I was able to attend the Creative Communications program at Red River College, where I completed my diploma in journalism. I moved to Edmonton to work on a 10-month term with Shaw TV – an amazing experience! In the fall of 2013, I returned to Manitoba, and I worked a three-month contract with CJOB.

My neurologist referred me to Dr. Marcus Ng, and he asked if I’d be willing to stay in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. My seizures were happening only once every two years or so, but there was a chance they could be eradicated. I stayed at the EMU when I was blogging everyday about turning 40 years old. I’m in the process of turning the blogs and diary I kept into a book.

Currently, I am a romance novellist, and I’m writing a memoir about living with epilepsy and my brain tumour experience. I’m a social media strategist for the local heritage museum. I’m also an adult figure skater – a sport I had to leave because of my epilepsy and brain tumours.

Thank you for your consideration,

Tammy Karatchuk

Age Diagnosed: 15
Location: Canada
Website: http://www.tammykaratchuk.com/

Hobbies: writing, figure skating, photography, speed walking

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