My life changed forever, on a cold January night in 1985. I had just turned 14 years old. I remember waking up inside an ambulance strapped to a stretcher. A nurse leaned over me to say that everything would be okay, and the hospital was only a few minutes away, though it actually was a 45 minute drive!! After numerous tests and a hospital stay I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
My epilepsy is from a rare condition called Focal Cortical Dysphasia which is an abnormality of the brain. It occurs when the neurons fail to form together properly In utero. I was scared, upset and never wanted anyone to know I had such a condition for fear of being made fun of and not fitting in.
I had to adjust to a life of medication, healthy eating, reduced stress and proper sleep to help control my seizures. I remember being teased with the nickname “Spacey Tracy”, because the medication that helped to control seizures also made me feel detached from my surroundings sometimes. It was VERY upsetting because it was totally out of my control. I kept epilepsy a secret from friends, employers and co-workers for 30 years, due to the stigma associated with it.
Three years ago, due to complications arising from epilepsy, I developed hemiplegic migraines – migraines that mimic a stroke – two new types of seizures and hemiparesis which is weakness on one side. But, I continue to fight to live and enjoy life on my terms.
Age Diagnosed: 14
Hobbies: painting, running and hiking