By Kate Dolan

I was a baby when I had my first seizure. My mom watched my eyes roll to the back of my head and saw my arms flailing back. My parents rushed me to Riley hospital, which is where I spent my first birthday. My mom was scared. She was thinking “This is my first child, what’s going on!” We are still trying to solve that mystery.

We found out that I have Epilepsy.

What comes to mind when you hear those words? For many it is just another medical condiction, but for me it is my everyday life.

I am not alone. It is very common in the USA. According to the CDC, 3.4 million people have epilepsy nationwide.

My name is Kate Dolan, and I have been living with epilepsy since I was a year old. I have learned to cope with it my entire life.

I have tonic-clonic, myoclonic, and absence seizures. When they happen, I tense up, I get stiff as a board and my eyes roll back. After it is over, I feel sleepy and like I can’t remember anything. You could ask me what day it is and I will not remember. Sometimes I can’t remember where I am. These big seizures happen to me about every two weeks.

I cannot drive, so I take the bus or use other forms of transportation such as friends that are willing to give me a ride.

A lot of people have a lot of facts wrong about epilepsy.  I am writing because I want people to know that people that have seizures/epilepsy still can live a normal life, work jobs and live independently. On the other hand, many think our symptoms are not real. I feel that way because some people in the workforce have said to me “Oh, you have epilepsy, what is that?” I don’t think think they see it as true disability, because they can’t physically see the disability.

I am working to raise awareness epilepsy and to offer support to others. There are support groups out there for you if you have been recently diagnosed. I help lead a support group at Community North Hospital. We would like to see you at our meetings.

I invite the public to come to 7250 Clearvista way (behind Community North Hospital) conference room number 350 on the second Saturday of every month between 11:30 and 1:30 pm. This event is open to people with epilepsy as well as family, friends and supporters.