Thursday, February 25, 2016 |
I was 18 and in my first year of university when I had my first confirmed seizure. It took two years with several more tonic clonic and absence seizures before I accepted and understood that I have epilepsy. Some times it took more than an hour to read a single page of a text book because absence seizures kept interfering. It was annoying, frustrating, and exhausting but I couldn't admit defeat and quit university. My stubbornness (and a healthy dose of fear of my mother's reaction!) kept me from doing that. My greatest accomplishment (thus far) is convocating from university with a BA with High Honours.
Acting is one of my passions- and I'm actually good at it! Every time I audition for a production and land a lead role I think "Did you really believe you could hold me down, Epilepsy?"
Modelling is a big part of my life. Photo shoots can sometimes be tricky though because absence seizures cause my eyes to roll and make it hard for a photographer to grab a shot when my eyes are fully open. Fortunately, technology these days can rectify that problem after the fact for the finished product, yet sometimes when a shoot runs overtime it is physically and mentally draining. But I love my job anyway!!!
When I compete in pageants I am open about my epilepsy. I want to show there is no shame in having epilepsy. I want kids to see that they can succeed academically, professionally, and socially in spite of epilepsy. And now that I am Ms. Canada 2015/16 I have a stage from which I can spread hope to people around the world who have epilepsy.
I'm not going to cry you a "woe is me" story; when push comes to shove, I know I have a good life. I have a great insurance plan. I live in a country that has a universal health care system. And I have regular visits with both my neurologist and my epileptologist. So from a health care perspective I'm covered, no worries. But I'm certainly not going to lie and say my life is perfect. It is depressing sometimes. I mean that literally- as in clinically depressed not just something that can be expressed by a sad face emoticon. I have struggles.
I hope to inspire others who have epilepsy to persevere. When I wear my Ms. Canada 2015/16 sash and crown I'm a public example that with perseverance and determination epilepsy will never win. And I am showing people who are ignorant about epilepsy that they can take the stigma and burn it. They said I'd never hold a national title, but look at me now! I don't want to say "I told you so" but... actually I do want to say that! When they said I couldn't do it that just added fuel to the pageant fire already burning in my heart! I did all of this even while neural plaques were forming on my brain. Obviously we people with epilepsy are capable of more than some people give us credit for.
When I feel down I listen to two songs: If Today Was Your Last Day (Nickelback) and Through The Fire (Randy Travis). The first says "Each day's a gift and not a given right... Don't take a free ride in your own life." I have one chance at life so I have to make every day matter. The latter song reminds me that when I feel weak or broken, it's not true. Epilepsy will NEVER break me. I WON'T LET IT. I have a strong will, God, and my support system. I can't ask for more!
Visit My Facebook Page
Friday, January 22, 2016 |
I got involved in the epilepsy community after battling 13 years of seizures. I felt it was time to help bring more awareness to the community. Epilepsy has influenced my life in so many ways; from learning how to deal with challenges to simply meeting new people. In this adventure, I developed what is becoming a new trend in online support groups for people with epilepsy. Friendz 4 Comfort has been my way to share my story and hopefully a way for others to share theirs.
I wouldn’t say I share information about epilepsy on social media. My posts and tweets are meant to be more inspirational and motivational. People battling epilepsy experience some rough times. I want people to see my posts and know they can get through it. Friendz 4 Comfort, along with all the epilepsy groups on social media provide great insights on how people battle their epilepsy. I found that the key to successfully battling epilepsy is to have the ability to share your experiences with others.
A story I relate to my seizures is the time I spent with my parents while I went through my EEG’s. Throughout my 13 years of living with epilepsy, I’ve had 2 week-long EEG’s. My parents would be the ones who kept me smiling. Whether they were taking selfies with me, or watching Friends all night. As bad as it was, it truly was a bonding time for myself and my parents. For anyone who has to go through week-long EEG’s, make sure you find a TV show you can binge on!
Friendz 4 Comfort Website: www.friendz4comfort.com
Facebook Page: www.fb.com/friendz4comfort
Thursday, December 17, 2015 |
- What's your story?
I actually received Epilepsy in 2014 when I fell down the stairs in Las Vegas. I do not remember Las Vegas at all apart from when I heard it all when in Hospital. It was actually my first time in Las Vegas so we spent our first day through drinking and going to different parties. I do not remember this at all but apparently I fell down the stairs when walking back to my hotel after the parties. I was actually in Hospital’s (below) for over the years of 2014 and 2015:
- UMC – Las Vegas
- Charing Cross - Hammersmith
- Kingston – Hospital
- St Georges – Tooting (headed back to Charing Cross for a weekend to fix my head cranioplasty)
- Queen’s Marys – Roehampton
Once I was out of hospitals, I still visited many different areas to help me get back to work. Some of these included included:
- Richmond – Helping my left wrist which was hurt when falling down the stairs
- St Georges (Tooting) – Teaching me to focus on being back to work (still talk to everyday) and they helped me start back at Cisco
- Freedom Pass http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/freedom-pass
- Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital – Now helping me with my left wrist
- Why are you involved in spreading information about Epilepsy on social media platforms?
While I do not like having Epilepsy and Seizure’s, nobody seems to know what they are unless somebody actually tells it to them. It is not nice but people need to know!
- What interesting research, tips, recipes, or story can you share with our Epilepsy Community?
Use the Epilepsy Tool Kit on your phone or iPad! It is amazing to help you understand what you have and you can also track the medications you need to have each day. My doctor actually gave me a toolkit that means if I should I have another Seizure, I can automatically update my medications each day to try and remove having a Seizure again. His plan is to make sure I don’t have a seizure for a year so I can drive again.
- Dr Hockney (St George’s Hospital, Tooting London)
Polytrauma including TBI 31st August 2014
Thomas had 20 weeks in rehabilitation at the Wolfson Centre (St Geoirge’s Tooting) following episodes of polytrauma falling down 51 steps in a hotel in Las Vegas in late August 2014. He suffered a lot of injuries including left subdural haemorrhage, subarachnoid, haemorrhage, acetabular fracture, right superior orbital fracture, right temporal bone fracture, fracture on right C7 and T1 to T3 transverse processes and also developing hydroureter. He was managed initially at Las Vegas and before being repatriated to the UK via Charing Cross Hospital and then Kingston Hospital. He was at Wolfson Centre from December 2014 and was discharged independently mobile with some ongoing cognitive difficulties. I am pleased that since discharged Thomas who is now living back in his flat in London with his friends, and has now started back at work as a Local Government Account Manager.
- Useful Links (Epilepsy Society and MyID)
- What are you doing now?
I have actually
started back to work for currently 3
days a week. I understand that a year in Hospital was needed after
falling down the stairs but unfortunately I’m a nerd and I have always
been! I love technology and my job is ideal for talking to customers and
partners everyday about how we can help their
Tuesday, December 08, 2015 |
At 17 years old I have been diagnosed with epilepsy. I feel like it would be a great opportunity to let people hear about my condition, and to really express myself to the community.
People with epilepsy share their stories on a day to day basis to be accepted by the outside community. I feel like my story can be relatable just by how young I am and how I'm dealing with the comments and how strong it's developing me.
Its very hard dealing with it because you never know when the next seizure is. You are forever hurting yourself going into a seizure. You can break bones,bruises, busted lips. It's a lot of different things that can take a toll. The biggest thing for me right now is the medication since I'm such a natural herb person. I have a hard time trying to swallow pills, and the side effects I have with the excruciating migraine and being unable to breathe on a day-to-day basis.