Caitie is the co-founder of the Epilepsy Awareness Squad
I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was five. It didn’t really affect how I lived my life though, I knew I wasn’t different from anyone else (except that I had seizures) and that didn’t really bother me. In my earlier years, it hadn’t bothered me nearly at all. The doctors had told me that I should be able to do anything I wanted to do with the exception of 3 things: skydiving, rock climbing, and scuba diving. Even though these were only 3 things out of all the wonderful things in the world I got really bummed out because of this sometimes. I grew up near the ocean and always dreamed of exploring it further.
When I moved away from Vancouver, B.C. and to a fantastic town called Summerland I was completely controlled on my meds. So I never told very many people about my seizures. When I got into high school I starting having more seizures. My grades weren’t as good as they should’ve been and I didn’t have the best social life. I was so tired of my meds. Even though they were making me seizure-free, I was not me. So when the doctors told me I could go off them I was so happy.
This past year has truly been a roller coaster for me. I went on and off a lot of different meds. I tried ones that gave me an allergic reaction, ones that made me a very slow thinker, and even some that gave me suicidal thought. Then I tried the Ketogenic diet. I was desperate to try something that wasn’t another medication. After all, they obviously weren’t working.
I’ve now been a few months seizure and medication free! The diet has been working fabulously, but I think I might even try to go off the diet and see how that works out for me.
Epilepsy has given me some of the hardest times in my life, but in some ways it is a gift. Through my advocating for Epilepsy I’ve met so many amazing people and gotten so many amazing opportunities. I am very lucky, and I know there are many people in the world who aren’t nearly as fortunate as me with my epilepsy and that is why we need to keep advocating!
I know that if I didn’t have epilepsy I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Epilepsy has made me appreciate every beautiful moment, even the mediocre ones. Although epilepsy is not the only part of me, it is a big part of me for better or worse. I love my life so much! I love this world so much! Having epilepsy will never take that away.