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Thursday, September 25, 2014

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

Dear Friends, Ricky is a hero I met on twitter. His powerful life lessons educate and inspire. Please read this compelling and powerful story. More must be learned about this health issue. Please read this today. Thank you.



This is my story about epilepsy:

My name is Richard Hicks, I am a son, a brother to 3 sisters and 2 brothers I am also an uncle.
And I have Epilepsy; I was born with epilepsy, diagnosed a few weeks after birth. As a child, I knew I had epilepsy, but it did not bother me. I had childhood friends like everyone else. I just thought was a bother to have to stop playing a game and run inside to take my medication. The fact I had epilepsy really hit home when I turned 15, and like every teenager wanted to learn how to drive. When my neurologist said "No, you may never be able to drive unless you go one year seizure free". Which I had never done. I thought it was hopeless. I figured if I can not drive why bother taking my medicine. I would lie about taking my medication. But that just made it worse... Having seizures, at one point they thought my mother was not giving me my medicine. I was taken away from my mother for my stupidity. I finally told them I was not taking and I was just hiding my medicine.

After that I start taking my medicine, BUT if I did miss a dosage it was but only because I honestly would forget. Or I would be out later than expected and miss the scheduled time to take my medication. My seizures did become less and less frequent. But we still needed to try different medications, different dosages, fine tune it.

I am 41 years old now; I have enjoyed 17 months seizure free as of October 27, 2009. And I now share my life experiences with epilepsy. And yes I do remind others to take their medication, even though they may not like the side effects. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO TAKE YOUR MEDICATION! Learn from my stupid mistakes, take them faithfully. Help your Doctor, Neurologist or Epitologist by keeping a detailed Epilepsy Journal. Ask questions. If you do not understand ask your doctor to explain in terms you understand.

Now there are a few myths about epilepsy I would like to help clear up like:

!) Not all seizures involve violent convulsing, flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water
Fact: There are 7 different types of epilepsy and 40 different types of seizures
Myth: you can not "catch epilepsy"
Fact: Epilepsy can occur from, birth, virus, severe head trauma, from not wearing a safety helmet while riding a motorcycle, skateboard and rollerblading. Epilepsy can be caused by drug and alcohol abuse also.
Myth: When a person has a grand mal seizure, (violent convulsions) you put something in their mouth
Fact NEVER try to do so, you may chip teeth of the person having the seizure or lose a finger or two.
Myth a person can swallow their tongue during a seizure
Fact it is physically impossible to swallow your tongue. Although I know some people who I wish would just to shut them up, the gagging noise you hear is the muscles in the throat expanding and contracting due to the convulsions.
Myth Restrain the person having the seizure
Facts never restrain the person having a seizure. Roll them on their side, place a pillow or coat under their head move tables or chairs out of the way for safety
Myth All people with epilepsy are mentally impaired and slow learners
Fact Very untrue, there are politicians, musicians and actors, authors who have epilepsy.
Myth During a grand Mal Seizure an alien immediately pops of the chest of the person who is having the seizure
Fact Aliens do not immediately pop out of the chest. It takes several minutes so you have time to run...,
Ok I made that up just to show that people with epilepsy do have a sense of humor.
Epilepsy has never been linked to acts of violence after a seizure as portrayed in Television shows and Movies.
I hope this will help others with epilepsy learn from my mistakes. And help those without epilepsy understand it.

My name is Richard Hicks, I am 41 years old. And not afraid to say I have epilepsy, and I am an epileptic. I have epilepsy, but I do not let epilepsy have me, and neither should you!

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