Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Children stricken with seizures

Last year on a typical Saturday morning my husband found our 2½-year-old son on the floor, unconscious. After thinking he could be dead, an ambulance rushed him to the emergency room. This is how our difficult struggle with epilepsy began.

Unfortunately, this is a common scenario for many parents. Epilepsy has little warning. Suddenly a perfectly healthy child is stricken with seizures.Before you assume that epilepsy has not touched your life please consider this:As many as 1 in 100 people have a form of epilepsy. Epilepsy effects all ages, races and countries equally.

Epilepsy can be caused by strokes, brain trauma, brain tumors or scarring, and infections like meningitis or encephalitis. But more often there will be no clear cause or reason for the patient to be afflicted. Often a person with epilepsy can suffer from one or more types of seizures.They can range from a "Grand Mal" type event to brief moments of "blanking out." Other seizures involve quick muscle jerks and uncontrollable behaviors or tics. In most cases, epilepsy can be controlled with appropriate medications.

Despite advances in medicine, the old stigma of epilepsy still exists. Let's change the face of epilepsy. This is the face of a bright, happy child who struggles every day to overcome a disease that can rob them of their basic ability to learn and thrive. This is the face of an adult who deserves respect and compassion at their most vulnerable moments.

Please visit epilepsyfoundation.org for more information and support.

Thelma McGowan
Lake Stevens


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