OK, not every Thursday. But today, 3/26, I wear purple.
I’m wearing purple today as part of Purple Day for Epilepsy.
“Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. Last year, people in dozens of countries on all continents including Antarctica participated in Purple Day!”
You might not know this about me, but I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was in the 3rd grade. It was very scary to go through all those tests when I was only 8 years old. When I was diagnosed my neurologist told me I would either outgrow it or it would get worse and I would need brain surgery.
It was tough having epilepsy as a kid. I had to get weekly blood tests, which I hated. But I got used to them and was actually proud of how well I could handle them. One of my triggers for seizures was lack of sleep, so slumber parties were hard. I was always worried I would have a seizure and freak everyone out.
Because of the concerns around how to handle someone having a seizure, I had to tell my class about epilepsy and my seizures every new school year. The last thing you want as a kid is to be different. I remember getting upset with anyone, including my school counselor who called me an “epileptic.” I was a person with epilepsy, because I was a person first. epilepsy didn’t define me.
One of my biggest fears is that I would have a seizure on a date. My mom told me if a guy didn’t like me because of that, he wasn’t worth liking anyway.
I was lucky. I outgrew epilepsy when I was a kid. I can drive and I don’t worry about seizures on dates anymore. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve met more and more people with epilepsy. Some friends had childhood epilepsy like me and don’t have seizures anymore. Some friends are still struggling with seizures and finding the right treatment. I’ve had students in my class with epilepsy and I had the opportunity to see the amazing new magnet treatments being used. There are more of us who have or had epilepsy than you might think. I’m so glad there is more education, awareness and research now than when I was a kid. Let’s keep that going!