When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy, I was 7 and in 2nd grade. I’m 16 now and a junior at Torrey Pines High School, so the challenges I face today are much different than they were back then. Today, I try to find the balance between challenging myself at school and as a pre-professional ballet dancer, while taking care of my health and advocating for myself when I need to prioritize self-care.
This past August, I was so excited to begin driving lessons after returning from a summer training program at the Boston Ballet. Out of the blue one morning while studying for the ACT, I felt weird…like I’d forgotten how to read. The next thing I knew I was on the floor of my bathroom with both my parents by my side. I was devastated to realize I’d had a seizure after being seizure-free for two and a half years.
In that one moment, it felt like all my freedom had been taken away. All the worry came flooding back along with new worries, like would I be able to pursue my dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer? Would I ever be able to get my driver’s license? Epilepsy is so unpredictable that sometimes its hard to live with – it can overwhelm you if you let it. But I don’t.
That’s where the Epilepsy Foundation plays such a vital role. From the moment I went to my first support group meeting, and then throughout all the expressive art classes I took, I learned to cope with my daily life because I’ve been empowered to share my story and I know that I am not alone. I am one of 50,000 people in San Diego living with epilepsy.
A few days after my seizure, I was interviewed on the local FOX News morning program to help raise awareness for epilepsy and to promote the Padres Epilepsy Awareness event. I find that helping others often helps me cope with the challenges I face managing my epilepsy. I hope you can join us this April19 for Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk. to support all of us who are struggling with the challenges of epilepsy.
Thanks so much!