As I was sitting here, trying to think of a topic to write on today, I read this on the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona’s Facebook status: Fact of the Day: Epilepsy is never contagious.
And it’s not. You can’t catch Epilepsy. It just happens. Sometimes it’s triggered by some major accident. Sometimes just from a simple change in the body. Some people inherit it, as my daughters and I have.
Epilepsy is NOT a disease, it is a disorder. It is a unbalanced electrical reaction of the brain. I describe it as computer overload. When a computer is overloaded, it will crash and shut down. This is the same reaction the brain gives when a seizure happens. The brain processes and overloads, then the body shuts down or rather seizes.
For my girls, this happens when they are learning a LOT of new things. It can also happen when we’ve had an exhaustive weekend like this past weekend was for us. The girls will become overly-tired and I begin to notice their body fighting to stay on track. They will have mild jerks or twitches while awake. They will act “spacey”. They are excessively whiny and nothing can make them happy. At their worst, they will fall into a convulsive seizure.
We have dealt with this disorder actively for 7 years now. I know the signs and when I see them, I have the girls take a “rest” day. We lay around, rock, love on each other, watch tv, read and do simple activities. We also nap and go to bed early to allow our bodies plenty of rest. Doing these things usually keep our seizure activity low and gets the girls back to normal within a day or two. Homeschooling makes this easy for us to take “rest” days as needed.
Epilepsy never completely goes away. It’s always there, even when it’s outgrown. It could reoccur at any time but it is NOT contagious. It doesn’t rub off on you when you bump into my child. It doesn’t contaminate your skin when my child is seizing and you touch their drool or vomit, as the case may be. And it is not caused by Demons as some people believe (yes there are those who actually do believe that).
Epilepsy is a disorder that can be controled with routine, structure and most of the time with medicine. Sometimes surgery or a special diet helps to control it (we will discuss more about those later).
Dealing with this disorder is an everyday part of our life. Each day we wake up is a blessing and each day we wake up without any signs of seizure is an even bigger blessing. Seizures happen unexpectedly, so we must always be prepared for one to suddenly “pop” up. This is our life.