Tuesday, February 15, 2011

E Is For Epilepsy Awareness

It's time again for ABC Wednesday. If you aren't participating in ABC Wednesday, you are missing out on a lot of fun.

This week the letter is E. E is for epilepsy awareness.

Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. That's more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.

When I was a boy I suffered from a mild form of epilepsy. I had episodes called petit mals. A petit mal seizure is the term commonly given to a staring spell, most commonly called an "absence seizure." It is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. I had no idea that other people did not experience them. I could feel them coming on and knew to sit down or hold on to something for a few seconds.

School Photo

The first time that my Mother witnessed one of my petit mals she was very scared. I guess that my eyes rolled back in my head. I knew that for those few seconds that I could not see, but did not know that my eyes rolled back. I didn't think that it was a big deal, but my Mom said I had to see the doctor as soon as possible. The doctors were able to control the petit mals with medication, and told me that I would most likely outgrow them by the time I was 20. Fortunately I did, and was taken off of the medication by the time I was 18 or 19.

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.

A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.

Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.

One of the reasons for this Epilepsy Awareness post is because of my blog friend Michele over at Rocky Mountain Retreat Photography. Take a look at her blog and you will see some of the most outstanding photography you will find anywhere. I always enjoy her blog. Michele is an excellent photographer, but she battles epilepsy and suffers from tonic clonic (gran mal) seizures, a type that affects the whole brain.

Michele says that she has been suffering seizures since she was a young person. People with seizures often suffer more from the attitudes of those around them than from the seizures itself. Michele is in my prayers daily as she battles the seizures.

Please take the time to learn more about this condition that affects over 50 million people worldwide. Based on recent surveys, The Center For Disease Control estimates that nearly 2.5 million people in the United States have epilepsy, with 150,000 developing the condition each year.

One way to get involved is to participate in Purple Day. Purple Day was started in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy. You can learn more about Purple Day by going here.



I am very involved in my local Relay For Life. You can view my Relay For Life Blog here.


  1. What an excellent, informative post for any day, Richie!! Thank you so much for all the information you have provided us.

    ABC Team

  2. Thank You for this informative post. It brought back memories from 8th grade. A boy in our class suffered a gran mal seisure during class. I remember how scared we all were. It would have been a perfect science teaching opportunity but that didn't happen. It was really the age of don't talk about it, it will go away.

  3. Thanks for this.
    I have family memebers with epilepsy; so it is normal for me. I am surprisd at the myths still floating about. I explained to a friend just a week ago that a person cannot swallow their tongue during a seizure.
    Time to find some purple.....
    Jane x

  4. I came across a guy in college experiencing an epileptic seizure. Though probably not the procedure used today, someone told me to stick a penciol in his mouth so he wouldn't "swallow his tongue", so I did.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  5. I had two friends who had epilepsy but never saw either have a seizure. I had an undiagnosed gran mal seizure about 20 years ago that was never repeated.
    Excellent post Richie, glad you out grew yours.

  6. Excellent post and such an important subject.

  7. Thank you for the eye opening post of epilepsy. A bit of knowledge goes a long way in knowing how to respond with understanding to someone who has a seizure.

  8. Thank you for this reminder. Medicine has come a long way, but there's a long way to go. Glad you outgrew yours.

  9. I took care of my Mom with Parkinsons and Alzheimers and I also have family on my husbands side with epilepsy.In fact she is in hospital right now suffering from a brain hemorrhage but they say she will be fine.
    Brain diseases are absolutely the worst thing that a person can get. The question is why?
    and still they do not know.

  10. Great and important post. I hesitate to mention it because human beings are of much more significance, but just as a point of interest, we had a cat who had epilepsy. I'm interested because I suffer from clinical depression, controlled by medication. It is inherited. The brain is a complicated organ.

  11. thanks for sharing your story I have a couple of friends that have epilepsy and often suffer in quite I also work in a facility where I see many seizures and know how hard they are to live with

  12. I had not realised the numbers were so high, it can be a restricting condition.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing. Our youngest daughter, (now 40) has been experiencing seizures for the past two years. All test show no eplilespy, but cannot diagnois what is causing them. She is on medication now, and as long as she is one it...she doesn't have the seizures. I so appreciate this information and the links.

  14. Rich,
    Who knew you read my blog. I am flattered.
    Thanks for spreading the word in this fine, educational post. You wrote it well.
    My own blog is about epilepsy, but it has more to do with the experience of living with it, from the inside out and some of the things folks have thought of as cures in years past.
    Paula Apodaca
    E. Is For Epilepsy by Paula Apodaca
    http//www.epilepsy-Paula @blogspot .com