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One Step at a Time

Why am I forming a team for the Empowering Epilepsy's Leprechaun Chase?  Because I am 1 in 26.

I have been living with epilepsy since I was a child. I remember going to different neurologists, trying to figure out what medications and amounts would help control the seizures without too many side effects. I remember struggling in school and the way I was treated by people who didn't understand.  I remember not being able to get my license and feeling like I was “different.”  When I graduated high school I was determined to live my life despite all the challenges, and I did. I went to college, got a job that I loved, got married, had a family, and even got my license! I was able to live life "normally"... until I wasn't.

Several years back my seizures started up again and none of the medications we tried were helping.  I had to stop driving. I had to stop working. I was afraid to do the things I had previously done because I never knew when a seizure was going to happen. I had the support of my family and friends, but they didn't understand exactly what I was going through. I felt so alone. My neurologist at the time referred me to an epileptologist. As we tried different things we also talked about how alone I felt. She told me about a group in our area that might be able to help, a group of people that would understand, Empowering Epilepsy.

The first time I called I was immediately welcomed by someone that understood how I felt and what I was going through, because she too has epilepsy.  At the end of a long talk Leigh Goldie, founder of Empowering Epilepsy, invited me to join a Zoom meeting with people my age that also had epilepsy. Not only did I get to meet and listen to others that understood what I was going through, I also got to listen to an epileptologist answer a variety of questions.

Since then Empowering Epilepsy has become an important community for me.  When my epileptologist suggested I think about surgery for the seizures I was terrified. Talking with other people who had gone through the same surgery was reassuring.  As I went through all of the testing required, including a stay in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Leigh explained what to expect and continuously checked on me to be sure my questions were being answered.  In August of 2021 I had my first surgery.  I went through  some unique challenges that caused me to need multiple surgeries. Through everything I was lucky to have not only the support of my family and friends, but also the friends I had made through Empowering Epilepsy. 

The surgeries were successful and I am currently seizure free! I do still have epilepsy, I continue to take medicine and some of the challenges will always be there. But my doctors and specialists are working with me to find  ways to manage and I have regained much of my independence.  As I've healed I've had the chance to become even more involved in the various opportunities Empowering Epilepsy offers; from art therapy to bowling parties and pottery painting parties to conferences and volunteering opportunities. I have been able to see the friends I've made in person as well as make new friends, all who understand epilepsy. In 2023 I was able to attend the Brain Surgery Conference and listen to knowledgeable doctors as well as other people that live with epilepsy. That was the first event I was able to drive myself to after getting the o.k. to drive again. I also got to see and talk to the doctor that performed all of my surgeries. Empowering Epilepsy gave me that opportunity to talk to him, and thank him in person!

1 in 26 people have epilepsy. We all have different stories but the team at Empowering Epilepsy adapts and helps every person they meet, in whatever way they can. They raise awareness in a variety of ways and offer so many opportunities for people of all ages to feel empowered. Participating in or donating to Gunselman’s Tavern Leprechaun Chase is one way to help Empowering Epilepsy continue to educate, offer support, provide programs and fun events, and help people with epilepsy take charge of our lives. 

To learn more about or register for The Gunselman's Tavern Leprechaun Chase, click here:

To support or fundraise for Kara's Team, click here:



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