Emily Eshoo age 13
I want to share my story with you today in hopes that it might help someone you know with epilepsy. Or perhaps it might even inspire YOU…
Four years ago on New Year’s Eve I had my first seizure. They began out of the blue and they got worse over the next couple of years. I even developed a second type of seizure – I didn’t even know that was possible at the time. We tried so many different medicines – none of them worked and some of them made my seizures worse. And the side effects were awful – just ask my brother!
It was hard managing my seizures with schoolwork and ballet and piano lessons and most of all with my friends. I didn’t want anyone to know I was having seizures at first but I decided to tell my best friend and she really helped me. Especially when I blanked out at school and everyone laughed at me. I realized that telling even one person made all the difference.
We joined a support group with the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego and that was the first time I realized, I was not alone. We kept going to the meetings and it was really fun actually. I even got to do the Expressive Arts Therapy program, which was awesome!
By the time school started again, I was ready to share my story with my classmates. Kelly Grimes from the Foundation came with me and spoke to my class about epilepsy while I spoke about my seizures. We even put an emergency plan into place so that when I had a seizure in class -and I did – the kids all knew what to do. Then I started the Ketogenic Diet, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Drinking oil, eating butter and mayonnaise was not fun. But it worked and now I have been seizure free for a year!
With my seizures under control, I was able to participate in Sharon’s Ride this year. I invited my 5th grade class and Girl Scout Troop to walk for Team Emily and we raised over $4,000 for the Foundation. I am so grateful for the support I’ve received from the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego, from my friends and family and to you for coming here today to listen to my story.