By Jennifer Richardson

It started when she was in 5th grade. She told me that she was having what she thought was panic attacks. She described having episodes where she would have an out-of-body feeling and a sense that she was living one of her dreams. Not knowing anything about epilepsy, I told her that she was probably experiencing déjà vu.

After a long weekend of dance recitals, she woke with a bad headache. Because I am a behavior teacher and being out of school is challenging for everyone in the building, I called my mother to sit with my daughter while I went to work. I never ended up going to work.

My daughter continually asked me if she was dreaming or if she was awake. I did not know what was going on. I called the pediatrician and they told me to get her to the hospital immediately. I hung up the phone and went into my bedroom to tell my daughter and mother that we were headed into the hospital. My daughter reached up and grabbed my mother’s hands and told her how much she loved her…and then she seized.

This story continues for an entire year of testing and worrying. After eliminating a brain tumor and other terrifying possibilities, the diagnosis of epilepsy is almost a relief. Complex partial seizures. It took a while to reach a therapeutic dose of medicine and then the small seizures stopped.

The seizures stopped but the worrying never goes away.