People With Epilepsy Can Start A Business During A Pandemic

           I have barely any money. I have epilepsy. & soon I’ll have… a business?     

You read that right. On Jan 9th, 2020. I will be launching my business, Woofie Pie™ and I couldn’t be more… freakin’… nervous!

2020 has been a hard year for us all and I want to acknowledge that. I’ll write more about the year, it’s ups and downs and struggles and how people with epilepsy have survived it in a future post but I want to take this time to talk about something specific and positive that has sprouted from this year, which is that I finally took the necessary steps to launch my own business.

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. When I was about five years old my brother and I set up our back yard as a “carnival” and charged the neighbors a fee to come ride our rides (aka our swing set), and play the games we had set up and talked our eldest brother into running. We even had prizes for the games, consisting of old toys we no longer played with, and freshly made lemonade and popcorn for sale. I think we made roughly $5 total in the day. It wasn’t much but it was enough to light the entrepreneur fire under my butt.

With the epilepsy diagnosis however I was unsure what that meant for the business builder within me. How could I start a company when I had no idea if I would live to see the next day? I was reading a lot about SUDEP when I was first diagnosed and it sent me down a dark path. Here I am though, ten years post diagnosis and I’m doing it. I’m starting a business!

The business is Woofie Pie™ and you can learn all about it here. It is a specialty dog treat company inspired by my dog Winnie and based off of the New England traditional confection the Whoopie Pie.

The beauty of this business, given my epilepsy is that I can run it completely from the comfort of my own home. Food regulations allow pet treats like mine to be prepared in home kitchens and although I would love to own a bakery/storefront one day, currently the most affective and efficient way for me to get my products to the pups who will love them is through online sales. I never need to be more than ten feet from my bed, which is the place I go when I feel a seizure coming on.

Woofie Pie™ is currently in the fundraising stage to help the cover costs that I will need to launch the business successfully but the recipes are good to go. They are dog tested and dog-parent approved.

Building this business has not only been good for my entrepreneurial self but it’s helped with my daily epilepsy battle as well. Crafting the recipes has been such a good brain exercise, helping to combat the brain atrophy I worry about from my medications. Plus, building the fundraising campaign and promotional assets has brought me so much joy. I haven’t had this much fun starting a project since when I started this blog. I have received so many cute videos from friends and family like these

You can help Hoss gets his heckin’ Woofie here.

and numerous people have contributed to my IndieGoGo campaign. Every time I receive one of these videos or a get a contribution it brings a bit of light to even some of 2020’s darker days. Having this project to work on has really given me something to look forward to, to keep my mind from sinking into the anxiety of this year paired with the sadness I feel whenever I think about how I still have breakthrough seizures even though I was diagnosed over ten years ago.

It can be easy, when the dark thoughts creep in, to fall into them and I 100% recommend allowing yourself to be with your feelings as long as you don’t get trapped inside them. Having a project (even something as seemingly silly as dog treats) is like having a rope to help pull you out from the dark depths of those thoughts and feelings when you begin to feel lost in them.

Occasionally, when I would sink this year, I would get an alert for a deadline I had set for myself, or a contribution from an IndieGoGo patron, or a mention of my brand @originalwoofiepie on Instagram by someone who had shared a photo or video of their adorable dog. Getting these reminders spotting a rope when you’re stuck in the bottom of a well. These moments were reminders to get out of bed or wherever I was moping at the time and get back to work on the business.

The act of baking these dog treats is also therapeutic for me. It reminds me that I am more than just my epilepsy and that even though I may not have full control of my seizures yet, I have control in the kitchen and that’s something.

You don’t have to necessarily start a business to develop these tools for building strength in your journey with epilepsy. Perhaps there is a hobby you have always wanted to take up. Something you can create, with measurable achievable goals. Knitting or learning a new language are great examples of this. To gain the same benefits as I have felt during my business building process, I recommend sharing your goal with others, and setting alarms or notifications to remind yourself to keep at it. For something like knitting, you can set an alarm in your phone to go off every couple of days to encourage you to pick the project up, and post your progress on social media. With language learning, there are apps like duoLingo, which will send reminders to your email and/or phone, as well as give you congratulatory notices for reaching different milestones in your learning.

If you do have a business idea you’ve been dreaming of pursuing but you are always finding reasons for why now isn’t the time to start (like I did for so long myself), just go for it! We have a lot of lessons to learn for 2020 but one major take away from the year is that we have no idea what tomorrow will look like. If you have a dream or activity that brings you joy and breaks you free from the weight of epilepsy when you do it there is no time like the present to start!

If you do have a business dream and you want to talk to someone who has decided to start a business with barely any money during what is statistically probably the worst time since the Great Depression, shoot me an email at or DM me on Instagram @epilepticexplorer. I would love to provide any help that I can on your own epilepsy business building adventure.

People With Epilepsy Can Be Spartan Warriors



It’s hard to believe that Trevon Sundiata, the man you see at minute 3:15 of this video suffered a brain injury 24 years ago while on active duty which resulted in a battle with epilepsy, migraines, photosensitivity, vertigo, PTSD, anxiety and depression. It’s true though, Trevon, whose seizures started in 2018, doesn’t let them or the other effects of his injury keep him down. An athlete at heart, Trevon believes that movement provides a level of healing and he was committed to finding a way to keep the activity he was used to having in his life despite the obstacles the brain injury put in his way. Finding soon enough that he would be tacking much different obstacles when he committed to running in a Spartan race just a year after is epilepsy diagnosis.

It was when Trevon found himself at his lowest, in pain every day, averaging 4 seizures daily, depressed and just looking for answers that friends introduced him to Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF) to help turn his life around. The Adaptive Training Foundation is committed to helping people with physical disabilities transform their life through exercise and community, and that is exactly what they did for Trevon. His first time in the facility, a seizure came on, and everyone there took care of him. He knew right then that he was where he needed to be. He describes ATF as “A place where someone can find their fight again. A place where a person could stand out and fit in.”

epilepsy_spartan_warrior_trevon_sundiata_2Trevon completed his first ATF 9 week redefine program in the spring of 2019, which was followed up with a flight to Utah for a week-long intensive at the National Ability Center, where he did ropes obstacle courses, mountain biking, archery, white water rafting, and outdoor rock climbing. You read that right. Trevon has seizures and he does all of that thanks to ATF. This trip was his first time on a plane since being diagnosed, and he knew he would be safe because he was with his ATF crew He knew that they had his back no matter what happened. That right there shows the power of community in the healing process.

*Trevon takes a holistic approach to life combining diet, and meditation with the dedication and regiment that he practices through ATF to help manage his seizures. He is adamant about getting 8 hours of sleep a night, eats a Ketogenic focused diet incorporating supplements, exercise, breathing techniques, art, music, CBD and counseling and has found that the practice has helped reduce his seizures from 4 a day to 1 a month. He has even utilized a breathing exercise, taught to him by his ATF trainer to help take him out of a seizure before it escalates.

An inspiring individual, Trevon is committed to encouraging others through sharing his story. When asked what advice he has for others with epilepsy he responded, “Don’t Stop. Don’t stop seeking answers. Don’t stop seeking tools. Every person is different so we have to all seek the answers that are right for us.”

On July 4th, 2019 Trevon ran his first 5k. From there he continued training until he ran his first Spartan run in September of the same year, he ran 5 spartan races and 19 5k races proving once again that with the right training, attitude and resources that anything is possible.

*Please consult with your doctor about the best way to manage your seizure. Every body and brain is different and while one regiment may work for one individual it is best that you work with your doctor to find the treatment that works best for you.

People With Epilepsy Can Save Lives

Chris Rich was diagnosed with Epilepsy at just eight months old but that hasn’t stopped him from living a full life, one that is committed to saving the lives of others.

Chris first started helping others as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He was mostly operating as support in the fire department, which means he wasn’t breaking down doors and carrying people out of burning buildings but he was there and ready when the other firefighters needed him. He kept engines running and on occasion helped to put out exterior flames. As an EMT he ran thousands of calls. He would perform simple tasks of helping the elderly get dressed, which I for one did not know was an EMT’s duty but I’m glad to know someone is out there looking out for the underdressed elderly. He would also field major calls like providing emergency help for an overturned ski bus, but majority of his calls fell somewhere in the middle, car accidents, injuries etc. In his position as a volunteer EMT he learned that he had a knack for working with people who were intoxicated or suffering from mental health issues and decided to dedicate his life to helping them.

Chris’s next step was to get his degree in Psychology. The process took him six years to complete. That’s two years longer than the average student takes but considering Chris was experiencing 400 to 500 seizures a year I would say he completed it in record time.

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels

When reminiscing about his college experience Chris shared a wonderful story as a reminder that it’s ok for those of us with Epilepsy to laugh at ourselves from time to time, and to be grateful for the love and support we receive from people who care about us. It was spring in Rochester, New York, a time of year when melting snow and fresh rainfall would combine to create rich fields of slush and mud. While trudging through the slush to the dorms with his girlfriend Chris experienced a partial seizure and decided to sit smack dab in the middle of a mud puddle. Without thinking twice, his girlfriend sat beside him, the two of them in the heart of campus just sitting there in the mud. As passersby looked at Chris, his girlfriend would usher them on saying, “Move along.” Chris laughed when he shared this story with me, and I laughed when I heard it. So many of us have similar experiences to this, things that on the surface sound embarrassing but if we can laugh at ourselves they are empowering pieces of what make each and everyone of us strong and unique.

But I digress. Back to the life saving!

After college Chris got a job in a 15 bed locked in patient psych unit where he led groups and helped feed and care for the patients. In this position he performed a lot of crisis intervention, talking people down from tough places before things became physical. His co-workers would acknowledge when he didn’t feel well and on those days he would perform lower impact tasks like paperwork. Having just listened to a podcast that said as recently as the 1940s people with Epilepsy were being committed to psych wards, I find it incredibly empowering and inspiring that Chris chose to work in one. Rather than being committed to a psych unit, he committed himself to one and to helping the patients there who couldn’t help themselves.

Chris’s next step was working in the emergency room of a level one trauma center. It was a very fast paced environment where he would see an average of eight clients in twelve hours. Many of the people coming through the doors were homeless or suffered from chronic mental illness and it was his job to assess whether they needed immediate treatment or another course of action. Many peoples’ lives were literally in his hands in this position and he came to the aid of each and every one of them.

Chris found himself in a new position working for a non-profit mental health center during the height of the synthetic marijuana crisis. In this role he was still conducting assessments on patients but his job was a bit more dangerous. He worked by himself, seeing six to eight people a shift with half of the patients would become violent due to illness or withdrawn but Chris didn’t waiver. He stayed strong and helped as many people as he could in his role.

Today, Chris has turned in the crisis units and dangerous patients for a desk and data analysts. His work is a bit quieter but it is still committed to helping others. Chris is now the guy who makes sure that the government holds up on its end of the bargain when patients receive state funded treatment. He processes paperwork that helps to keep people from experiencing crippling medical bills. It may not sound flashy but if you have ever experienced or even stressed about having to experience a medical bill without insurance, you know just how vital his job is.

When I asked Chris if he felt comfortable with my titling this post “People With Epilepsy Can Save Lives” because of the work that he has done for people with trauma and substance abuse he humbly said “Yes.” stating that he knew that he had saved four lives by keeping people on the phone until the police were able to disarm them. I have a feeling that the number of lives he has saved through his service work goes well beyond that.

Having Epilepsy is a struggle. Some days it feels too hard for me to even save my own life. I can’t begin to put myself in the shoes of someone like Chris, a real hero who is fighting his Epilepsy battle while helping others fight their demons and saving their lives along the way. I am honored to have heard his story and be able to share it with all of you.

People With Epilepsy Can Be Business Owners

It’s an all too familiar scene for those of us with epilepsy; you begin to feel off, something doesn’t seem quite right, you lose consciousness and before you know it you are coming too with several people around you and a shooting headache with no memory of what just happened.

That is how KK Gardening owner and home-schooling mother of two Kirsty explained the experience of her first seizure to me. Kirsty’s first seizure occurred in 2015. Since then, she began homeschooling her 10 and 8 year old daughters, attended college to become a horticulturist and opened her own gardening business.

Kirsty acknowledges that the road has not been an easy one. Six weeks into her first attempt at college classes she suffered her second seizure and received her formal Epilepsy diagnosis, forcing her to have her license taken away and to put her coursework on hold while she tried out medications that made her feel suicidal, and she grappled with low energy and memory loss. To top it all off, she experienced the loss of her family dog. A veritable “When it rains it pours” type of situation. Many people might throw in the towel in this situation but not Kirsty, she remained positive and moving forward.

“I suffer from quite a few symptoms but have learned to try and keep my chin up even at the most toughest of times.”



After her second seizure in 2015, Kirsty and Jason, her husband of 12 years made the decision to home educate her daughters. With only one driver’s license between them they were no longer able to provide reliable transportation to and from school and homeschooling was meant to be a temporary solution until the transportation situation was resolved. However, the girls took to homeschooling. Their performance and possibility increased during this trial period. It was then that Kirsty officially became a home-school mom.

Kirsty dedicated 2016 to her children, to building back her self-esteem and to adjusting her life to work with the reduced energy levels and memory problems epilepsy caused her. Near the end of the year, with renewed self-esteem and encouragement from her family Kirsty returned to college part time. She took things slowly, acknowledging her body and mind’s needs, and passed her courses with flying colors.

Today, in addition to educating her daughters, Kirsty owns and operates KK Gardening. When she is not homeschooling, she is outside helping people beautify their homes and gardens. She still struggles with short term memory loss, low energy levels, and self-esteem issues as so many of us do but she has learned to work with it all and is happy. She pushes herself each day to maintain a rich, fulfilling life and is an inspiration to so many others. Kirsty is an example of why we should never give up. As hard as life gets when you battle with Epilepsy, if you set your mind to something, keep your chin up, and make adjustments based on your body and mind’s needs like Kirsty did you too can achieve your dreams.

People With Epilepsy Can Be Superheroes

We all know that people with Epilepsy, and those who support them are superheroes every single day. But one epileptic explorer out there has taken things to the next level by creating and becoming the crime fighting, epilepsy battling superhero ToteMan.

ToteMan, a superhero who fights crime with his signature flaming screwdriver goes beyond the call of duty by not only battling villains but by spreading the word about epilepsy awareness, helping people with seizures, and informing others of what to do when they see someone who may be suffering from an epileptic episode. ToteMan was created by John McLaren, who suffers from epilepsy, in 2002 as a way to explain his own condition to his then 7 year old son. Although the original short story was written specifically for John’s son it quickly began to impact others’ lives. As he explained to me, “The person that left the biggest impression was a young girl in college who read the story.” She had epilepsy herself, and upon reading John’s initial short story starring ToteMan in a class they took together, she told him that it moved her to tears and made her realize that she was not alone in her battle with epilepsy. It was that moment that made McLaren realize just how important ToteMan’s message was, and how vast of an audience he could reach with the story. This young woman’s response inspired John to work with a comic artist to conceptualize the look of ToteMan and create his first comic, fittingly titled “You Are Not Alone.”

I won’t sully you with any spoilers. The comic, which is free to download, print and share (actions that are highly encouraged by John by the way) is available at The site also includes video of ToteMan aiding a child who is having a seizure and additional illustrated comics starring other characters from the ToteMan world and their differing experiences with epilepsy.

John’s sons think it is very cool to have an epileptic superhero for a father. One son has even followed in his footsteps by creating his own character, and another dons the much-loved ToteMan costume from time to time at Epilepsy Foundation events and awareness walks. ToteMan has led John to become a spokesman for epilepsy himself. He has been invited to be a guest at the 2010 Epilepsy Walk in Washington D.C. and a speaker at the Kids Speak Up event.

John has big things planned for ToteMan. “I am working on a few origin stories for characters in the ToteMan Universe that promote positive messages like friendship, individuality, and global awareness.” He is searching for a way to produce more hard copies of the comic to give out for free in order to continue to spread ToteMan’s message about epilepsy safety and inclusiveness. He is even seeking funding for a cartoon based off of the comics. I can say with great certainty, that this epileptic explorer would love to see that show happen.

We should all take a page from John and the world he’s created through ToteMan. He is truly an inspiration, a reminder that we are all superheroes in our own ways. We are made stronger by our epilepsy, not weaker, and we are capable of an immeasurable amount amazing things.

If you would like to learn more about ToteMan and ways you can support the mission to spread epilepsy awareness in this amazingly unique way just click here and shoot John a message.

You are all superheroes.

– The Epileptic Explorer

People With Epilepsy Can Stand Up For Their Rights

If you’re reading this and suffer or have suffered from seizures, or you are the family, friend of caregiver of someone with epilepsy; chances are you know that in late 2017 Jeff Sessions repealed Obama-era sanctions and declared marijuana a schedule one drug, on par with LSD and heroin at the Federal level. You probably also know that 12-year-old Alexis Bortell, who uses cannabis oil to control her seizures, and co-wrote a book about it (thus surpassing this bloggers goals, and making someone who is one third my age my idol) is part of a group that is currently suing Sessions.

What you may not know however, is that due to Sessions actions Alexis, who like so many of us with epilepsy simply wants to live some semblance of a normal life, now cannot visit national parks, fulfill every child’s dream of going to Disney World, or even visit her own grandparents in Texas. The restrictions set in place by Sessions’ move prevent her from visiting Federal property, and put her and her parents both at risk simply by traveling out of state. She is more-or-less confined to Colorado, the state her family moved to about three years ago so she could potentially avoid brain surgery by trying cannabis treatment for her epilepsy.

Alexis in 2014, prior to CBD treatment.      Source: Facebook

As is the case for so many of us with epilepsy (this blogger included), Alexis’s seizures could not be controlled by traditional medicine. The CBD oil, which Alexis takes twice daily, and carries on her in a spray form for use in emergency situations has kept her seizure free for nearly three years.

The treatment works for her, the only trouble is, when traveling across state lines her necessary medication may be viewed as an illegal substance, and her parents could lose custody of her as a result. All she wants is a relatively normal childhood. Battling epilepsy scary enough without fear of losing her parents on top of it.

This is just one of the reasons why Alexis, along with 6-year-old Jagger Cote, former NFL lineman Marvin Washington, and army veteran Jose Bellen filed suit against Sessions in 2017. To the best of my knowledge, results of the suit have yet to be announced. However, on Thursday January 4th, the Department of Justice issued a memo re-enforcing Sessions’ initial decision to criminalize marijuana at the Federal level.

The ending of this story (as it currently exists) may sound a bit dispiriting. That is not what this blog is about though. It is about optimism and action. Right now, we can take action by being like Alexis, and acting as advocates. We can educate ourselves on the medical benefits of cannabis, and share the stories of people like Alexis, and so many others who rely on this natural substance for a varitey of medicinal purposes. If, with research, you find you are not in favor of medical marijuana, be an advocate for epilepsy in general. We need to stand together, educate others, stand up for our rights, and the rights of so many others who fight this epilepsy battle each and every day.

If you want to take immediate action in regards to the Federal stance on medical marijuana, you can contact the Department of Justice. Simply go here, and send a digital form, physical letter, or make a call. The more the department knows about how this bill is affecting the public, the better the chances of them knowing the negative affects it has on the American people.

Stay strong warriors,
The Epileptic Explorer

*Editor’s note: The intention of Epileptic Explorer as a blog was never to become political. As someone with epilepsy uncontrolled by traditional medication, who lives in a place with limited access to medical cannabis, and is facing the surgery decision herself, this issue in particular speaks directly to me. My hope is for people to have access to all of the medical options available to them, so they can make their own, informed decisions on how to best treat their conditions in order to live their best lives.

People with Epilepsy Can Have Pets

This is Winnie…

I rescued Winne….

But really, Winnie rescued me.

Pets can be a great comfort when processing epilepsy; be it by curling up with you when you are postictal, by providing unconditional love when you most need it, or by giving you something wonderful to care for that is bigger than yourself, so you can focus your energy somewhere other than fearing a seizure that may or may not occur.

In some instances, a pet can even inform you when that seizure may happen.
Seizure alert dogs can be a great asset to people who suffer uncontrolled seizures. Although the costs associated with training an alert dog can be high and the wait for a pre-trained dog long, for some with uncontrolled epilepsy, the cost and wait for an alert dog can be well worth it for the service they provide. For those of us without the need for alert services, a more traditional furry friend comes with many benefits as well.

A study published by Science Direct stated that benefits of dog ownership include companionship and belief that dogs reduce stress and therefore seizures.

Speaking from experience, since adopting my pup in March of 2017, Winnie has been my saving grace. I even think she’s helped reduce my number of epileptic episodes. Although she cannot sense when my seizures are coming, I can. Often times, when I sense an impending aura and start to feel anxious, I am able to stop it in its tracks by distracting my brain and focusing on something else. Winnie is quite possibly the world’s greatest distraction!

It’s hard to stay anxious when this loveable face is looking up at you.
epilepsy rescue dog
Adopting a pet, particularly a young dog may not be the ideal situation for many people who battle with epilepsy. It can be hard to know just how much training and attention the dog will need, or what their temperament will be due to lack of information about their histories. I will be honest, for as much pleasure and comfort Winnie has brought into my life, she has come with her fair amount of stress too. I only recommend adopting if your seizures are well under control. If you are looking more for a pet to comfort you than a pet for you to comfort, they are out there. Studies have shown that even something as simple as a fish can reduce stress, and elevate moods. With a little research and self reflection, you can find the animal companion that is right for you in the chapter of your epilepsy novel you are currently in.

Do you have a pet who provides you with the love and support needed to be the amazing epilepsy warrior that you are?
I want to see them!
Comment below with a photo of your furry, fishy or scaly friend for a chance for you both to be featured on the blog!

People With Epilepsy Can Go To Hogwarts

No, sadly I’m not here to announce JK Rowling’s addition of a new epileptic character to the Harry Potter Universe. I am however here to say that, post epilepsy diagnosis I found multiple ways to escape the harshness of this new reality into the magical realm of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and am here to share my stories so you can escape whenever you feel the need to as well.

As a person battling epilepsy, or any chronic illness, it’s important for us to take a break and escape the weight of reality from time to time, and to do so in a healthy manner. For me, I find that escape through the fictional world, full of endless possibilities that JK Rowling has created in her novels, which have expanded to films and full fledged amusement parks, where attendees can literally immerse themselves in her wizarding world.

I was a late bloomer to the Harry Potter phenomenon, picking up my first book shortly after the first film was released. To this day, whenever I am feeling particularly beaten up by and run down from an epileptic episode I still turn to the Harry Potter movies and books for escape because I find Harry’s perseverance encouraging, Lupin’s struggle with being a werewolf oddly relatable, Luna’s kind yet odd mind motivational and J.K. Rowling, the woman behind the creation of such a world incredibly inspiring. The books and movies allow for escape to a world without epilepsy, a world where persistence in the face of struggle and adversity leads to strength and triumph. So, JK if by some internet-blog-social-media-miracle you are one day reading this post. Thank you for providing that escape.

Now onto how you all can physically go to Hogwarts…


Since my epilepsy diagnosis in 2010, I have visited Hogwarts multiple times, not only in the books and movies but on its home turf of England as well as through the immersive experience of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida. Each trip provides a unique experience unlike the other but all have furnished a much needed sense of fantasy, escape, high level of happiness and reminder of the beauty of life. Things we need to experience from time to time in order to continue to tackle the daily epilepsy struggles, battles and blows it brings our way.


Universal Studios Harry Potter Studio Tour – London England

harry_potter_studio_tour_epilepsyAs mentioned in an earlier post, people with epilepsy can backpack across Europe, and while there, if you’re a Potter fan like myself you can make a pit stop in England to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour where you can quite literally walk through the great hall and immerse yourself in the intricately detailed props, sets and costumes that brought the magic to life. If the thought of lugging a bag full of your belongings around does not sound like your cup of tea, there is always the option of traveling to England and spending a few nights in one of many wonderful hotels and inns. Flying can be scary when you have epilepsy but as long as it is okayed by your doctor and you travel with someone familiar with your condition I am here to tell you that flying is ok!

harry_potter_epilepsy_dumbledore_officeAs a Harry Potter fan, there is no greater feeling than walking through The Great Hall (where by the way you can get married… and yes, I’m starting to save up my pennies right now), or  standing in front of the entryway to Dumbledore’s office, or even circling the scale model replica of the school as the surrounding lights slowly change to showcase the grounds from dawn to dusk. This is also a great experience for any movie buff or person interested in working in the entertainment industry. As someone whose path took a severe turn with that first seizure, from a career in dance performance to having no direction, I personally found the visit to the studio to be inspiring as a reminder that although my condition may not allow me to be involved in performance the way I had originally intended I could still contribute to the arts and entertainment industry behind the scenes or possibly even on film someday. So, if your path feels shorted or you fear for your or your loved one’s future, remember that there are options, alternative routes and ways to move forward in a chosen field with or without epilepsy.


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Orlando, FL

epilepsy_harry_potter_universal_studiosThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter parks provide a fully immersive experience, starting with a hidden entry to Diagon Alley, where you can get fitted for a wand at Ollivander’s, or peruse the magical gag gifts at Weasley’s Wizard Wheeseys. You can even survive a thrilling escape from Gringotts, (epilepsy permitting). If lights or sounds are one of your triggers though, I recommend skipping the ride but there is still plenty for you to enjoy, like magic musical and puppetry performances, interactive spots where you can cast spells with your wand  and if you dare, a journey down Knockturn Alley. Just like in the books, you can take the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross station to Hogsmeade. The train ride, lasts 3 – 5 minutes. I will be honest, oddly enough it was not the high adrenaline, 3D rollercoaster rides of the park that worried me about my condition because while I do not know my triggers, testing has taught me that lights are not one of them. However while sitting on the train for the first time I found myself in my own head and beginning to feel anxious. It is a very low key and enjoyable ride but because the pace allowed for it, I found myself with time to worry about having an aura or seizure. Luckily I had loved ones with me familiar with my condition and they were able to keep me calm and reassured during the brief journey. There are also park staff members onboard the entire time so if anything were to happen they would quickly and easily be able to help. I include this info not to make you afraid to ride but to show that, even in the midst of escape, the seizure fear can still creep up. With quiet support the anxiety will pass. I was able to ride the train three or more times with no issues because my support system helped me tackle the fear the first ride.

Once off the Hoepilepsy_harry_potter_hogsmeadegwarts Express you enter Hogsmeade, with a beautiful, near-life-size rendition of the Hogwarts castle hovering behind the village. There is another immersive, roller coaster style ride located in the school but again, if you worry the ride may trigger seizures there is plenty more to enjoy in the village itself. If you have not been on a roller coaster since your diagnosis, you can dip your toes in the water on Flight of The Hippogriff, a very low impact and incredibly brief coaster ride. If you know that lights are not a trigger and this coaster goes well for you maybe then you can tackle the rides in Hogwarts and Gringotts. Again though, if you are not able to ride the rides, you can still escape into the entrancing beauty of Hogsmeade Village. You can grab a bite to eat or a Butterbeer at The Hogshead and score some sweets from Honeydukes. Most importantly, rides or no rides, food, wands, Butterbeers, whatever. The most magical thing about visiting the parks is being surrounded by people with a shared interest, immersed in a place that provides a magical and imaginative escape from whatever stressor life has thrown our way be it epilepsy or other.

Now I presume most who have read this far into the post are fellow Harry Potter fans and I hope what I have written has inspired you to pick up one of the books, put on one of the movies or begin planning your magical journey. If you are not a fan of the Potter world, take a moment to think about what it is you are passionate about, the tools you use to escape from time to time. Maybe it’s woodworking, maybe it’s a video game, maybe it’s watching foreign films, maybe it’s closing your eyes and simply envisioning yourself somewhere else (aka meditation). Whatever it is, isn’t it nice to remember that you have this escape and that there are other people out there, some with epilepsy, some without, who all share this commonality?

Now every interest may not have such elaborate places as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where its fans can come together but I bet if you do some research you can find a place where people meet online or maybe even physically to talk about your shared interest. If you don’t find a place to interact with these like-minded people, I encourage you to start one. It takes just one action to start a movement!




People With Epilepsy Can Walk To Build Awareness

This past week this blog celebrated its one year anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, this writer/Epilepsy warrior joined the Epilepsy Foundation of New England in their walk to build funds and awareness for the fight against this relatively unseen illness.

epliepsy_foundation_walk_2016The day began as we all gathered at a local high school before departing on our two mile walk. It was an incredibly powerful and moving experience as I and my team of seven advocates became surrounded by what felt like hundreds of other warriors, survivors and supporters.

Fueled by sustenance from generous food sponsors, we set out on our journey to spread awareness. On the walk I was able to share my Epilepsy story with others and to gain inspiration and strength from hearing the stories of other walkers. The supportive energy from all of these people coming together blanketed in a sea of purple shirts was immeasurable. Seeing families and friends supporting each other, dogs donning Epilepsy’s signature color and kids running side by side all to support one another was so positively uplifting that I was almost moved to tears. I couldn’t possibly imagine a better way to have celebrated the blog’s birthday.

We won’t be able to break down the stigmas surrounding Epilepsy and help find its cure without taking action and raising awareness. Walking for Epilepsy is just one way to take a stand and show your support. Different locations host walks and fundraising events at different times. I recommend locating your local branch of the Epilepsy Foundation and contacting them for more information on events in your area. In the meantime, The National Epilepsy Foundation has fantastic resources to learn how you can help and become an advocate for Epilepsy. Click here to learn some of ways you can get involved.


Walk On!
The Epileptic Explorer