katrinaI struggle daily with Epilepsy and Crohn’s Disease, a combination which has led to an ultimately careful and health-focused lifestyle. Though it is not something I would ever wish on another person, it has resulted in a passion I never expected for health, stress management, and a balanced life.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in Fall of 2013, after spending the last year of college going through medical evaluations and tested theories – but, the bigger stall to my “where you see yourself five years after graduation” plan was when I started unexpectedly having seizures. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy (Polymicrogyria) in April 2015, during the second of six closely related hospital trips within nine months.

Epilepsy is a widespread issue that entails much more than short bursts of uncontrolled episodes; many repercussions come with the diagnosis. I lost my ability to work in my normal setting for a year, due to frequent hospital visits and the suspension of my license. It is more challenging than I am able to describe to be held back from completing tasks and being as independent as you feel you can be because of a condition where you lose control.

I have made great strides in managing my epilepsy and, with the phenomenal help of my epileptoligist, Dr. Millett, have been seizure-free for a full year, as of September 2016. It is, even now, a challenge to stay positive in the face of this enormous obstacle. I frequently remind myself that I am able to accomplish so much more than the stigma that comes with an Epileptic life.

One truly uplifting common theme I have seen is art; it doesn’t matter the medium. The ability to create reminds us of our strengths, our confidences…our weaknesses, and how we’ve overcome them. While at my most ill, I tuned into an entirely new passion for art, health, and life balance.