An interview with Sharon Worsey – By Charlotte Ford.
So what is it?
Epilepsy is a diagnosed condition which affects the brain. Seizures are commonly associated with the condition, there are many types of seizure, not all seizures will look the same.
‘In the UK, 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy. Only 52 per cent of people with epilepsy in the UK are seizure-free. It is estimated that 70 per cent could be seizure free with the right treatment.’ www.epilespsy.co.uk
I talked to Sharon Worsey, 47, about her epilepsy and her experiences since being diagnosed, so you can see a glimpse of what it’s all about and what we can do, as a community, to make this condition better understood.
When were you first diagnosed with epilepsy?
I’m not exactly sure between 38-40 years old, I went through a lot of tests for various things, at first the doctors thought I’d had a stroke and they tested for that.
I had 2 MRI Scans, 2 CT scans and 2 lumbar punctures to finally get to the bottom of it.
Had you heard about epilepsy before your diagnosis?
Yes, but I didn’t know what it really was.
How do you think it has most affected you and your family?
My partner Phil is always scared that I’ll have a fit when I’m out on my own, so he calls me all the time to see if I’m okay. My daughter Shannon was worried at first, but not so much now.
Is there anything you want to tell people about epilepsy? Perhaps, something they don’t know?
Epilepsy comes in lots of different types, not all Epileptics shake and fall to the floor, some may just look like they are day dreaming for a second or two.
For anyone reading this has just been diagnosed, what advice would you give them
If you’ve just been diagnosed, get as much information as you can from the doctor who deals with you or the epilepsy nurse if you have one. Don’t be frightened to go out, just go with someone can look after you if you need them until you feel strong enough to go out on your own, there is always someone out there that will help if you do have a fit. There are also epilepsy websites, Facebook groups and pages to go to. Some websites don’t like it if you use the word ‘fits’, they are officially known as seizures, so be wary of that.
Finally, is there any way in which being diagnosed with epilepsy has improved your life? Has it changed your perspective on epilepsy?
It has changed my life, when I was first told I had epilepsy, I was scared to go out on my own, I was scared to cross the road in case I had a seizure in the middle of the road, which so far I haven’t.
I’ve had seizures in the supermarket and people thought I was drunk and that upset me. I don’t have many really anymore, but I have stopped getting upset and try to laugh about it now. I might have epilepsy but epilepsy doesn’t have me. I get with life and don’t worry about it, because worrying would only make it worse.
For more information, help, and support on epilepsy please visit www.epilepsy.org.uk