At the age of 16-months, pediatrician Dr. Kristin Seaborg has her first seizure. Immediately she goes through the protocol of tests to see whether or not she has epilepsy. The neurologist put her on the first medication most people with seizures try, phenobarbital. At the age five, and seizure free for years, Seaborg’s doctors try to wean her off of her meds, but her seizures return and stick around.
The tedious process of trying medication after medication begins. Once on a new med, Seaborg becomes seizure free for months at a time. Then, like clockwork, they return putting everything on hold; driving, med school, and starting a family.
Seaborg decides to not let her epilepsy get her down and to go ahead with the tests needed to see if she is a candidate for surgery. She gets the green light from her doctors and goes through with it.
“In the medical community, it’s not cool to be ill. I hated being the weakest link and I hated being the person who had to ask for help.”
Seaborg documents what it was like for her to deal with having epilepsy as an adult and as a doctor starting a family. None of these decisions did she take lightly. Whether or not the surgery is successful, I’ll leave that up to you to find out.
It is always comforting to talk to someone who has gone through the same experiences that you have. In my case, it was comforting to read about someone else’s experience living with epilepsy. I kept finding myself nodding along. Yes, I’ve been on that drug. Yes, I’ve been ashamed to talk about it. Yes, I have had the embarrassment of having a seizure in public.
Yes, I had to have surgery too.
I think that this is a book that anyone would find helpful. Whether you are a family member or someone who is curious to know what epilepsy is like, you will know by the end of The Sacred Disease. You’ll know what kind of toll epilepsy has on a person and their loved ones.
This book is raw and doesn’t sugar coat anything. If you are going to have the resection surgery, don’t let this book scare you off. You have to remember that epilepsy is different for everyone and what worked for Seaborg won’t be the same thing that will work for you. All of Seaborg’s facts are cited so that if you are looking for further information, it is all there in the reference section.
*Blogger’s note: 100% of the proceeds of Kristen Seaborg’s book go to CURE. A good deed by Seaborg to give back to the epilepsy community.