My name is Louise Robillard and I work at Cineplex Entertainment as a Manager of Events and Program Development. I have epilepsy. I had my first seizure at the age of 14, however, I was not diagnosed until I was 29. Living in a small town, it was a guessing game of tests and drugs to figure out why I continued to “pass out” or “faint”. It took moving to Toronto where a doctor from a walk-in clinic referred me to a neurologist. A few month later and one of several EEGs to follow and I received the diagnosis that I had epilepsy, and that there is no cure.
I remember the day I was diagnosed; it was a life changing. The doctor suspended my license and started me on daily medication. She proceeded to tell me of all the things I shouldn’t do, such as engaging in physical activity and sports. I return to my office to see my husband, who also worked at Cineplex at the time, to break him the news. I was also required to tell my manager, as special considerations would need to be made for my job, as I required to have the ability to drive to various theatres.
I decided that I wouldn’t let epilepsy control my life despite concessions that I’ve had to make over the years. I moved to Victoria four years ago with my husband who was posted to ship with the Canadian Military. People on Vancouver Island are very active, especially in the military community. I decided I wanted to invest in my own health and start working out, so I decided to start lifting weights with a physical trainer. I now compete in powerlifting and I am in better shape at 40, both physically and mentally than I was in my 20s.
I still take medication twice a day and I haven’t been able to get my drivers license back. However, I am luckier than most. A year ago, my cousin, Julie, died from an epileptic seizure in her sleep (SUDEP: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). She was only 25 and a mother of an 18-month old son. As soon as I was told that she died in her sleep, I knew it was probably a seizure. Julie was diagnosed only a couple of years prior, and most of her seizures were nocturnal. My family was shocked that this was possible, and were worried that it could happen to me.
Not many people are informed about this disorder and no cure currently exists. By donating, you support over 300,000 Canadians who are living with epilepsy. You also fund research that one day will find a cure.
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