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"Thank you again for last night. Everyone was very glad they came and feel so much better about things now. There were many compliments given about you... Carin



Faces of Epilepsy

Cora Sciarra

Faces of Epilepsy - Cora Sciarra - Epilepsy Foundation of CTAm I happy I have epilepsy? Yes and no, for the very same reasons.  It has changed my life!  Fortunately, the good reasons outnumber the bad.  My name is Cora, and I have been able to meet so many other wonderful people, and help them through their struggles in an empathetic way that may never have been possible if I did not have epilepsy. The loving, caring, understanding, and dedicated people I have met at the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut have touched my life in a way I lack expression for, but can only follow the same example they have set for me.  This is the reason I have been as involved as I can be with the foundation.  My involvement includes being a H.O.P.E. mentor; helping to raise funds in Sharon’s Walk, Run, Ride; and donating auction items to the Gala.  I’ve also participated in the National Walk in memory and honor of my late, very special epileptologist, Susan Spencer.  None of these things would even be possible without the generous help from others in transporting items (or me!) places. This also includes the support of friends, family, neighbors, EFCT volunteers, etc.

I have temporal lobe epilepsy which was diagnosed in November of 1997, after having symptoms of simple and partial seizures for awhile that were not understood.  The diagnosis occurred after I had just driven our family a long way at night, and then had a tonic-clonic seizure which left me post-ictal for over an hour. When my traumatized husband roused me a bit, it led to a trip to the hospital and the beginning of a very different chapter in my life.

A few weeks later, when I was slightly better, the first thing I did was contact the Epilepsy Foundation and subscribe to Epilepsy USA.  The family did a lot of research to learn all we could about Epilepsy.  I always recommend this to people I encounter in my life touched in any way by Epilepsy. I am a teacher by profession, so I love to learn and help others to learn about life.

The change continued to evolve for the next three plus years.  I had tried MANY seizure meds, but am very sensitive to them, so they were with huge side effects and still did not stop the seizures. At this point, we investigated surgery, so I contacted the EFCT and met several very willingly helpful people through them who had epilepsy surgery.

June of 2001, I finally had phase three surgery. A  WADA. test preceded that earlier in the year to ensure I would not loose my language or speech.  They were unable to resection my brain because of problems with the implants and the seizure activity was firing so fast, it was impossible to isolate exactly where the seizures were beginning.

Although I have simple and complex partial seizures daily because I cannot take enough medicine to stop them and stay awake,  I am very hopeful better imaging will come up in my lifetime that will enable the neurosurgeon to pinpoint exactly where the seizures in my brain start.  Then the malfunctioning part can be resectioned, and I can be seizure and drug free. My life will again have a huge change!

Until then, I focus on the blessing of people such as those that work for and volunteer for the Epilepsy Foundation, and so many others to help find different ways to continue living my life in such a joyful way of being able to help others too.

Until then, I focus on the blessing of people such as those that work for and volunteer for the Epilepsy Foundation, and so many others to help find different ways to continue living my life in such a joyful way of being able to help others too.



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