November 10, 2006

Epilepsy Symposium

Yesterday I went to an Epilepsy Symposium hosted by Children's Hospital in D.C. Unfortunately Rob had a shoot this week so he wasn't able to attend. It was pretty incredible---an entire day full of lectures and events. The day was informative, emotional and overwhelming to say the least.

The morning was filled with lectures from doctors on topics covering the basics of epilepsy and seizures, medications and side effects, alternative drugs and therapies, learning disorders, behavioral disorders and psychological disorders. So it was a pretty intense morning with a lot of not so uplifting information. I found myself fighting back tears at many times.

When we broke for lunch there was a panel of teenagers with epilepsy who talked about their experiences. They were so well-composed and thoughtful answers and I felt very emotional as they spoke. Many of them have learning disabilities and some have had seizures in school. Some have told their friends they have epilepsy and others felt it was to private to share with classmates. What really struck me was how positive all the kids were. They all just want to be treated like everyone else and want to be encouraged to follow their dreams. I really admire all of them.

Most of the sessions after lunch were topics surrounding advocacy: how to deal with the school system, utilizing the Epilepsy Foundation, helping teens with epilepsy transition into adulthood and parent discussion panels.

It was quite an event. I met a lot of doctors and parents and even bumped into a few people I already knew, but afterward I was exhausted!

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