I noticed this October that it is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I notice this by seeing stores selling EVERYTHING pink. (Please do not think I am unsympathetic to people with breast cancer) While this notion is all well and good, as a person with epilepsy, I begin to think to myself, where is our month? I know it is November, and the color is purple but you don't see any of it or hear anything about it at all. You don't see purple colored kitchen tools, purple ribbons or fancy jewelry made to the tune of purple epilepsy awareness. Why is that? It is 2011 and we know so much about how the human body works, stigmas about epilepsy still exist.
Why is it when millions of people worldwide, more than those with other more "Media-Friendly illnesses" like Breast Cancer MS and Parkinson's disease, that we are still no closer to a good cure than before? Why is it all we have is treatments that have horrible and life hindering side effects? Why is it no one is putting purple stickers on their car supporting epilepsy awareness? Is it not as serious an illness? Many professionals and patients will tell you that this lack of support is hindering their lives.
It sickens me personally to see all this support for diseases with fewer patients than epilepsy. This disease has been around for millennia and while we may not be burned for being a witch or hailed as oracles because of seizures, we still feel left out from the mainstream fold. We can hardly get jobs it seems and it is very hard to support ourselves due to the expensive medications. Even with insurance, it is hard to pay for treatment. I know I had to give up my medication when I lost my job due to my epilepsy. I had to quit because I had to keep calling off due to seizures. Because I quit due to my epilepsy being poorly controlled, I had to quit medication too.
How can we as a society think it is fair that people can be kicked around like that? Donations for a cure passed over because we still think there is something seriously wrong with them and they are possessed by some sort of demon? How is it few people know how to treat seizures? Many people still think you can swallow your tongue during a seizure. Come on! It is the 21st century here people. We know better, now make the public know better! Hell some people still think epilepsy is contagious!
I have a list of facts that may shock you and lead you to ask, "Why are we not funding a cure?"
Epilepsy outstrips AIDS in annual deaths
Some 181,000 people will develop epilepsy each year.
The Department of the Army says near 50% of injured vets from Afghanistan or Iraq will develop some form of epilepsy in the next 15 years
There are an estimated 22 different seizure types.
Come on now, why do people not give more support to this disease?