I was diagnosed with epilepsy my first semester at college when I was 18 years old. Before then I thought I was invincible. I didn’t have a care in the world, especially regarding my health. I was a high school athlete with no physical or mental disabilities. Everything seemed to be going well until I started college.

My first seizure occurred while crossing the street during mid term exams. I was taken to the hospital and many of my friends told me I had convulsions. I told them I was most likely mentally exhausted and needed to get rest from studying. The doctor strongly recommended that I have an EEG exam when I went home for the holidays. Sure enough when I came back to Miami the EEG showed I had epilepsy and by the description of my episodes it was determined that I had grand mal seizures- I would lose consciousness and wake up in pain without knowing what happened and my entire body would be exhausted.

Being a naïve 18yr old, I refused to believe I had epilepsy and decided not to take my medication routinely for the next 4 years. Needless to say I had countless episodes all induced by lack of sleep and stress. Upon graduating I began working and embraced my diagnosis.

After doing some extensive research and talking to my doctors, I stopped drinking and taking any medications that may induce seizures. I go for check ups routinely and try to get eight hours of sleep every night.

I have been seizure free for over four years and I am fortunate enough to have found the correct medication to suppress my episodes. Thanks to the advances in medication and the awareness of this foundation and many others like it, I have been able to lead a perfectly normal life.

Good luck to my fellow sufferers and I am certain you too can find a way to not let this condition take over your life!

-Arturo Vinueza

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