Jamie’s life hasn’t always been easy, but that doesn’t stop her from seeing the positive in things.
“I want people to realize that it’s not always all gloom and doom,” she says. “Even if things are difficult, the power of positivity can do wonders.”
Jamie was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 18 years old. Initially, her doctor was able to prescribe her medication that kept her epilepsy under control, however, after she had her first child at the age of 25, she began having seizures again. Along with epilepsy, Jamie was also diagnosed with trigemenal Neuralgia, as well as multiple sclerosis. Originally she believed MS would be “the worst” of the medical conditions she had to take on.
“I soon realized that epilepsy would be my biggest obstacle,” Jamie recalls. “Your body can’t predict your seizures.”
Jamie does know her triggers to having a seizure and does her best to avoid them.
“Sleep is very important,” she says. “I also can’t take too much on… my brain can’t go into overload.”
The support Jamie receives from family and friends has been a great asset to her health. Her husband is very protective and guarded of Jamie. He keeps her “in line” and lets her know when she could be putting herself at risk of having a seizure. Her daughters, ages 17 and 12, are also supportive.
“My epilepsy has made my daughters more mature. They have to be patient. There are times when we have to miss things… Basketball games, weddings, even funerals. It’s just the way it is, but in the end, it’s okay.”
Through Jamie’s experiences, she has learned the importance of being your own advocate. Four years ago, her seizures worsened and after a drop seizure –2 days before her 40th birthday–caused her to be admitted into the hospital with a concussion, she decided she needed to get a second opinion.
“Everybody is a little different. You have a right to know all of the options that best fit you.”
About a half a year ago, Jamie was feeling “a little down and that nobody could understand” what she has to handle on a regular basis. It was suggested to her that she connect with others who also have epilepsy on Instagram. This was a game changer. She realized that she was not alone.
“I found other people out there with epilepsy and I thought if they can do it, I can too.”
This led Jamie to create her first t-shirt design. It’s slogan was simple: Fight On #warriorhugs.
“I think that our kids, spouses, friends, and doctors are all warriors,” Jamie says. “and so are we.”
Jamie is currently creating t-shirts that have positive messages to sell online and is very active on Instagram (@lovewarriorhugs). This has become a business and she hopes in the future she will be able to share her profits with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. She has been a great support to the Foundation, organizing third party events to raise funds for our programs and services.
“I enjoy fundraising for EFGC,” she says. “What I do helps spread awareness. I want to have a positive outlook on epilepsy and I want others to too.”