where in the world

Written by Julianna

Where in the world have you had seizures? I have had seizures in Quebec; in the Dominican Republic (when I came to, my super-evangelistic host mother was kneeling over me praying); in Sicily with my orchestra; in Tuscany over a beautiful meal of pumpkin ravioli; in the Dominican Republic another time for my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary (I was so bummed when I dropped my fruit punch smoothie); in Switzerland in a beautiful outdoor pool looking up at the Alps; at the beach in Costa Rica (no te preocupes—es normal. Yo tengo la epilepsia de lobo temporal…)

I have also had seizures in eleven states plus Washington DC and ten college campuses—Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, Dartmouth, UMass Amherst, Bowdoin, Bates, Oberlin, Kenyon and Vassar. Naturally, I was nervous when I went college searching, which triggered my seizures. It became a running joke that I was marking my territory. My brother, Daniel, helpfully told me that he thought I would get into the colleges where I had seizures. Unfortunately, I applied early to Vassar, so I didn’t get to test this hypothesis.

This is to say that when you have epilepsy, seizures are your carry-on baggage: they come everywhere with you. Epilepsy will cause headaches when you’re hiking and cause you to wake up and forget you’re on another continent. But it should not hinder your adventures. (I am writing this post as I fly home from my semester abroad in Ecuador, happily remembering all that this semester has given me and eagerly looking forward to seeing my family.)

Julianna is a junior at Vassar College. She is majoring in sociology with minors in Spanish and neuroscience.

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