In 2008, the year we got married, Jen was diagnosed with epilepsy. Some people with epilepsy never have a seizure, once diagnosed and medicated. Unfortunately for us, Jen is not one of those people.
It’s been a long hard struggle, but we have made it through so far with humour and a positive attitude. One part of having a positive attitude came from my research on the illness. While researching epilepsy online, I discovered that numerous rock stars have it, but still function! Knowing this was a huge boost to our attitudes, because being on stage involves lots of lights, and lights can be a trigger for many people with epilepsy.
I constructed a 4 O’Clock 4-Play for Craig at 107.5 Dave FM, involving this theme. My goal was simply to raise awareness. I told Craig, “If just one person hears this and learns something about epilepsy then my work is done, because so many people have no idea what it is.” Judging by the feedback I got, it did succeed in getting people thinking!
1. Prince. The royal single-monikered one was born epileptic and suffered a lot of taunting at school. He’s obviously come a long way since! I submitted “Let’s Go Crazy” in my 4-play but Craig subbed in a collaboration with Stevie Nicks which was fine by me!
2. Lindsay Buckingham. He was born with a mild form of the disease, but still manages to tour with Fleetwood Mac. Good on him! I chose “Go Your Own Way”.
3. Adam Horovitz. This Beastie Boy is sensitive to flashing lights, which I am sure they use in their stage show. It certainly didn’t seem to hold him back from massive success. For this 4-play I chose “Sabotage”.
4. Neil Young. He was medicated for epilepsy as a child, but didn’t like the side effects of the meds, which can go all over the spectrum depending on you and your meds. Neil chose to make lifestyle changes instead, and has lived without medication since! And, obviously, rocked the world. Good on you Neil. I used “Rockin’ in the Free World”.
Epilepsy scares a lot of people when they see a seizure happen. Don’t be scared, but if you want to learn more, check out some of these links.