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Episode 5 | A Chat with Jewel Gibson: Catamenial Seizures and Running with Epilepsy

Jewel Gibson is a mom, a wife, a teacher,  and a blogger from Brooklyn, New York. Her Instagram and blog, Life's A Jewel, focuses on motherhood and encouraging women to live healthier lives, experience fulfilling relationships and conquer parenthood fashionably. She also uses her platform to talk about the day-to-day challenges navigating a seizure disorder.

Jewel was an athlete and runner in highschool, so when she saw an advert from The Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York about running the United Airlines Half Marathon, she figured it would be fun to try. She wanted to run to help eliminate the stigma about epilepsy and seizures, as well as raise awareness within the community.

But when Jewel started training, she realised that her seizures and epilepsy were going to make running more difficult than she remembered! Jewel couldn't find any information on running with epilepsy, and how this might affect the way you train. She had to figure it out on her own and learn how to run without aggravating the condition. Her blog post about her training was one of the few articles I could find on the extra concerns of running with epilepsy.

In today's episode Jewel talks about:

  • Her first seizures and difficult EMT experience

  • The confusion between pseudo/non-epileptic seizures and epileptic ones

  • The difficulty getting to her diagnosis of 'catamenial' seizures

  • How her family supported her through her diagnosis

  • Learning to accept help when her seizures were bad

  • Hiding her epilepsy at work

  • Starting a blog because she didn't see other Black people talking about epilepsy

  • Why she decided to do the NY Half

  • The COLD New York weather during training!

  • How running makes her feel free

  • The anxiety around seizures and when they might happen

  • Deciding what to tell her students when she has a 72 hour EEG

  • Balancing being a mom/wife/woman/teacher

  • How the 'adventure' question made her realise how adventurous her life is!

  • And more...


Catamenial seizures - seizures that are affected or triggered by changes in hormones

Pseudoseizures - Now more commonly known as psychogenic seizures, which are not caused by electrical activity in the brain. Also called Non-epileptic seizures (NES), dissociative seizures, non-epileptic attacks. The name 'pseudoseizure' is an older term. In the UK it is not used because it suggests the person is not having 'real' seizures.




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Kev Rowe on Soundcloud | Creative Commons Attribution License

The FULL TRANSCRIPT is on its way!! In the meantime, you can read the autotranscript on the YouTube.

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