Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Spreading Wellness: Who are you walking for?

This sauna photo was taken by Jodi L. Tervo,
while visiting her family and friends in Finland.
Yes, every individual tiny apartment in this
complex had its very own sauna! :)
Growing up as a full blooded Finn, I hardly knew what a shower was...yes, we took Sauna's. In the winter cold, the sauna would help warm up the bones, and if it was a hot summer night, you felt cooler when you came out of the hot sauna. There is something about a sauna that is incredibly cleansing and healing.

One of my Grandma's had to take her sauna before it was hot, "because she had spells," I was told. And sometimes, my Mom had to go help her because she was "having another spell." As I grew older, I learned that my Grandma had Epilepsy. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, Epilepsy is defined as a disease involving recurrent, unprovoked seizures. My Grandma told me that she was young when she started having seizures, and her school had a special room for her near Mrs. Jeffers office, the school Principal. Grandma often talked about how nice Mrs. Jeffers was to her. When I think about the school taking time to help her with seizures in the 1930s and 40s, it amazes me...that was during the time of institutionalizing people who were different, but instead, her school created a room for her! And when I think about the medications that she likely took when she was a young girl, it is amazing that she lived into her 80s.

Since learning what my Grandma's "spells" really were, I took an interest in learning a little bit more about seizures and epilepsy, but there wasn't very much information that was easily accessible. A couple of friends, and their children also had epilepsy and other seizure disorders...but it still seemed a mystery. When I began working in the school systems as a Physical Therapist Assistant in the late 90s, many of my students also had seizure disorders. Some parents were experimenting with special diets and a wide variety of medications, to help their children to have less seizures, but as far as I knew, most of them continued having seizures. It wasn't until recently, that I met someone who has been cured of her epilepsy. WOW! Her story moved me, and I realized that I want to help spread the word about the educational and advocacy opportunities that the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (and other chapters across the USA) provide. Not all people are candidates for surgery, but for those that are, this is an amazing medical discovery! And, if surgery is not an option, there are other medical advances for seizure disorders that are just as important.

Did you know that over 60,000 people have epilepsy in our community? Epilepsy can happen to anyone, at any time, with 1 in 10 Americans having a seizure in their lifetime and 1 in 26 being diagnosed with epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation of MN provides programs and services that help to educate, empower and connect with individuals, families, and schools. (This information was provided to me by our Northern Minnesota Outreach Coordinator.)

Maybe you have a story about family or friends who have seizures and/or epilepsy, and you want to share? Maybe you work in a school and want to have an educator visit your school? Chances are, most of us know someone who has epilepsy or a seizure disorder, whether we know it or not. Epilepsy is not something you can "see," rather it can be a hidden secret that people don't want to share...but, there is help out there, and this is our way to help share the information with our readers, and encourage awareness surrounding epilepsy...and it is a way to give back to the community, on a medical condition that has personal ties. To help with this great cause, E3 Twin Ports, LLC, has registered a team for the "Rise Above Seizures Walk" here in Duluth, MN. The walk is on August 1st at the Denfeld High School, and begins at 10:00 a.m. (Click this link for more details). If you would like to join our team, please send me an email (info@e3twinports.com), or click the link in the previous sentence and then "join a team." Our team is called E3 Twin Ports. Yes, I am walking for my Grandma, and all others with seizure disorders. We welcome you to walk with us, and share with us, Who are you walking for? Stories are powerful. We encourage them, and would love to hear yours.

E3 Twin Ports, LLC Owner,
Jodi L. Tervo Roberts
E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise
Jodi L. Tervo Roberts, Owner, Programmer, and Blog Author

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