Purple Rain for Epilepsy Awareness

Purple RainAs we mourn Prince and await the results of the autopsy, I want America to know something about his life, and maybe his death.   Prince had epilepsy.  As a child he suffered from seizures and was bullied as a result of it.

Prince claimed that he was “cured by an angel.” Unfortunately, some seizures can seem like religious experiences.  It’s called an ecstatic seizure.  It’s rare, but real.  I’m glad that Prince believed he was cured of epilepsy.  I’m glad he went decades without having a seizure.  Do I believe he was cured?  No.

Once an epileptic, always an epileptic.  Even if you haven’t had a seizure in a looooooong time, surgery, medicine, medical marijuana. You will always be an epileptic. Even after 40 years of seizure-free living, at any moment a seizure can snatch away a life and leave no evidence.

I’m not saying that a seizure killed Prince.  But it is a real possibility.  Every time I hear the radio or TV say “unknown cause” I want to scream, “Not for an epileptic!”

We have our own special death: SUDEP Sudden Unexplained Death in an Epileptic Person.  Prince was an epileptic.  It is a life-sentence.  If there is no cause, then it’s SUDEP.  I want the news to say SUDEP when they say it could be the FLU or an OD.  Just say the word.  Let the world know ALL the possibilities.

Whenever anyone with seizures gets sick, the risk of a seizure is increased.  When you end up in the ER after a seizure, the first question they ask is, “What drugs did you take?”  The second question is, “Have you been sick?”  Anything could cause a seizure.  Any seizure could kill.  It’s a possibility.

If I am found dead and unresponsive, don’t call my death unexplained.  Call it SUDEP.  Even famous people die can die from epilepsy, for no reason at all.  That’s epilepsy.  It’s cruel and it’s heartless.  I don’t believe that there is any amount of time that may pass before I am “cured.” I might enjoy a long seizure-free stretch of time.  But there are no guarantees with seizures.

I love you Prince.  I don’t believe you were cured by an angel but I’m glad it gave you peace.  That’s all we can hope for in this thing called life.

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