This interview was conducted after Sheridan and her mother, Judy, volunteered to share her opinions on her experience using the SeizureLink System. While she did receive a free SeizureLink System during the pilot study, she did not receive any compensation for this interview.
When Sheridan, a 15-year-old high school freshman, found herself facing an epilepsy diagnosis she had to make a decision. Would she continue moving forward with her active lifestyle? How would she handle her anxious family? Would she ever dance again?
Sheridan made a decision that her epilepsy would not hinder her or keep her from doing the things that she loved. Here is her story.
What's your name and where are you located?
My name is Sheridan, and I'm from Texas.
What do you like to do for fun?
I dance and write for fun. I've been playing the violin since I was in the sixth grade. I don't really have a favorite song to play, but I have just finished learning a song called Cumberland Cross.
I also do a lot with my high school youth ministry and volunteer work in my church office. My volunteer work is really important to me. I think it’s important to give back. I work with my church and several organizations. Today I was a volunteer for a Down Syndrome event.
What's your epilepsy story?
I was diagnosed with epilepsy in February 2018. I had my first seizure on February 21st. That was a strange experience. At first, it was just really confusing. I thought I was in a dream. It wasn’t a dream though. Once I got my diagnosis, I wasn’t sure what we would do to manage my epilepsy, but I did know that I was not going to let it stop me from doing the things I like to do.
I was not going to let it keep me from volunteering, dancing, playing the violin, spending time with my friends, nothing.
Fortunately, I don't have seizures often. But even then, it can still be scary if I have one while I am alone or not with someone who knows what to do.
What was life like before you tried the SeizureLink System?
My family was always worried I would have a seizure when I was alone, or they weren’t around to help me. I wasn't allowed to do anything alone. That made it hard to do the things I enjoy, especially going out with friends, because someone had to be with me everywhere I went.
It’s hard to do things like volunteering or do the things with my church and youth group – or any of the things I love because that meant that someone would have to change their own schedule just for me, just so they could go with me and keep me from being alone in case I had a seizure.
What did you do before you tried SeizureLink?
We didn't try any other devices to monitor seizures or other tracking methods. However, we are currently training a seizure alert dog. He's a Miniature Schnauzer. His name is Amadeus.
What appealed to you about the SeizureLink System?
I thought SeizureLink would be a good idea because it was easy to set up every day and I could take it anywhere. It was nice for my family could be alerted so we were all more prepared.
It helped my family to understand what was going on and we could be ready if I had a seizure. We were all very scared and unsure at first. It was a scary time because there was so much we didn’t know. Plus, not knowing when I would have another seizure made it hard to make plans and participate in the activities I enjoy.
What was your biggest breakthrough while using the SeizureLink System?
There wasn’t a single thing or event, but more like an overall breakthrough. We, my family and I, felt less worried about me spending time away from home. It gave me more freedom to be able to do those things I like. I was able to go places and be with friends, volunteer at different places, and even spend some time just being by myself.
How is life different now, after using the SeizureLink System?
I have a lot more privacy now because my family isn't worried all the time. I don’t have to have someone with me all the time. I can also do the things I love to do, like dance! I can pursue that and I don’t have to worry, so it’s better.
What does SeizureLink do for you that other things you tried couldn’t or didn’t?
SeizureLink alerts my parents when I have a seizure. Nothing else has done that.
As I got the SeizureLink it was ready to set up and use. It was ready to go to work for me as soon as I got it out of the package. There was just a little bit of set up, like connecting my family members to the System so they could be alerted when I have a seizure, but mostly it was ready to go.
What advice would you share with someone who was thinking about purchasing the SeizureLink System?
I would advise them to know or remember when they have the device on, so they don't get it wet. Mostly, I would say if you have seizures, but you have a lot of things you want to do, then SeizureLink can help you have the freedom to do the things you love.
Judy, Sheridan’s mom, had a few things she wanted to add.
People have asked me about her playing the violin, and if it helps or affects her Epilepsy. I’m not really sure either way. But she does love it and it makes her happy so there has to be some benefit there.
She doesn't really allow Epilepsy to stop her, not even from the beginning after she was first diagnosed. She was and is very active; she has a very active life. She is a very dedicated student, participating in a number of school activities, including robotics. She’s also in several clubs: Chinese, psychology and environmental and she dances 7 hours a week: pointe, ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. Sheridan’s very talented; she’s a very special girl.
Her love for life is infectious. She enjoys lots of friendships and is a real inspiration.
Oh, and she really loves her 8-month-old miniature schnauzer. He’s her constant companion.
Your epilepsy is part of your life; it doesn’t have to be your life.
Find out for yourself if SeizureLink can help you. The SeizureLink System allows you to live confidently. It's your life. Let SeizureLink help you live it with less worry.