Unveiling the Reality of Epilepsy: A Mother’s Personal Journey

Epilepsy affects millions of lives globally, yet its true impact often remains hidden behind statistics and medical terminology. Behind each number lies a personal story of struggle, resilience, and hope. Through the eyes of Cristina Contreras Coash, a mother whose daughter, Grace, battles this condition, the harsh reality of epilepsy becomes clear.

Cristina’s Story:

For Cristina Contreras Coash, the journey with epilepsy began when her daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. Cristina vividly recalls the harrowing experience of witnessing Grace’s first seizure—

“For 11 years our daughter was a healthy thriving girl, and then in one afternoon that all changed. She suffered a seizure that came out of nowhere. It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. I was there to witness my daughter jolt back and forth like electricity was running through her body. I sat in the ambulance with her trying to let her know everything would be alright as my leg was shaking uncontrollably because I couldn’t process what had just happened.  

The weeks that followed were scary and mind-boggling. There was the diagnosis, which was devastating, but then to be told that they didn’t know why this happened, and that we may never know. Thank God for my husband to make sense of the doctor visits and tests that followed. We were then told that this was a condition that she would most likely live with for the rest of her life and that these seizures weren’t always predictable. My beautiful smart girl who I helicopter-parented all her life already was now at risk of seizures without much warning and I didn’t know how I would ever leave her side. We went about our life providing her medicine, but not wanting to think we would ever experience another seizure, until the next one.”

The subsequent weeks were marked by fear, confusion, and a relentless pursuit of answers. The unpredictability of epilepsy cast a shadow over their family’s lives, compelling them to adopt stringent routines and precautions to mitigate the risk of seizures. Every aspect of daily life became a delicate balancing act, accentuated by the constant fear of the unknown. Yet, amidst the turmoil, Cristina found strength in her family’s unwavering resolve to navigate this challenging time together.

“We still don’t know all there is to know about this thing, but we are doing our best to learn and provide her with the most regular lifestyle we can. I can finally talk about it. That is why I wrote this. I want more people to be aware and begin accepting that this is more common than you might think. Take a minute to educate yourself and keep my kid in mind. She is doing well, and we are managing as a family because that is what we do. Education is power. We will learn to live with this and she will thrive, I know it.” 

As Cristina shares her family’s story, she underscores the importance of awareness and education in demystifying epilepsy. The statistics are staggering – in the United States, 3.4 million individuals and their families grapple with the challenges of this illness. Globally, 65 million individuals live with this neurological disorder. Furthermore, 1 in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy during their lifetime, and 1 in 10 will experience a seizure. Despite medical advancements, 30 percent of individuals with epilepsy struggle to gain control over their seizures, leading to daily uncertainty and fear.

Walking Together: Team Grace

In recognition of Grace’s brave battle with this illness, family, friends, and Coash Court Reporting & Video staff members pledged to participate in the “Walk to End Epilepsy” event with the formation of “Team Grace.” Led by owners, Jerry and Cristina Coash, “Team Grace” embodies a collective commitment to raising awareness and funds for epilepsy research and support initiatives. Their efforts serve as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community in effecting positive change.

“We walk together, not just for the cause, but in solidarity for Grace Coash and the millions more impacted by epilepsy worldwide.” To learn more about epilepsy or to donate to the cause, click here, https://www.epilepsy.com/.