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Francesca

Just like anyone else during these challenging times, I’ve been worried about getting the dreaded coronavirus.

Although epilepsy hasn’t been officially classed as making people more ‘at risk’, anyone with epilepsy – or any other chronic condition – will know that your body and brain react differently to illness. How would COVID affect my epilepsy? Would it make it worse? Would it somehow react with my medication? Considering how even a night out can impact my epilepsy, the idea of getting a new virus was somewhat anxiety-inducing!

I’ve definitely taken for granted the wonder that the web is for people with epilepsy. Now, the instant library of knowledge at my fingertips was replaced by a big blank screen of uncertainty (and lots of confusing Google information on COVID!).

In October, my boyfriend and I started feeling a bit ill with a suspected cold. Then he announced he’d lost his smell and taste. I thought he was being a bit of a hypochondriac, but two days and one test later, he was confirmed positive with COVID. My taste and smell went shortly after – cue lots of me walking around the house smelling random objects and sticking my head in a bag of coffee trying to see if I had fully lost it!

Obviously everyone reacts differently to viruses, but I was lucky in that coronavirus didn’t really affect my epilepsy (or me) too badly. My seizures are relatively under control, with the occasional myoclonic, and having COVID didn’t change them too much. I had a couple of nights of bad sleep from achiness and a temperature. Lack of sleep does affect my seizures, so I had a few myoclonic seizures, but nothing that made me scared, or worried it would lead to something more. I managed to continue working from home and spent most of my quarantine binge-watching Harry Potter and pining for the smell of bacon!

When I first heard that we had coronavirus I freaked out. I had no idea what to expect, but I decided to take it day by day and try not to worry about the unknown. I made sure to look after myself, to have massive lie-ins, to not exercise when I was feeling too tired, to take lots of vitamins, and to also indulge in some comfort food when I needed it! Allowing myself to relax a bit really helped. It would’ve helped to have read before about other people who’d had coronavirus with epilepsy and been fine. Sometimes the uncertainty and lack of information can make the illness seem scary. Everyone’s experience is different but I hope that reading this helps other people and shows you that you’re not alone in the way you might be feeling.

Please note that this is one person's experience of the coronavirus. To see our full information and guidance, please go to www.epilepsy.org.uk/coronavirus.

Francesca
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