Sunday, March 22, 2015

Getting Brainy in Minnesota

Some events are just so overwhelming that you have to process them before you can actually write about them.  This weekend was one of those events.

I went to the first Purple Day Walk for Epilepsy & Brain Games! It was emotional and amazing and crazy and just so beyond expectations I am having a hard time putting it all in to words!

Soooo cool, right?

The walk was held at Minnesota's famed Mall of America, which is just GIANT and an amazing venue for the walk. Everything was purple. Cassidy, the fantastic founder of Purple Day and special guest for the walk, has always talked about just wanting to see everything purple and I think we accomplished that. You could hardly see another color around!

It started in the morning with a PURPLE carpet and professional pictures - my husband and I jumped in on that action!

I know, we ARE adorbs.

And then, I was SO blessed to finally meet the fantastic women from the Anita Kaufmann Foundation that I have been working with for the past 5 years - Debbie and Ann Marie. They are the driving forces behind Purple Day here in the U.S. and let me tell you - meeting them was a huge thrill! For every question I have, for every time I'm stuck, for every single thing I need they are there for me...I couldn't thank them more!

Me and Debbie - can I bottle her energy?!? (Oh and a couple of Purple friends!)

Ann Marie - 1,000 hugs can't thank her enough!

Then Cassidy arrived with her mom, Angela, and they gave a moving speech which started the waterworks - Jeff called it that I would cry! But, truly having everyone all together made me realize what I am working for, why I am here, why I am walking, and how far we have come. 

Cassidy - what an inspiration!

After the walk, I was so happy to connect with so many others who share a similar story to mine - either advocates or who have Epilepsy or have loved ones who do. Our connections are so strong and we all want the same thing - the lingering stigma to go away. But, days like this make me feel like anything is possible. :)

Miles walked: 380
Awareness Raised: More than I can count!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

RIP Blueberry...thanks for the miles :)

I was completely obsessed with our car. It was more than just transportation - it was an accessory, a soundboard, if I want to be honest, a friend (so sad). We affectionately called it Blueberry because it's a very blue jeep and in homage to one of the best television shows ever - "Psych".

Blueberry was purchased just before our son was born so we had a 4-door car to bring him home from the hospital in. In Blueberry, we have roadtripped, celebrated good news, found our new home, adopted our dog, Flynn, and basically all grown up. But, through all that - Blueberry grew old and started to not be our reliable "best friend".

It was time to find a new Blueberry.

This became particularly evident when last Thursday, Blueberry didn't start and left me walking 12 miles all over town to run errands for the next couple days. (Mantra: Awareness miles. Awareness miles. Awareness miles.)

On Saturday, we went out and bought a new car. It's a blue jeep.

Saying goodbye to Blueberry 1.0

Total Miles = 301
(Thanks for those extra miles, Blueberry)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Dad's Snoring and Why I Love It

I said when I started this blog that I would get in to my personal story of Epilepsy and so far I have only scratched the surface. So, I dedicate this blog to my Dad's snoring.

I tease my Dad endlessly about his snoring - it is truly something out of Looney Tunes or an old Disney short (imagine a blanket rising up and down over the bed). But, in reality, the sound of my Dad snoring and the fact that he is actually sleeping is music to my ears. Here's why:

My first seizure was in the fall of my Sophomore year of high school. I was on a high - I was in the middle of an extraordinary tennis season that I worked really hard for, my grades were great, and I had an amazing group of friends. And then, one night I went to bed, I woke up in the middle of the night, and my parents heard me slam up against the bathroom door and engage in a 4 1/2 minute full body seizure. That's it - there were no signs, no symptoms, no stressors. My folks were blindsided.

To hear them recount this tale then - "we heard a thud, we tried to push open the door, there was nothing you could do, you just want to hold them and know you can't" - was horrible.  But, to hear them recount it now that I am a parent it is just devastating. I can't even imagine what my parents were going through, but I try and it makes us closer.

About 10% of the world's population has just one seizure in their lifetime, so after that first seizure and appointments with Neurologists, I was told to just wait it out and see.  But, my Dad didn't really sleep again. I can remember coming home at night, going to the bathroom at night, waking up earlier than him in the morning - in high school, Summers during college, even as an adult when my husband and I briefly lived with my folks while our house was being worked on and my Dad saying "Brig, is that you - everything ok?" And me saying, "Go back to sleep" with a smile.

Now 14-years seizure free and a parent and I finally hear my Dad snoring sometimes I think - yep, I get it. And, I love you too.
Daddy's Girl

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Grin and Bear it...

When you are still 25 degrees below the average temperature in your beloved city - sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.  So, this past week, my mini-me and I took to the streets of Chicago and did some a sleet storm. It was not my best walking and we stopped (twice) for hot chocolate and tea but at the end of the day we got in 5 miles and a lot of awareness!
On the train and finally warm

In other news, it is finally MARCH - which means we are celebrating everything PURPLE!!  Who's with me?!?! I have so many events (presentations, school walk-a-thons, lollipop sales) going on this month - but I am SO looking forward to the first ever Purple Day Walk for Epilepsy and Brain Games! Anyone joining me? You can register at :

Finally, I have to give a huge shout out to my followers!!  I have heard from many of you this month who have been walking like crazy (putting me to shame really) and your new total (insert trumpet fanfare) is 1,105 miles!!! Keep moving - I am SO proud!!