Young Kristin Seaborg had the world at her fingertips: a loving family, happiness and security, early admission to medical school–until the frightening diagnosis of epilepsy threatened to destroy both her career path and her health. Living in constant fear that her seizures would intensify and prevent her from practicing medicine, Kristin kept her condition a closely guarded secret, leading a tenuous double life as patient and practitioner.
A memoir of discovery, acceptance, and hope, The Sacred Disease chronicles Kristin’s tenacious fight for a seizure-free life. Remarkably, although Kristin’s knowledge and expertise continue to develop as a pediatrician and mother, her experiences as a vulnerable patient provide the most valuable lessons of all.
FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Sacred Life from the publisher via Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Title: The Sacred Disease: My Life with Epilepsy
Author: Kristen Seaborg, M.D.
Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / Health / Epilepsy & Stigma
Release Date: November 16, 2015
Source: Publisher via Sage’s Blog Tours
FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Sacred Disease: My Life with Epilepsy from the publisher via Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
As I read Kristin Seaborg’s memoir, The Sacred Disease: My Life with Epilepsy, my emotions ran the gamut from fear to frustration to happiness as Kristin lived with this determined disease. Her story rings with the same range of emotions, and yet she never gave up hope on the life she dreamed for herself.
Kristin’s epilepsy began at a very young age (16 months) during a bout of influenza accompanied by high fever. Leaving the hospital a physician commented the seizure that brought her to the emergency room might “not be the end of Kristin’s seizures.” Unfortunately, his prediction was correct.
Equally unfortunate were the life experiences tied to Kristin’s seizures by her playmates and classmates and often some adults. We are an insensitive people when we do not understand the other’s battle. Yet, Kristin never lost sight of her faith in God, although there were times of doubting:
WHAM! The flash of pain was a reminder of the defect in my vision that remained after epilepsy surgery.
‘GOD!’ I exclaimed. Tears sprang to my eyes.
Where was He anyway? … ‘I’m tired of pretending that everything’s OK,’ I cried. ‘I’m tired of running all the time, meeting other people’s needs and feigning an image of order and control. I’m surrounded by chaos and I’m definitely not in control.’
Kristin Seaborg from The Sacred Disease
(Kindle edition, Loc. 2729)
This quote is just one example of the frustrations Kristin faced even though her life as a physician, wife, and mother was thankfully viable. But why should one person never be free of pain, fear, and medication?
There are millions every day who face living with a chronic illness, and epilepsy is one of them. This book needs to be read by every man, woman, youth on the planet to learn about acceptance of these people who cannot always help what happens in a public place.
Additionally, Kristin’s story, in which she is not only patient but physician, needs to be read by every physician, nurse, caregiver, and anyone else working in the healthcare field to learn the necessity of thoroughness, patience, and compassion.
Kristin Seaborg has written not only her life story of epilepsy but also a concise tutorial for the rest of us on epilepsy. Her examples as patient on the inside of the hospital bed rails and as physician on the outside of the railings show the reader the intimacies of epilepsy we might not otherwise experience.
Dr. Seaborg also stands as an example not only to people attempting to support somewhat normal lives while living with epilepsy, she also reveals they can become whatever they dream of, in most instances, and they can marry and have children of their own. She is an author we want to watch.
Kristin is a practicing pediatrician in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and three children. She contributes magazine articles about pediatrics and parenting, and writes a blog about epilepsy, www.oneintwentysix.com. An advocate for epilepsy awareness, Kristin hopes that writing about her disease will help decrease the stigma associated with seizures. You can find Kristin at www.kristinseaborg.com, on Facebook at Kristin Seaborg MD, Author, and on Twitter @KristinSeaborg.