• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Learning to live with epilepsy

November 13, 2016

epilepsy patient, Tehya, from Sharing Mayo Clinic story with her mother and her dog
The first time Tehya Mrotek had a seizure during class, she had just begun high school. Most of the faculty and staff at Stewartville High School didn’t know how to respond to Tehya’s condition.

The school nurse recognized what had happened, however. The nurse explained it to Tehya when she regained consciousness from her tonic-clonic episode. But Tehya’s teachers and support staff weren’t very familiar with epilepsy and were not equipped to administer seizure first-aid, says Tehya’s mother, Tamra Mrotek. That was six years ago.

Within three years, not only had all of Tehya’s teachers and administrators become proficient in epilepsy education, but the town of Stewartville had received certification as a Seizure Smart Community from the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.

“I know there are parents who will change schools for their child’s well-being, but it’s more beneficial for the school to be well educated,” says Tamra, a timekeeping specialist at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus.

The path to becoming seizure smart wasn’t easy, Tamra and Tehya say. Understanding a diagnosis of epilepsy, which occurs in approximately 1 in 26 people, and managing the disease present a huge learning curve. But thanks to their supportive Mayo Clinic team, a proactive school nurse, and an engaged advocacy group, Tehya’s school and entire community were ready to take on the challenge.  Read the rest of Tehya's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.