Living with epilepsy: One Conn. woman’s journey

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) –  Epilepsy affects about 60,000 people in Connecticut. Tori Mordasky was five years old when she was diagnosed with the seizure disorder.

“They noticed that I was coloring and then I stopped and then I started coloring again and stopped.” Mordasky said. “I has having 300 seizures a day. Homework that would take the average sixth grader a half an hour, took me three hours to do.”

Now 21, a confident Mordasky will soon graduate from college with honors and is no longer blacking out – thanks to  medication.

“It took me 12 years to find a regimen that worked for me,” she said.

Every six months Mordasky checks in with neurologist Dr. Erica Schuyler at Hartford Hospital, which features a state-of-the-art Comprehensive Epilepsy Center where patients are diagnosed using the latest technology.

“In somebody who has epilepsy, there’s something about their brain, either some type of lesion or some sort of predisposition that they inherited that makes their brain more likely to have seizures.” Schuyler said.

There is no cure but patients like Mordasky have a newer class of drugs available that are better tolerated and requiring less monitoring than what was available previously.

“We can get about two-thirds of patients’ seizures under good control with medications alone,” Schuyler said. “That’s really the goal of treatment, is to be at that point where you are seizure-free and on medication and therapy that’s not affecting quality of life.”

Mordasky stands before life bright-eyed and ready to face what obstacles are thrown her way.

“I’m passing these people and I’m saying to myself, this maybe shallow of me to say, you’re probably not on 3,000 milligrams of drugs right now and I think I’m going to beat you in this race,” she said, laughing.

Earlier this year, the FDA approved a new drug to better manage certain seizures. For patients who do not respond to medication, surgery and a non-drug treatment using a pacemaker device are other options.

This Saturday in West Haven – you can ride, run or walk – to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut. For more information on the event, click here.

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