· Favourite food: Margherita pizza4 – thin base, real Italian style!
· Favourite book: Anything by Henry Miller7
Until I met this one person in London, I’d never known anyone else with epilepsy. Or, so I thought.
I lived in London for 3 years (returning to Paris in 2018), leading an international telecom’s business. Part of what I loved about London was its international culture and atmosphere – you could meet anyone, from any background, in almost any building.
Every week I was up at the crack of dawn, traveling from East London into the centre of town at the London Chamber of Commerce11 where I was based. On a Tuesday though I’d go to a networking event in Holborn12 first, where I’d talk to Torie, who I became friends with. Torie became a client of mine too and we would use that as an excuse to chat outside of the meeting; catching up about the latest business news of London and Paris, as well as personal chit chat.
You know how you ask a friend how they are, and you actually do want to know how well they are? One day Torie told me that she was “Ok but exhausted” and when I asked why, she said that in addition to the stresses of work, she was on some tablets for epilepsy13 which made her tired. I was shocked! I think that I just said “Oh!” because I wasn’t sure what else to say! Torie smiled (I could tell that she’d seen the shocked face before) and asked if I had any questions. I was worried at first, but she reassured me that although she will probably have a seizure at some point in the future, she wasn’t “planning” to imminently! She told me that she was lucky too (I laughed at the use of the word “lucky”!) because she got an aura14 prior to a more severe seizure so she’d be able to keep me in the loop! I hadn’t even known of the word “aura” before, let alone that it alone was a seizure.
Later that day I reflected and realised that I’d known Torie for 6 months and that during that time I hadn’t had seen any indications that she’d had epilepsy. Now I know that there are millions of people in a similar situation to Torie’s and that it’s an invisible condition.
One time when we met for coffee, Torie became suddenly unwell and I was so worried that she was going to have a seizure! “Luckily” it was just a winter bug/illness…but it made me realise some of the worries that people affected by epilepsy can go through.
To this day, Torie hasn’t had a seizure in my company – either face to face or over the phone/Skype but I know that even if a person doesn’t have seizures anymore they still have to cope with drug side-effects and any associated illnesses.
I also know now how common epilepsy is and that it could affect me directly tomorrow. Or someone I love. And that is something that we should all be aware of.
Business Development Professional
1. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/royerfrederic/
2. Ava2i: https://ava2i.com
3. Wikipedia - Paris: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris
4. Margherita – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_Margherita
5. The Beatles: https://www.thebeatles.com/
6. David Bowie: http://glastonbury.davidbowie.com/
7. Wikipedia - Henry Miller: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Miller
8. Wikipedia - Steve Jobs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs
9. Richard Branson: https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson
10. Wikipedia - Jack Ma: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ma
11. London Chamber of Commerce: https://www.londonchamber.co.uk/
12. Holborn: http://www.londontown.com/LondonAreas/Holborn
13. Epilepsy Action: https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/about