Kaitlin Dennis was diagnosed with Catamenial Epilepsy, a condition where seizures only occur around the menstrual cycle when she was 16 years old. Today, as a 26-year-old woman, Kaitlin has come to hold the opinion that modern medicine should not be considered as the only “credible” solution to health problems when having personally experienced such profound success with Holistic medicine over the past ten years.
Confessing that Kaitlin is neither a doctor nor a healthcare professional, she shares how by having firsthand experience living with both the disease and the challenges that come with it that the doctors provided very little information to help guide her through this situation. Subsequently left to figure things out through trial and error, Kaitlin hopes that by writing her blog that it will give other women the opportunity to avoid the same setbacks she once encountered on her own journey.
Welcome Kaitlin, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, can you introduce yourself to us?
Thank you for having me! My name is Kaitlin Dennis, but most people just call me Katie. I am an entrepreneur, a self-published author, and a lifestyle blogger. I was diagnosed in March 2009 when I was fifteen years old with a condition called Catamenial Epilepsy, which is a type of epilepsy caused by a hormone imbalance. Specifically, it is caused by low progesterone levels and oestrogen dominance. Not so fun for a teenage girl, but my 10+ year journey is the inspiration behind my blog and it has allowed me to help other women struggling with similar circumstances. When my health allows it, I am also pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations through Boise State University’s online program.
Can you give us a little back story on your journey so far and how you launched Seize The Day Blog?
When I was first diagnosed with Catamenial Epilepsy, it was a challenge to understand the monumental changes that accompanied such a condition. However, ten years later I have come to appreciate the challenges because I know that the foundation of who I am as a woman is always being shaped and moulded for the better. Whether I am standing on top of a mountain or stumbling through a valley, I have built my confidence in God and He is transforming me into the best possible version of myself no matter the circumstances.
Catamenial Epilepsy has been the norm for me for quite some time now so I didn’t quite realise just how valuable my own personal experience with this condition could be for other women. Fast forward to my twenties, I began considering a blog as a means to share and (hopefully) help others. However, it wasn’t until I began writing a list of topics to discuss that I truly realised “Okay, I have to do this! I have to share all that I have learned because I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and I never want that to happen to someone else.” Even if it is only one person, one subscriber to my site, I can rest assured that the information I was desperately seeking at the time of my own diagnosis is now available for anyone worldwide to read. The inspiration began in 2015 and here I am four years later still excited every time I post a new article.
You were diagnosed with Catamenial Epilepsy, can you talk us through what it is and how it differs as a gender-specific type of epilepsy due to the menstrual cycle?
Absolutely! Catamenial Epilepsy is a seizure disorder caused by a hormone imbalance, specifically low progesterone and high oestrogen or oestrogen dominance. While seizures may occur at any time with other types of epilepsy, Catamenial Epilepsy is uniquely characterised by the peak points of hormones during a menstrual cycle. For example, the first 15 days of a woman’s cycle is known as the progesterone “peak” time because it is when our oestrogen levels are at their lowest. Days 16-28 are known as the oestrogen “peak” time, therefore this is when seizures will most often occur with Catamenial Epilepsy. It isn’t always the case, but it is the standard time of risk according to conventional medicine.
People often misunderstand this condition as one that only occurs during a woman’s period. However, seizures most often occur during the peak points of oestrogen levels, ovulation being the most dangerous time for increased oestrogen. This is also why it is a gender-specific type of epilepsy, seizure activity occurs based upon highs and lows of key feminine hormones like oestrogen and progesterone. The hormone imbalances noted during the ovulatory or anovulatory (lack of ovulation) processes are a serious reflection of existing imbalances and can help others to determine exactly why their seizures are occurring at certain points. The oestrogen hormone is the excitatory hormone, therefore dominance will always be a seizure trigger. This is another reason why seizure activity can happen outside of a woman’s period. Consistent oestrogen dominance will have a stronger effect despite the peak and drop points of hormones during the menstrual cycle.
What is a typical day like for you?
Research makes up a large part of my day because I am constantly trying to discover new information regarding the source of my condition. Understanding the existing problems in my body is the first step to successfully curing the symptoms and I never seem to be low on deficiencies, so there is always plenty to research! When I’m not researching my own condition, I’m doing research for my blog. Although I frequently share information based upon my personal experience in a specific area, it is so important to include scientific facts as well because I want people to know that I’m not sharing information based upon an emotional whim, there is always substantial evidence from multiple sources that support the observations I am choosing to share with others. I like to think of it as building trust with my readers so that they will come back again and again for reliable information. I try to post a new article once a week, my health will sometimes prevent me from achieving this goal, but the research still continues regularly.
My morning activities typically include breakfast, a thirty-minute yoga lesson via YouTube, about 1-2 hours of researching, some writing if I am working on a new article, a French lesson, and a quick check-up on my blog website as well as my recently created website for my self-published book, ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted.’ The afternoon will consist more of activities such as sewing, cooking, and reading. Once I begin pursuing my degree again this Spring, my days will be much more filled with school-related activities.
How are you aiming to help other women who suffer from by sharing your natural/holistic lifestyle tips?
It’s always all about sharing every detail of my experiences along the way of my own journey with epilepsy. It is truly amazing how a simple piece of information, a detail that others might completely overlook, can be the key to figuring out a problem for someone else. Trial and error is always part of being an epileptic because it takes a bit of experimentation before someone can truly pinpoint their own personal remedy for healing or what I like to call his/her Recipe for Recuperation. It has been ten years since I was diagnosed, but I still understand that feeling of despair when a simple search for healing only drags you down to rock bottom.
Every recommendation or piece of advice on Seize the Day Blog is always based upon my own personal experience and it is always shared with the intent to help other people get back up when they have fallen down. Healing can be a time-consuming process, it can be easy to become discouraged when faced with continued failure, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that Seize the Day Blog will become that reminder for those in need of a little support…I can definitely guarantee that they are not alone in their journey with epilepsy! And I’m always happy to help.
How are you working on your own personal development?
Epilepsy has kept me home a lot longer than I initially planned, however, this change in plans has actually taught me to bloom where I’m planted. Instead of looking at things I haven’t yet accomplished, I’m learning to accomplish what I can right here, right now. Finishing my college degree is one of my primary goals. My health has prevented me from attending college for the past two years, but in Spring 2020 I will begin pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations through Boise State University’s amazing online program. In addition, I am currently studying the French language with the hope that I will eventually become fluent.
Learning how to sew has been a goal of mine for years now and I’m finally becoming more learned in this area. My mom and I are currently in the process of opening our own shop, Kate & Emma Designs, on Etsy to begin selling our sewing creations. It is in the beginning stages still, but we are slowly building our inventory. The opening is going to be very exciting and I love that I can now add sewing to my list of skills.
One hard lesson in business you have learned so far?
You can’t please everyone. As much as I would like to help everyone with the information I share on my blog, I have learned that this is impossible. There seems to be a pretty even mix of those who agree with holistic methods and those who are completely opposed.
When I first began to Seize the Day Blog in 2015, my primary was goal was to guide others toward a path of healing by preventing women from making the same mistakes I made when I was first diagnosed. Therefore, the key tactic here isn’t about reaching every single reader who visits my blog, it’s about providing helpful information for those who are actually willing to listen. Even if it is only one person, it is incredibly encouraging to know that something I shared is helping another person on their journey with epilepsy. And for those readers who currently disagree with my methods, the information will always be available if they happen to change their minds in the future.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN to me means embracing myself completely as I am today. It means acknowledging the good and the bad, but choosing to focus upon growing as a human being, not morphing into someone else. I don’t want to be anyone else because I am unique all on my own and each day is an opportunity to bloom where I am planted. It’s all about seizing this opportunity!
In which areas are you looking to grow and expand Seize The Day Blog throughout the rest of 2019?
The previous two years have been a bit challenging where my health is concerned so I haven’t been able to post as regularly as I would prefer. However, now that I am highly improved I plan to post a new article every week. It’s time to put some regularity back into the posting cycle so that my readers can depend upon Seize the Day Blog. I am also hoping to expand by marketing the blog on my website for my self-published book. I have made a strong connection between the two sites with the hope that there will be marketing advantages for both.
Buy The Book: www.kaitlindennis.com
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