Michelle Cader was working her way through college when she was diagnosed with epilepsy. For a time she wasn’t sure she would be able to do the things she had planned, but now she has everything she hoped she would and more – she just happens to do it all with epilepsy.

When Michelle was diagnosed at 20, she was scared and clueless. One minute she was sitting in class at Southeastern Louisiana University and the next she was on the floor. She didn’t know anything about epilepsy at the time but upon her diagnosis, began trying to learn all she could.

She did a lot of research, asked her very supportive neurologist many questions, and realized that her seizures did not have to keep her from living life. She tried a few medications before finding one that luckily controlled her seizures, but struggled with side effects that made it hard for her to be productive.

After three years she found a combination of medicines that were successful and set her focus back on school with the help of her family, and graduated with her degree in business.

Shortly after finishing school, Michelle met Evan and they married after two years. Another year later, Michelle was ecstatic to find out she was pregnant. She worked with her neurologist and her obstetrician, and had a healthy pregnancy.

However, due to exhaustion, Michelle started having break-through seizures shortly after giving birth. She was unable to drive for a year and had to make it a priority to get enough sleep. Thankfully, her husband and family really pitched in to make sure she was taking care of herself, too.

Now a family of five, Michelle has been seizure free for 6 years. Even so, when her girls were old enough, she explained epilepsy to them and what to do if she ever had a seizure. She had them memorize their address and taught them how to call daddy or 911. They’ve never had to put the plan into action, but she knows they could if  anything happened.

Though she tries not to think about it, she says, “it can be unnerving sometimes, thinking that something could change and the seizures could start again, which is why it is so important to make sure my children and others around me know what to do, just in case.” Michelle knows how prevalent epilepsy is and believes everyone should be prepared.

Michelle says her victory is not giving up when it when the going got tough, she says “it was not easy and I really wanted to give up trying to control it for a while…but if I can do it, there is hope for everyone!” For her, finishing school and becoming a mom after everything has been the best reward she could ask for.