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Posted by Lisa B. on October 25, 2000 at 12:44:46:

In Reply to: Notifying new employers of epilepsy condition posted by Dianna on October 25, 2000 at 11:35:23:

: Hi, just stumbled on this board for the first time when doing a yahoo search for info regarding juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy last November when I had my first grand mal seizure (at 32) at work. My employer at the time was great and let me change my work schedule since the most important thing with JME is to get plenty of sleep and wake up slow since most seizures occur in the morning after waking. Since then, I have moved about 50 miles away and changed jobs 3 times. I am on 300 mg of Dilantin a day and have it very well under control, with the exception of about 4 times during the year that I have had the myoclonic "jerks." Because of this, I never thought it relevant to reveal the JME to my employers until now. The Dilantin does not allow me to wake up in a hurry, instead it's a very slow process of waking up, and in this job, I am expected to be here early, never late (not even by 5 minutes) and to work on some Saturdays. I haven't said anything about my cocondition because I didn't want it to seem like I was whining/being a princess or trying to make excuses for being late, but it is taking its toll on me. I understand that it is illegal to fire someone because of a medical condition so my question is this; should I reveal my medical condition to my employer, and if so, how? In writing or just an informal conversation? I would like to hear from anyone who has been through this because I am really kinda clueless and am at my wit's end!!! Thanks!!

: Dianna
: Irving, Texas

Dianna,
I definately would tell your supervisor. Try requesting a meeting first. Explain the situation and tell them you can get information from your doctor if necessary. Give them suggestions on what might help you. I would point out that so far this has not hurt your work but it is starting to effect you and, therefore, could start interferring with your performance at work. I don't have epilepsy-my son does-however, I suffer from migraines. My former employer at first was very understanding but turned into a jerk about it later (that's one of the reasons he's a "former" employer). Anyway, I hope this helps.

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