What it’s like growing up with an epileptic brother.


I grew up, and I’m currently living with a brother that is suffering from Epilepsy amongst other untreatable diseases and conditions. It is scary seeing your younger brother go from being perfectly fine to a full-blown seizure in a matter of seconds and I’m writing this article for those in a similar situation as I was in. Feeling powerless when you see your family member going blue on the kitchen floor and sometimes passing out.

Epilepsy is the tendency to get a lot of seizures. There are lots of different kinds of seizures; Tonic-clonic, Absence seizures, Myoclonic Jerks, Temporal lobe seizures, … or a combination of some of those at the same time.
That is what my brother is suffering from, a combination of Absence with the typical and well-known Tonic-clonic seizures.


The Beginning

The earliest memory I have of an attack he got, dates back to when I was around 7 or 8, so he was 5 or 6 years old. He was lying in my grandmother’s arms, laughing together with her to a song I can’t remember.
It looked like he slammed his head against a pillow all of a sudden, but in a way that looked totally unnatural. He started shaking all over his body soon after. I particularly remember the look on my grandmother’s face and my parent’s car driving off with my mom and brother in the backseat. I thought he was dying. I had never seen an epileptic seizure and my parents hadn’t either.
While I’m writing this, I feel the anxiety creeping up again, my hands are getting sweaty. It’s a memory I will never be able to forget.

After this one instance, he had a couple of sporadic epilepsy attacks but the doctors got control over it pretty quick through medication. I don’t recall any other seizures until about 2 years ago when he was 15 years old.
The time puberty screws around with all boys and girls and the body of a child turns to that of an adult in the span of a couple of years. He suffers from a lot of different diseases and disorders, mainly sprouting from a metabolic disease he’s got. The theory is that his puberty period moved so fast and violently, that his medication doses were too low and could no longer control the seizures.


The Second time

After another unexpected attack, they were now happening on a weekly basis. He would have an attack on Friday, for example, and by the next Monday, he would start having absences. That’s when a person is totally fine and mid-sentence he stops what he’s doing and stares blankly. He wouldn’t fall over, but he would just stand there, staring straight ahead. When we said his name or gave him a hug, he would look at you like I think a person with heavy dementia or a heavy drugged person would. Empty eyes, looking through you. Totally gone from this earth, not knowing where or what anything is. Until he wakes up, like a snap of a finger just like a hypnotist would do on stage, he’s back to normal.

These Absence seizures would start to occur daily. First a small one, not longer than 5 seconds. But gradually increasing in length and strength. Until he would be in this trance for over 5 minutes, then we’d know he’d have a seizure any second.
Typically, we’d bring him to the sofa or a bed to make sure he’s as comfortable as possible and just wait while holding him so he doesn’t hurt himself.


We would look at him and you could see his eyes slowly rolling back, he opens his mouth a little and the pure fear on his face as he would enter a seizure. I have seen some scary moments in my life, but nothing compared to what he must feel when having a seizure. He can’t scream when he’s having one but the constant gasping for air and the panic in his eyes, pupil as wide as possible and black as the night. His lips slowly turning blue, as well as his whole face because he’s not able to breathe in or out.
He transfers from absence seizure, into the ‘traditional’ Tonic-clonic one.
I think the doctors asked us to time the duration of his seizures once, but I can’t remember what the results were. They seemed to last minutes sometimes and there were instances where they would last for so long, that we’d call an ambulance to make sure he’d make it through.
Again, this all looks very alarming, but the brain is very good at self-defense. It will not let the patient stay stiff long enough to do him any harm.
Then again, as my brother suffers from multiple brain-related diseases, this always extra scary for me and my family.


The doctors told us we should gradually increase the dose of the medicine that should prevent these attacks, which we did. It took over a year for him to stop having seizures after my parents took it upon themselves to increase his dose by a bigger amount, almost doubling it.
Since then, he was seizure free until a couple of days ago when he had a violent one after he went on holiday with an organization he went with multiple times. Did one of his pills get forgotten? We’ll never know, but it’s likely.


He is fine now. Fine meaning temporarily free from epileptic seizures as he’s still struggling with other nasty beasties that are hard to battle.


So what is my advice for people in a similar situation?

If you are an adolescent, teenager or anyone really and you have a relative struggling with epilepsy the hard, cold truth is that you can’t do all that much. Of course, you should consult doctors and make sure the right medication is taken.
Besides this, just be there for your relative. In my case, my brother doesn’t have a normal, independent life and can’t communicate as a ‘healthy’ person would. That makes it extra difficult to understand what he feels, wants or doesn’t want. But when the patient is living an otherwise normal life, epilepsy isn’t a deal breaker. Be careful with swimming and heavy exercise and don’t put your relative in a safe, controlling little box when they’re younger. They have a life that is meant to be lived! Make sure the school and their friends are informed on what they have to do if a seizure would occur.


Epilepsy is definitely a hurdle and it can completely change your life but it isn’t life-threatening in most cases. When you have the right medication to keep it under control and a strong group of family and friends to help you through possible hard times, you shouldn’t worry too much.



World Child Cancer Day, Inform Yourself!

As childhood cancer numbers rise, so does the call for concerted global action. Cancer cases in children have risen from 165,000 to 215,000 new cases for children 14 years of age and under, and 85,000 for children above the age of 14, according to a 2015 study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). On a global scale, childhood and adolescent cancer has nearly surpassed infectious diseases as one of the leading causes of childhood mortality (related to disease). There is a large disparity of children that suffer from cancer based on the wealth of the country they are from. For instance, 80% of registered children that live with cancer are from low and middle-income countries such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America, areas that do not have the specialized care and essential medications needed to treat such ailments.

February 15th is the day for everyone to come together to shine a light on this horrific disease. Today is the day that the Childhood Cancer International (CCI) containing 188 member organizations in 96 countries, and 1000 healthcare professionals from 110 countries who are members of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP), ask everyone to come together and help solve this problem. I am not sure how to solve such a challenge directly at a molecular or cellular level, but I can aid in providing knowledge, informing people, and spreading the word.

So what are the top cancers plaguing our children and what do they do?

#1 Leukemia

Leukemia accounts for approximately 30 percent of all cancers occurring in children. Leukemia occurs in the blood and bone marrow. There are 4 types of Leukemia, the most prevalent in children are:

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

Children suffering from this disease will have symptoms of weakness, fatigue, bone and joint pain, pale skin, bleeding and bruising, weight loss, fever, and the list can go on. This is no way to be a kid, am I right? Leukemia is quite aggressive and the best course of action to date is chemotherapy as soon as possible. If you have a higher-risk leukemia the treatment will combine chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant.

Whats the purpose of this?

With high risk Leukemia’s it is pertinent to be incredibly aggressive. Chemotherapy uses harsh chemical substances to irradiate the cancer, but unfortunately the drugs are not as targeted as we might like them to be so they kill healthy and unhealthy cells. Because children are so small, they are are at a higher risk to develop the side effects of harsh chemotherapies such as catching life threatening infections, bleeding, low blood cell counts or related problems. Chemotherapy literally destroys the bone marrow, the stem cell transplant introduces blood forming stem cells into the body so they can differentiate into the various blood cells that are destroyed during high-dose chemotherapy, allowing the patient to withstand the treatment and giving them a better shot at a future. YAY SCIENCE!

#2 Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

This is the second highest occurring form of cancer in children coming in at 26 percent. Because there is a wide spectrum of brain tumor types, the treatment can vary. Most cancers of this variety that occur in children begin in the cerebellum or brain stem (lower parts of the brain). This can stimulate headaches, vomiting, nausea, double or blurred vision, dizziness, trouble walking and using other motor functions, as well as seizures. Spinal cord tumors are less common, but do occur.

If you suffer from this cancer, you will have a team of doctors that will strategize the best way to approach your cancer. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or the use of other drugs as treatments.

What do these treatments entail?

Surgery: Removal of as much of the tumor as possible.
Radiation Therapy: Uses small particles of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Uses anti-cancer drugs introduced via IV or taken by mouth.
Targeted Therapy: These drugs target the properties in cancer cells that cause the cancer cells or aid in their proliferation. Note: This treatment is used minimally.
Alternative drugs: These drugs may not help in the cancers demise, but they may assuage the symptoms that they cause. These include: corticosteroids (reduce swelling, relieve nausea, vomiting, and headaches), anti-seizure drugs, hormones (helps n cases that the pituitary gland is affected by the cancer).

#3 Neuroblastoma

This cancer begins in the nerve tissue and accounts for 6 percent of childhood cancers. It starts in the nerve cells in a developing embryo or fetus and is rarely found in children over the age of 10. This cancer has no preference on residence, but most often than not starts in the abdomen where it is commonly noticed as swelling.

If a child comes down with a neuroblastoma, they can expect a team of modern day superhero’s to rush to their treatment. Treatment can include, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, a combination of high-dose chemotherapy/radiation therapy and stem cell transplant, retinoid therapy, and immunotherapy.

What are these treatments?

Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and high-dose chemotherapy have been discussed thus far, refer to the treatments for #1 and #2 for a refresher.

Retinoid Therapy: This is recommended after high-dose chemotherapy and stem-cell transplant. Retinoids are related to vitamin A and are referred to as differentiating agents. It is thought that retinoids help cancer cells differentiate into normal cells.
Immunotherapy: Is a group of drugs designed to coax your own immune system into recognizing and attacking the cancer. One type, referred to as monoclonal antibodies, are paired with “immune system hormones,” called cytokines and together they help a child’s immune system to recognize and destroy neuroblastoma cells.

Pretty cool right?

The treatment for these cancers are involved, they require a team of diverse specialists, with state of the art equipment, medication, and facilities, something second and third world nations are not quite capable of providing just yet. There is a dire need for help and the first step is educating people about the issue. February 15th is the International Childhood Cancer Day, do your part to help irradiate this affliction, spread the word, knowledge is power!

#togetherforkidscancer #togethercreatingbetterfutures #ICCD #internationalChildhoodCancerDay #childhoodcancer #WHO


This article was written by Michelle Scire. Michelle Scire works as an analytical Chemist and Free-lance writer. You can visit her website at AlloKSci.com or catch her on social media:

Instagram @Silli_Scientist
Twitter: @Silli_Scientist
Linkedin: Michelle Denise Scire
Website: AlloKSci.com


People change. This is 1 fact we are certain of. When people change, their interests, values and ideas change with them. They reinvent and reformulate their values and goals. And this affects the recruitment market.


The first challenge we see is that people, who are looking for a job, have more power. And they are well aware. The ones, that have a new employer a lot to offer, have high salary expectations right from the start.
Skilled people looking for a job are like single women. They want to be ‘hunted’. They want a guy to put in an effort for them. For job searchers, it’s the same idea. They often have several interested parties, that want to hire them. So, they play them out against each other. And the highest bidder wins.


On the other hand, we lack really skilled people. Although technically skilled people. Introducing the second trend. These days it’s harder to find the right match. Just like people, technology evolves and right now… The business is BOOMING more than ever.
Companies need to focus internally. They need to start educating and investing in their own staff instead of firing them when they become unqualified. Because firing costs money and then they need to find a new employee, where they have to invest in any way. So why go through the trouble of finding a new employee while you can invest in a talent of your own.


Third challenge: be attractive! People are spoiled. People expect more from everything. Their coffees need to be the bigger the better, accompanied by a (preferably) a homemade piece of cake. When they go to the supermarket, they expect there to be tasters. Your challenge as a recruiter is to surprise them with something. If you don’t, they won’t be interested in you or the company that you are representing.


Challenge 4: be visible! People need to know you are hiring. The traditional hiring process is dying. If you want to be noticed, make sure you are visible to your audience at least once a day. What does your audience check every day? SOCIAL MEDIA. This is quite new to everybody but crucial. The challenge is to shift your focus to social media channels and to get noticed in the billions of posts.


And last, but not least. The fifth challenge: the job title ‘Recruiter’ is changing. A recruiter this day also has to be a marketer and a product manager. It is your job to make a vacancy attractive and to make it personal.


So, let’s sum up the challenges one last time. The traditional recruiting system is dying. Shift your focus and bring your A game! Be different by surprising your audience and keep it personal.

New developments in the Recruitment Industry for 2018

2017 Was a good year in Recruitment. We saw that organizations who focus on candidate experience, improve their quality hires with 70%. But what are the trends for this year? We speculate the following:


  1. Video Assessment.
    Video assessment interviews from home will become more mainstream and are on the rise ever since early 2017. It’s more cost-effective and you get a better sense of the candidate when you see him/her on video, live answering your questions. It can help judge soft-skills and it the candidate will fit into the culture of your company.
  2. AI & Machine Learning.
    New and improved tools and software will further develop in 2018, and make life easier for recruiters worldwide. Algorithmic tools can help passive and active candidates to further advance their career path and it can help recruiters to source the right people in a more productive way. We at BrightOwl, feel this is the right move for many, and have developed such tool.
  3. Hiring Decisions Will Remain Humanized.
    Although new tool can help recruiters, they will not replace them. Modern programs can definitely help to create an image of the candidate, it still lacks that human touch that is so hard to describe. That being said, these tools are mandatory for the 21-century recruiter.
  4. Physical Health Encouragement shifts too Mental Health.
    Fitness and physical health institutes were promoted all around, also in the office space. While that probably won’t go away anytime soon, more companies will start to actively promote their policies about mental health, spirituality and mindfulness. This trend will certainly not only rise in the office setting. But in order to create the best possible environment for their employees, companies will have to go along with what they demand to a certain degree.
  5. Remote working possibilities.
    Remote working will continue to rise in 2018 and many years thereafter. Part of this has to do with recruiting possibilities and tools that make it easier for both parties involved to have a faster and simply better way of discovering each other and creating that first contact. Another reason for remote working possibilities is the fact that some companies prefer to work with independent companies or freelancers for smaller, temporary projects. Lastly, employees appreciate the possibilities to work 1 or 2 days a week from home so they don’t have to travel to the office, saving time in the process.

Top Recruitment Trends 2018

As the year 2017 draws to an end, let’s wind up the achievements and failures of this year and look forward to what 2018 holds for the recruitment industry. With the beginning of every year, come new hopes and predictions.  Regardless of the industry every individual associate thrill and excitement as December approaches to an end.  How will this New Year affect recruitment trends? What factor will be the main priorities in recruitment industry? What new techniques will be introduced to enhance candidate’s experience? How the new trends influence talent acquisition? Let’s take a sneak peak.

AI will Rule the Industry

The recruitment industry has already realized the importance of Artificial Intelligence and how the utilization can ease the work. 2018 will bring a drastic shift from general to the specialized application based on AI. The specific application for screening, sourcing, and filtering will be introduced.  AI will dominate the industry by integrating into recruiting software widely.

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