Barbara J. Mack, Brainerd, sometimes wonders where life may have taken her if she hadn’t had a car accident as a teen. 

For most of her life, she and her doctors have wondered which came first, the car accident or the seizure. No one will ever know, despite countless medical tests and appointments throughout Mack’s life.

Mack decided to tell the story in her recently released book, “The Hand I’ve Been Dealt.” Mack’s goal is to try to raise awareness about epilepsy. “People talk about cancer and diabetes, but they never talk about epilepsy,” stated Mack. “People used to think of someone with epilepsy as a freak and feel scared of that person. I’m glad things are different today, but raising awareness is important to me.”

Epilepsy is a neurological disease, but there are many untrue thoughts about epilepsy and seizures. This includes the myth that epilepsy is a mental illness; the need to restrain a person having a seizure and the risk of swallowing a tongue during a seizure. All of these are untrue.

Mack has felt supported by her family and friends throughout her medical journey, but there are many who feel ashamed or embarrassed about their diagnosis. She had hoped many times to join a support group, but has never found one close enough to attend. She is currently working with The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota to form a local support group. “Being able to talk to each other and support each other is important. No one should feel alone or embarrassed about epilepsy,” Mack said.

Mack is also working with the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota with the hope of a fundraiser epilepsy walk. “It is something we are working on and hope we can do this spring.”

Mack will be presenting, talking about her book and doing a reading on Tuesday, March 7 from 6-7 p.m. at the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library in Crosby. This free event is open to the public.

Mack’s book can be purchased locally at The Jacques Center in Aitkin, CatTales and The Crossing Arts in Downtown Brainerd, and at any of her scheduled events.