Transforming stigma to acceptance: Meet @jakedduck1
Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.
JOHN: What brought you to Connect? What motivates you to take part in the community?
@jakedduck1: I’ve always known about Mayo Clinic, but a few years back I was going to have shoulder replacement surgery in New York City, and the doctor wanted me to go to Mayo for a neurological evaluation for seizures. Ultimately, the doctor felt I was high-risk and refused to operate. So, I never went to Mayo, but I saw Connect when looking up Mayo Clinic. Later, I was looking for something about epilepsy and noticed an epilepsy question. So I joined and gave my 2 cents worth of advice.
JOHN: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share, to be open with the community?
@jakedduck1: The acceptance by other members on Connect is very important and is what makes me feel most comfortable. In the ‘60s when I developed epilepsy, there were no support groups or forums available. I didn’t know anyone who had epilepsy. The stigma was bad then, and people didn’t talk so openly about it. When you see how open others are now about their illnesses and problems, I believe it makes everyone more at ease and feel better about sharing, knowing people want to help. I feel motivated to try and help if I can, and by me being open, I hope it helps others to see there is no shame or reason to be embarrassed. My main goal here is to help get rid of the stigma, shame, embarrassment, rejection and fears associated with epilepsy, but other illnesses, as well, and try to help people to be all that they can be.
JOHN: What groups do you participate in?
About Kids & Teens
Bones, Joints & Muscles
Brain & Nervous System
Depression & Anxiety
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)
Epilepsy & Seizures
JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?
@jakedduck1: The Epilepsy & Seizures group and all the members there — having had epilepsy for 52 years — I can relate to many of their problems.
@brightwings sent me a private message early on and welcomed me. @becsbuddy has been a rock to me in the Caregivers group. However, I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s contribution. I’m eternally grateful for everything everyone has said. You “kids” have truly kept me going.
I enjoy communicating with @lioness — we can tease each other — and @imallears, one of my cooking coaches. Although she has excellent suggestions, I’m afraid I’m a lost cause in the kitchen and as a domestic engineer. I like what Phyllis Diller said, “Housework won’t kill you, but why take the chance?”
I agree. Better safe than sorry, and I’m very safe!
JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@jakedduck1: The kindness and helpfulness of Connect director Colleen Young. I like that she is such an active participant, and the fact that she and the team are open to suggestions from members on ways that may improve Connect even more. I had a few rough spots; she helped guide me through. I thought she might kick me off Connect, but instead she supported me, giving welcome guidance.
JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@jakedduck1: Most important would be my faith. Also, I believe it’s necessary to give of yourself to family, friends and the community. I volunteered at the YMCA, at the county hospital in billing, did crime analysis at the police department, and worked in a homeless shelter and other places.
Although difficult at times, it makes me feel good caring for my mother and being able to give a little back, except when I have to go through the drudgery of cooking or being in the kitchen for whatever reason. I helped care for my Dad, who was paralyzed, until he passed away in 1987. My parents were awesome and gave up so much taking care of me. I donate platelets at the Red Cross every two weeks, and most of mine go to cancer patients.
JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
@jakedduck1: Travel in the U.S. I love Mt. Shasta. It’s my favorite mountain. I sit and admire it for hours. I want to visit the East Coast, starting in New England. I usually stay close to home, as California has so much to see and do, and the ocean, mountains and desert are relatively close. I’m not much of a gambler, but I enjoy Las Vegas, about seven hours away. I love zoos. Visiting the San Diego Zoo is on my to-do list.
JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@jakedduck1: There are so many, it’s impossible to choose, except for the first one:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“The only person we need to be better than is the person we were yesterday.”
“We need to make someone happy today, and we need to start with ourselves.”
JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@jakedduck1: Most of them are gone now, but unquestionably that they feed me, which comes in handy since I find my kitchen so abhorrent. They are honest, loyal, kind and overly generous. They always include me in their family functions. They come to my rescue whenever I need them.
JOHN: What food can you simply not resist?
@jakedduck1: Candy, although Reese’s is a favorite. I seldom have them anymore, since eating one full of almond moth larvae (check bottom before eating). See’s candies are my favorite, especially See’s Bordeaux™.