Thursday, August 29, 2013

Member Highlight - Michele

I'm a SF Bay Area native, living with epilepsy all my life. I love being outdoors. Nature helps me connect with God & feel alive. I've been married for 19 years to my love, Michael. Together we've successfully raised our blended family of 3 kids (Hilary and Dan - my two from my first marriage, Sean - Michael's son from his first marriage).  

I live in Santa Clara, California, the heart of innovation, Silicon Valley. My outdoor passions are hiking, walking, yoga, spending time in nature. When I was younger, I ran through the woods once or twice a week. Michael and I rode our bikes through Italy and we did century rides for years. I spent many years as a runner, a triathlete and I love open water swimming. Unfortunately, it's not safe for me to swim alone because I nearly drowned several years ago after having a seizure in a swimming pool.

My most significant current challenge is recovering from VNS surgery. I've had VNS for 10 years, which stopped my daytime seizures 100%. I still have occasional nocturnal seizures, and lately I've had a few partial complex seizures when the VNS stopped working. The entire unit was replaced on August 8th.  

If I woke up tomorrow as an animal, I'd choose to be a dog, a black lab like my Lucy. Lucy loves to walk, play & sleep -- she loves unconditionally.

My motto is, Live each day as if it was your last - Epilepsy does not stop me from living a full live.

I joined Outdoor Mindset in the Summer of 2012, after completing my masters studies. I love the idea of connecting with others who live with neurological disorders and sharing our mutual love of being outdoors .

My expectations for Outdoor Mindset are to do a group hike in Yosemite, maybe climb Half Dome. I'm in the very early stages of training for a half marathon in LA in March 2014 through Athletes v. Epilepsy, a division of Epilepsy Foundation of America.

I'm most looking forward to meeting new like-minded friends through OM's Connect Program, and training for some local outdoor adventures next Summer. I would love to be part of a local Meet Up group.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Misty's Journey to Empowerment

Read about new OM member, Misty, and her experience on the recent Denver/Boulder Meetup: Hiking Mt. Sherman with Colorado Climbers for Epilepsy. Misty recently joined OM and lives in Castle Rock, CO.

I must say that I went out of my comfort zone on this past weekend. I saw the hike online and said to myself "I want to do this for my son." I sought out friends and family to hike this 14er with me.   

My son is 8 years old and has epilepsy. He was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. I struggle mentally trying to figure out answers for my emotions over this. I support him in anyway I can trying to empower him while doing little to empower myself. In one year Austin has (so far) run four 5k's and a kids triathlon. 

When I couldn't find anyone to go on this hike with me, I sought elsewhere, calling Tom Olsen and emailing you [Outdoor Mindset]. Both were very welcoming and I realized seeking elsewhere meant allowing myself to go out of my comfort zone. I struggled up and down but I realized giving myself permission to do this empowered me in ways I cannot explain.    

I had an amazing and emotional trip. Everyone I met made me feel very welcome. I spent the night in Breckenridge, CO that night having some time to think and reflect on my emotional day and our journey with epilepsy. I woke the next morning so happy to say, "when can I hike my next 14er?" I thank God for allowing myself to be empowered by such stressors and beauty of hiking a 14er. I also thank him for the wonderful people who helped encourage me mentally along the way.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meetup Groups...Dissected!

Have you ever wondered what OM Meetup Groups are and why they exist? Well, let me explain. OM's mission is to unite and empower people affected by neurological challenges through a passion for the outdoors. OM supports this mission through offering several programs, one of which is called Meetup Groups. Meetup Groups strengthen connections and empower you to to get outside with members in your local area. You may join awesome events/activities or suggest your own!

Who may join these Meetup Groups? Outdoor Mindset community members may join. Community membership is available for anyone that shares our passion for the outdoors and has been affected by a neurological challenge (including diagnosed individuals and their supporters). Register today: 

What are some examples of past Meetups? Stand up paddle boarding, hiking, snowshoeing, walking, races, film screenings, and much more!

How do I join Meetup Groups and RSVP to an event? Currently all our Meetup Groups are located on, but very soon these groups will be available right on our website.Keep reading to find out about upcoming Meetup Groups in your city!

What: Weekly Walk at Coot Lake
Where: On 63rd St. about 1/2 mile North of the Diagnonal, west of road, Boulder, CO
Why: Let's meet to walk around the lake, and then grab coffee if you have time. Coot lake is a flat, easy 1.2 mile dirt trail loop. Dogs are welcome! It's a beautiful trail with a great vibe! Hope to see you there!
When: Saturday, August 10, 2013 

What: Kayak on the Connecticut River
Where: Ledyard Canoe Club, West Wheelock and Tuck Drive, Hanover, NH
Why: Come out for an afternoon on the Connecticut river while the summer is still here. We will paddle South from Ledyard boatyard in Hanover, NH to a nearby island for a picnic break, and paddle back. The journey should take around 3 hours.
When: Saturday, August 10, 2013

What: Join Colorado Climbers for Epilepsy to hike a 14-er, Mt Sherman
Where: Iowa Gulch Trailhead, outside of downtown Leadville
Why: We are partnering with amazing father and son, John and Tom Olsen to raise awareness about epilepsy. Read more about their story here. This hike is one of the easier Colorado 14-ers. We will cover a 2,150 ft elevation gain over 4.5 miles roundtrip.
When: Saturday, August 24th, 8:00am

If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to start a Meetup Group in your city, please contact julie at