‘Nothing can hold me back’ – Woman who had seizure in the bath strives for pageant crown
- Credit: NATASHA STREATFIELD
A Stowmarket woman has rediscovered her confidence through the world of beauty pageants, after years of being housebound and “feeling like a zombie” due to living with epilepsy.
Natasha Streatfield has been named as Mrs Suffolk, which will see her represent the county at the national finals of the Miss Galaxy Pageant on Friday, March 13.
This is a huge achievement for the 34-year-old, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 17 and has relied on daily medication to control her condition ever since.
The born performer, who used to sing and dance before her diagnosis, says the new challenge has given her a "confidence boost" and something to strive towards.
"It's nerve-wracking," said the nursing home administrator. "But I've really missed being on stage and I've been seizure free for 10 years now, so I thought why not go for it."
Natasha was diagnosed with the condition after suddenly having a seizure whilst climbing a ladder at work in her local toy shop.
"It was traumatizing," said Natasha. "Being diagnosed was a big shock and a lot for my whole family to take in, as none of us knew anything about the condition."
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Natasha felt left behind following her diagnosis, as all her friends were enjoying themselves drinking and partying while she felt "housebound".
"I felt like a zombie," she said. "I was struggling to get the correct medication and always felt tired or grumpy."
In her early 20s, Natasha was taken off the medication as her doctors thought she had "grown out" of the condition.
Two days later she had a near-death experience after having a seizure in the bath, but luckily her mum was at home and she called an ambulance.
Ever since the incident, Natasha says she has been reliant on the medication, but it has given her the ability to lead a normal life, hold down a full-time job, pass her driving test, travel around Europe and get married.
She said: "Despite having a few rough years, nothing is holding me back now. It's all about working with my body to keep my condition under control, as I have learnt what my boundaries are.
"I'm now 10 years seizure free and I would love to start a family, but that opens up a lot of questions and worries that I don't think I am ready for just yet. But I like to prove everyone wrong."
Natasha decided to sign up for the pageant as she wanted to do something for herself, and ever-since she found out she had been chosen as a finalist it has given her a huge confidence boost.
She explained it's difficult being in your mid-30s as "you feel like you shouldn't do certain things because of your age", but being selected has just made her more excited.
"When I have been told I'm a freak because I have epilepsy, or you can't do something because of it, I say no, it's finding the balance and knowing my limits."