There are six members in this Finnish-Swedish family living in a west-coast town called Kokkola. The father, Jörn Sundström (41) is estate agent and the mother, Eva Sundström (40) is an accountant (formerly a nurse).
They fell in love as teenagers. Today there are four lovely children aged one, eight, 12 and 15 years.
Jörn has had epilepsy since he was a young child, but with anti-epileptic medication his disease is now well controlled. His last seizure was eight years ago. When Jörn was younger his seizures were more frequent, around once each year. During a seizure he falls to the ground and loses consciousness, but the seizures stop within a few minutes. The cause of his epilepsy was not found.
The children are aware that their father has epilepsy, but Eva says that in practice they do not know what it is like to have a seizure. They were so young during the last seizure.
The most challenging issue has been the mental affect of a seizure and how Jörn is feeling after he has had a seizure. He is depressed and disappointed, especially when the doctors have been talking about stopping his medication. But he must go on, life must go on, after these disappointments.
The other challenge has been his driving licence. Once he has a seizure his licence must be suspended until he reaches a legal seizure-free threshold once more. This is a headache, since he is an estate agent by profession. At one point, his wife Eva stepped in as his driver, but his boss has been very understanding. The driving issue has been also the tough one to tell other people. In general it is difficult to tell about the invisible disease, says Jörn.
The Nordic scene in the photo, which was taken close to Kokkola while the family was ice-skating on the lake that lies outside their summer cottage, shows that life can be cold and hard in this northern climate. However Jörn’s smile tells that, even if it is cold, there is joy in life.
The sky is the limit if you have the correct attitude to epilepsy.