Former reporter moves forward despite epilepsy, brain tumor

Sarah Carlson was a rising star news anchor and reporter, but her career was sidetracked due to seizures.
May 6, 2014 1:59:31 PM PDT
Oak Park native Sarah Carlson was a rising star news anchor and reporter, but her career was sidetracked due to epilepsy and a brain tumor.

Now, the single mother of two is working in media relations for a PR firm. Prior to that, she spent 15 years working in Madison, Wisconsin as a news anchor and health reporter for ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates.

The seizures have forced her to make significant life changes, but she continues to move forward with positive outlooks on life.

Carlson's life started to change in 2008.

"I started having strange feelings. I had two kids so I didn't sleep much. I was stressed out, and in between news segments a commercial would come, and I would run into the restroom and feel out of breath and sick to my stomach. So doctors started testing me for everything. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. . . It took several months. It was about November before they diagnosed me with epilepsy," said Carlson.

At that time, Carlson was unaware that she was suffering from a brain tumor in addition to epilepsy.

"They didn't find the tumor for, gosh, almost two years," she said.

She decided to leave the news business after the finding.

"I always wanted more in the field, but I never knew how to go for more when I had this disability in addition to being a single mom," Carlson said.

She says her love for running keeps her moving forward.

"I was a runner before the epilepsy. Running was always mental and emotional therapy of sorts. I think that's the case for a lot of people," she said.

Carlson plans to run in the Chicago Marathon this year and says she doubts she would be able to go back on air unless certain criteria were met.

"I would only be able to go back on air if i knew it could be as flexible as I needed it to be. I love what I do and I know that I know media and PR very well. I would never rule anything out. Maybe that's a good answer," Carlson said.


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