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Donna <3 - Surviving & Thriving with Epilepsy

Life is full of challenges and without them it'd be boring and we'd all be a bunch of weaklings without empathy. 

My life started the bumpy road at 3. Keikis get ear infections often and have high fevers but you see, I'm not the ordinary kid, my common sickness came with a seizure. Well....that's fairly common too to have a febrile seizure but more than one? 

1 in 26 will experience Epilepsy. It happens mostly to the very young and to those over 65. But, it can happen anytime to anyone. Epilepsy is defined by having more than one unprovoked seizure. Greater than Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis , and Parkinson's combined, Epilepsy ranks 3rd in the Neurology dept behind Alzheimer's and Stroke. Sometimes there is a defining cause, other times it's a mystery. Sometimes people get relief from it while others learn to manage it and live with it. Never stick something in a persons mouth while having a seizure...it's physically impossible to swallow your tongue and you might lose a finger or damage the persons teeth! 

At the age of 3 I was diagnosed with epilepsy and it was easily controlled by meds and it became a hurdle we jumped much like potty training....agony that feels like forever but is actually fairly short. 

At age 11 I was daydreaming. Well, not until I found myself in the health room. The seizures reappeared in the harshest time of life while I was finding my identity and couldn't be labeled "different"! As a physically fit and active child I enjoyed all sports despite the small seizures I had as it was not like the Grand Mal or tonic colonic seizure you all think of because you've seen it on tv! Petit Mal or Partial complex seizures are very subtle.. If you didn't know and if I didn't tell you I could fudge through the incidents. Until the day I wanted to drive! There were days of not feeling complete, of wondering 'why me?', and bitterness for being weird. Finally gaining full control through meds, I was granted my license to drive.....freedom!! 

Years passed, life was going well, and the doctors felt I beat my epilepsy!! To protect me and my liver from long term effects, we weaned off my meds and went to a safer one. It was then that the seizures returned AGAIN as an Adult!!! Like a senior citizen driving and having near mishaps, I lived in denial to the return of those 20 second, once a month zone outs. Crazy huh? I agree! But like a cat with nine lives and pride bigger than you could imagine now that I was a Manager and well respected, how could this be happening?!?! This world doesn't teach us to become dependent! Losing independence sucks no matter what age!! Realizing the dangers, I fessed up and stopped driving. My life felt so lonely even as I was surrounded by family and friends who cared deeply. I chose to magnify my sadness and found myself drowning in my tears of pity....Why me God? I thought you loved me? It was another tough time in life, though able to work and play as I was still physically fit I was still unhappy in those moments I spent alone. Wishing I could at least dictate those awkward moments. 

Five years passed, a turn of events suddenly came about with a child, a new job, and an opportunity given to only a few. I became a brain surgery candidate. Not bravery but sheer will to live life beyond the cage of my disorder I processed the thoughts of 'have I lived an honest life if I die today'. Standing at the door of death I could live like this or.....oh the possibilities! I could work, it might not help me at all.... I took the plunge. 

 

That was 14 yrs ago. A blur of sad memories as I live without those queer moments now inspiring others to push forward and keep hope. We might all be cured, we might have to learn and manage our faults, but must press on with whatever ails you. As we look out the window as it rains we can say "darn it I just washed my car and it's ugly" or we can say, "water is what allows us to live and grow". You can swim in your pool of tears or sail the world. Chose the brighter outlook and you'll find a happier you. You are loved, you are awesome, and are wealthier in life than you think. Redirect your magnifying glass off your stubbed toe and thank God for what little you feel you have. Once you start counting your blessings, you'll agree with me....life is worth living!!! I might add, having a supportive spouse or BFF helps too!! Live it up my friends!!

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