Not many people know, but when I was little, I struggled with epilepsy. This was one of the key moments that changed my life and my perspective.
Here’s a snapshot of the story:
When I was around 10 years old, I had a massive seizure. Prior to that, I had mild seizure, which started around 7 years old. I would be fully conscious and aware, but my neck would become so tight and my jaw would start to quiver uncontrollably. I began to foam around the mouth and saliva would be everywhere. I was so scared and felt like I had no control and I had no idea when they would happen.
One day, I remember having to leave class and sit out in the hall until it would pass. When it was over, I’d wipe my face off from the tears, spit, and go on with my day.
One night, it wasn’t too late, but I had laid down in my parents bed and dozed off, which was completely odd for me to do (when I look back on it, that was God protecting me). That night, I had a massive seizure. Next thing I knew, my mom was holding me and she had her thumb in my mouth so I wouldn’t swallow my tongue. As I was coming out of it, I remember seeing my sisters crying while the medics worked on me. I was so confused as to what was going on.
Later, I found out Tess called the paramedics and kept our other sisters calm, while my mom was with me, and my dad was heading home.
Anyways, that whole ordeal caused me to have a “buddy” everywhere I went, just in case I had an other seizure. At school, kids would questioned why I needed a buddy. I didn’t want people knowing what I was struggling with, so I tried to keep it a secret. But I couldn’t be alone, I had a buddy in the hallway, the bathroom, the playground, everywhere. It got annoying for me and I felt like I was losing a part of my independence. I just wanted to be like other kids. When people would ask me about episodes of it, I wasn’t sure how to explain it. My body became numb and a whole tingling sensation came over me. I wasn’t sure how to explain uncontrollable movements. I wasn’t sure how to explain what a seizure felt like.
I spent months and months undergoing tests, scans, and exams. Then finally, I got a diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Rolandic Epilepsy (the mild one) after having a Tonic-Clonic Seizure, which was the one massive seizure I had. Doctors told me, I’d grow out of them as I got older. At 21, I don’t have any signs of epilepsy. I did indeed, grow out of them. Wahoo!
Epilepsy is very scary and devastating to go through. Everyone is on edge because you never know when one will happen. At one point, I felt robbed of my independence and felt like I had no control over my body.
How do I not remember seizing? Why were these seizures happening? Is there something wrong with my brain?
As a kid, so many questions raced through my mind. Epilepsy, become something I was embarrassed to talk about, I was ashamed of it. I didn’t want to be looked at differently or have others feel bad for me.
Today, I hardly ever think about the epilepsy I once struggled with. That season in life, was definitely one that shaped who I am today. I always craved to be independent because I never knew when I was going to lose it. In a way, I was living in fear. Something so many of us struggle with. Fear paralyzes us and allows us to believe things that may not be true. Fear wants us to believe those lies.
Anyways, I know a few of you have dealt with epilepsy, I just hope you know, I get it.
Life is fragile, but no matter what comes your way… there is always hope.