I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the start of my junior year in college. I was about to turn 21 and then found out I shouldn’t drink, drive, be stressed, and always be sure to get lots of sleep. Well that completely changed my routine. All the things a normal college kid should be doing I couldn’t do. I just began to feel sorry for myself. With all of the tests and medications that weren’t working, I felt like my life was spiraling out of control. It took me months to realize that this disease was not going to go away. What I needed was to be brave. I needed to push through the pain and live my life.
It has been a very long road. Three years later and I still can’t do all of the things I want to do. After lots of medications, horrible side effects, and VNS surgery I’m not seizure free. However, I have accomplished so much of what I wanted to do. I graduated college with the GPA I wanted. I’m volunteering, working, and taking classes to apply to graduate school next year.
I have learned that epilepsy does not define who I am. But it is a part of who I have become. It makes me unique. I’m not afraid to discuss my condition with anyone. My friends and acquaintances actually find it very interesting and want to learn more about my story and the stories of others.
Yes, I do cry every once in a while. I am frustrated with the fact that I have to rely on others so much. But when I think about everything these past three years, I know the challenges I have faced have made me stronger and wiser.
People with epilepsy know what pain, sadness, and fear can do to a person and their family. But they also know what hope means. Hope is the key to life. Hope means never giving up. Hope means forging ahead when you don’t see an end. And with hope comes joy.
I’m hopeful and happy to be where I am today. I pray for those who are not as fortunate as I am. And I pray for the day when this disease is just a passing memory.
Thank you to everyone. And be sure to love life. You only get one shot 🙂