On June 1st, 2020, I was doing calculus homework when I went unconscious. I don’t remember anything about it in the moment; all I remember is coming to my senses in an ambulance on the way to the ER at Brigham & Women’s in Boston. They kept me all throughout the night and most of the next day, running an MRI, EEG, and CT scan while I was there. They discovered that I had a seizure that had fractured three vertebrae in my back, so I was due for a long summer of recovery. After 3 months of physical therapy, MRIs, and EEGs, I was diagnosed with focal epilepsy.
I’ve always been an active person. I’ve played baseball since I was 5, golfed competitively in high school, and picked up hockey when I started college in a local league. When I found out the diagnoses of my situation, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do the things I love ever again. Fortunately, my doctors were able to find a medication that worked for me, so a combination of their intelligence, grit, and a little bit of luck has kept me seizure free for almost a year now. My golf game has never been better, I’m battling for a spot in the bullpen on my club baseball team, and I feel more confident on the ice than ever, and I’m truly thankful to be able to keep doing these things.
Once I got diagnosed, I did some research on epilepsy non-profits that I could partner up with. CURE Epilepsy was the foundation that was the most dedicated to research by a long shot, so the decision for me was easy. After identifying CURE Epilepsy as the foundation I wanted to team up with, I launched a t-shirt fundraiser where we collectively raised over $2,000 for research.
I’m fortunate to be one of the lucky ones with epilepsy. I’ve heard stories of people who have multiple seizures a day, and that’s considered a good day for them. If I were in that position, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the activities I listed above, and I wouldn’t be very happy about that. It’s important to me to use my platform and abilities to both fight for those who aren’t able to, and raise awareness for the 1 in 26.
I also try to be an example that epilepsy doesn’t define who you are. It’s something that is very much a part of me, but you wouldn’t be able to tell I have it unless I told you. I think it’s important to be an example to people that it is possible to live a good and fulfilling life with epilepsy. Whether it’s medication, having a good circle of people around you, or an iron will, it is possible to manage.
I’m happy to continue to contribute to epilepsy research so we can eradicate it once and for all.