Only four months. That was the length of time that my husband and I had been married. I was so excited as I drove down the snowy road that December morning. I was cold but it didn’t matter. It would be my husband and I’s first Christmas celebration together. I wanted to pick out the perfect gifts for him, having sneaked out after he went off to work.
The light turned green and so I made a left turn. In the snap of a finger, my limbs fell limp. My vision began to fade. Somehow I managed to slide my foot onto the brake and lights out.
I would later come to find out that I had had a grand mal seizure and crashed into a tree – my second seizure since the age of 16. I was officially diagnosed with epilepsy.
My husband and I refused to allow the diagnosis to have control over my life or, in fact, our lives. We dove in and researched. We rearranged our lifestyles to live much healthier. This didn’t mean I wouldn’t have any more seizures, though I hoped to get there, but I wasn’t going to sit back and wave a white flag.
Then I felt called to advocate, to help everyone who has been affected by the same condition. Whether diagnosed, a parent, spouse, sibling, you name it. Advocate, educate, and help to seek out a cure. I had to take part in the mission.
My husband and I created an online community and organization, The Epilepsy Network (TEN), which is now in its 7th year and has the support of over 27,000. Since diagnosis, though it’s something I don’t particularly enjoy (who would?), I have found joy in helping others find joy in their circumstances. Find their passion. Their mission. You never know what gems can come from the rubble of a crummy circumstance.