Hope has always kept me strong and has helped me move forward in my life. Without hope one would not be able to face everyday challenges. The challenges that I was faced with have benefited me in ways that not only have an impact on me, but also benefit others. The first thing I remember was the cold concrete school floor. Everything around me was spinning and I had no idea where I was. My body felt numb. I glanced to my right where I saw the dark shoes of a paramedic. “Everything is going to be okay but we need to take you to the hospital,” he said. Still confused I asked, “What happened? ” “You just had a seizure. I had no idea what he was talking about.
All I knew was that I was painting and the next thing I know I am waking up on the floor. I was placed on a gurney and wheeled outside where I felt the chills approach again. It was January, school was just about to end for the day so busses were lined up outside my high school. I was then wheeled up into an ambulance. I had never been in an ambulance before, but it felt cold. I trembled, and the paramedics could sense my discomfort. “Don’t worry, your dad is going to meet us there. ” At the hospital I had two more seizures. I was then transported to Children’s Hospital where I stayed the night.
I was so drugged up on medicine that I had no problem falling asleep. The next day I was given an EEG and an MRI to test my brain waves. Everything looked fine. My neurologist said, “We are going to classify the three seizures you just had as one seizure because sometimes people will just have one seizure and then they will never have another seizure for the rest of their life. Since you had three seizures around the same time frame we won’t diagnose you with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disorder when one has more than one seizure. If you are diagnosed with epilepsy we will have to put you on a seizure medication. “I don’t want to be put on medication,” I stated firmly.
February 4, 2015, three weeks later; I woke up with a killer headache. I called my dad and he came home. He told me to lay on the couch. After a little while I felt a seizure coming on. I heard a loud siren that wouldn’t stop; I could feel myself losing consciousness. We then went to the Children’s Hospital ER and waited. Eventually I was sent to a room where they ran more tests on me. The last time I was in the hospital I couldn’t remember anything that had happened because of all the drugs they put me on, so this time I tried to remember.
I hated the hospital. I just wanted to be in my own room away from all the doctors and nurses. I didn’t like people worrying about me. I just wanted to go home. The beds were too short for me because they were made for children, and all I wanted to do was sleep because they drugged me up on so many medications. “Because this is your second time having a seizure we are diagnosing you with epilepsy. We are putting you on Topamax which is a seizure medication that should hopefully prevent future seizures. Epilepsy is so unknown that it may or may not work but hopefully we will find the right medication for you.
The Topamax was definitely not the right medication for me. While it did cure my seizures it gave me the worst headaches. These headaches prevented me from going to school for a week. Another problem was the medication took away my appetite. I was once an athlete who was always starving and could never get down enough food, but now I was losing weight and the smell of food disgusted me. The biggest problem with the mediation though was that it gave me short-term memory loss. People would give me instructions or talk to me and a few seconds later I would forget everything.
I forgot my usual habits and schedule like my morning routine. I was very lonesome during this time. I never left the house and I missed a lot of school, thus I never really saw my friends. My head was always hurting and I worried I would never feel the same as I used to. I wondered if life would ever go back to the way it was before all of this happened to me. When I tried to catch up on homework assignments and do work, I could never remember how to do anything. Learning material was difficult when I would forget all of it later. I did eventually make it back to school.
School was extremely difficult and made me very stressed. I was so behind in everything and I couldn’t remember previous lessons. Luckily my teachers were very accommodating and I ended up making up over eight tests I missed and also missing assignments. I eventually got put on medication that kept me seizure free with minimal side effects. Throughout this time I had to rely on the hope that life would get better. I was able to overcome and move past my epilepsy so that it did not define me. Although I am still faced with the challenges epilepsy brings, it has made me stronger.
I have taught others on what to do when someone is having a seizure, and I am also in a study at Washington University to help improve medication and maybe one day find a cure. I participated in a walk two summers ago and raised over a thousand dollars to be put towards research on neurology. Even if being diagnosed with epilepsy hasn’t necessarily benefited me directly, I know that I am helping others because of what happened to me. Everything happens for a reason and hope can be found in even the hardest of times.