I had seizures from the time I was born, but the first seizure my parents knew about happened in October 2002 when I was three years old. It was the middle of the night, and my mom thought she heard me throwing up. Instead, I was having a grand mal seizure. My dad held me while my mom called 911. In the next few weeks, I had an EEG and an MRI, which revealed that the right side of my brain was malformed and I had epilepsy. Although my parents were devastated by the news, they instantly took charge and began to research epilepsy.
Unknown to us at the time, that night changed all our lives, not just mine.
My dad always dreamed of working from home. Since he was a computer programmer, it was a possibility, but no one else was doing it then. With my diagnosis, he convinced the company owner to let him work from home. Then he could be there to help when I had seizures and take me to physical therapy appointments to reduce paralysis after the brain surgery. Since our family homeschooled, having him home brought us even closer as a family.
As my parents learned more about my condition and the brain surgery, they also learned about traumatic brain injuries and resulting brain disorders in general. In fact, my dad later started his own company devoted to this effort. As a result, he’s been able to work with researchers on brain injuries to help those who can’t speak for themselves. My dad has a heart for helping people, and his work now helps patients suffering from those conditions.
One of my dad’s friends told us about Camp ASCCA a few years ago, and I went the first time in 2018. My experiences at Camp ASCCA have been among the best in my life, and I am so glad I get to go every summer. That first week I made several new friends who were deaf, which led me to learn sign language so I could communicate with them the next summer. In fact, I joined the deaf ministry at church as soon as I got home from Camp. There are a lot of people who are deaf, and I think sign language should be everyone’s second language.
Most people think epilepsy is just a pest that never goes away, but I am happy I had epilepsy because so many good things have come from it. It led to my dad working from home and to both my parents learning more about my condition and helping others with brain trauma. Overall, I am glad to have had the surgery and the condition I was born with. I now treat it like a gift. In James 1:17 the Bible mentions how God gives everybody a special gift to make us unique. All of us are unique in some way, and if we look at what could be negative from that perspective, we can appreciate our uniqueness, treat it like a gift, and use it to help others.