Growing Up With Epilepsy – Matt

Growing Up With Epilepsy – Matt

Well where do I begin?! Growing up as a little boy everything seemed fine! Great! I had it all. Loving Mother and father, older brother and sister. The family dog Crystal. My childhood friends. I was just a regular kid enjoying my younger years everything seemed fine! Til one night I never woke up til days later. If it wasn’t for the family dog “Crystal” I’m not really sure what the outcome would have been. She always slept in my room… she ran into my parents room in the wee hours of that early morning barking like mad getting my parents attention! I guess my father was already up about to leave for work… well he didn’t go to work and I didn’t go to school. Instead I was rushed by ambulance to a children’s medical center. Where doctors did millions of examinations on me. Trying to pin point exactly what had taken place… it was a really bad seizure! I never had seizures before! I was only about 9 years old or so. So I had no idea what was going on. Well time past and I was deemed fine and sent home and back to school. Everything seemed fine! Until about 10 years after that while finishing my high school years… I experienced a grand map seizure! Luckily it happened at home again with my brother there with me. Ambulance came and took me to the hospital. Once again after some tests I was deemed fine only this time they diagnosed me as an Epileptic. Because it was my 2nd seizure. Years past and I started having them more frequently! Finally I had a control on it with the right mix of meds. So I thought?! I met my now beautiful wife and when we 1st started dating I warned her that she’s going to probably wanna walk away once you see me have a seizure. Well after unfortunately experience a few seizures in the presence of her she took care of me and did what she had to do. She didn’t run away. She stood by my side through it all. A few years pass and I finally catch a break and land a really good job at a local hospital/ medical facility/ nursing home campus. All one location. I was hired to do light maintenance and cleaning at night. I was happy for the most part. I even volunteered my time as a firefighter and EMS. I knew at some point I was doing too much…. I knew I should stop and just relax. But I just love to stay busy and work and whatever I can do with fire and ems volunteering! It all came crashing down on me…. one day instead of going to the hospital to work- I was unfortunately rushed to the ER unit!! Moments before I experienced the most traumatic seizure I have ever had to date! I can honestly say I really thought I was going to die that day. While I was at the hospital the doctors realized my condition was not getting better so I was once again rushed to a trauma center that could better handle those with neurological issues. I woke up there a day or so later. That medical center was over an hour away from where I was originally. I gotta tell ya it’s damn scary waking up in a strange place not knowing if your alive or dead or what! I was terrified! Luckily I had some amazing nurses and doctors and staff taking care of me. I was in the hospital for just over a month or so. Maybe a little more. The scary thing about it all is when I was finally awake the doctors come in and started talking to me and I could hear them but not like I was supposed to. Nor could I feel my left side of my body!! Just imagine that!! I thought to myself the worst… “oh great now I’m paralyzed?!” The doctors explained that I was experiencing something called “Todd’s Paralysis” temporary loss of muscle movement to certain areas of the brain. It’s similar to a stroke. It took a week or so to get over that but after I got the mobility back I had no choice but go to yet another hospital to recover fully and receive inpatient rehabilitation to regain full muscle and cognitive skills back!

Some time went by and I guess you could say I fully recovered from that traumatic seizure experience. It’s just become locked in my mind. Left me with being temporary scared to do anything! I was so afraid I would be some where alone and experience one of these seizures and I may not be so lucky!?

I’ve always lived my life not to be in fear of anything! I’m always trying to keep a positive outlook on everything! Even going as far as having “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up.” tattooed on my arm! It serves as a reminder to no matter what just keep going and don’t let the Epilepsy slow me down! I think all things considering I’m doing just that! I know things will get even better! I’ve decided to possibly have the surgery on my brain that could end all of these epilepsy shenanigans!

One thing I strongly agree with…. don’t be afraid to have epilepsy. I have epilepsy, epilepsy does not have me!

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