I think that I have carried a residing fear and anxiety that people would discover I suffered from epileptic seizures for most of my life. I hated wearing the Medic Alert bracelet that my parent’s acquired for me at the age of 13. Wanting for a healthy life, I often felt disadvantaged even deprived by not being able to achieve this. I strove through the period of adolescence becoming more aware of the extent of my problem, not being able to drive or venture forth to do many things others could. I naturally began to feel the effects of lower self–esteem and at times easily became resentful and bitter. It was easy to begin a path of self–pity.
Fortunately, many people kept stepping into my path and rescuing me from a total loss of purpose. I had the basis of a Christian upbringing where it was taught “where there is faith there is hope”. Although it did not seem a tangible answer to the problem, it was my grandmother who tried to instill in me, among other things, that in God’s world all things have reason and that “God has a special purpose in mind for you”. She also gave me a book to read. It was “The Power of Positive thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale.
I began to develop and rely on my beliefs and live life with a certain degree of security and positive expectancy. It enabled me to cope with the problems we know epilepsy can bring. I was fortunate to have gained employment in a bank after I left school. Despite having the odd complex partial seizure at work, I tried to put them behind me and get on with life.
It was 7 years ago though, that I suffered a major accumulation of stress aggravating my usually controlled epilepsy. I began experiencing major tonic clonic seizures often resulting in a trip to hospital. I would become paralyzed down my left side during the worst of these seizures.
I took time off work and 4 years ago was blessed with an opportunity to start a new job. My epilepsy had improved and became seizure free for a period … but the pattern of those serious tonic clonic seizures unfortunately re–emerged. My medication was changed to arrest that situation but to no avail.
It was becoming apparent to me that my condition was deteriorating whether it was due to age or something else. After a string of different medications, I began to lose hope of ever regaining stability. My own faith and inner strengths were being tested. My wife and children were also wondering when and if the situation would begin to improve for their sakes as well as mine. Following a major episode that landed me in Intensive Care 12 months ago, a process to establish my suitability for surgery was initiated.
Then came the EEG’s, Neuro Psychological tests, MRI and CT Speck scans. The part I dreaded most was the stay in the QEH until they captured one of my seizures. I become quite relieved and excited however when this turned out to be a short stay and subsequently advised that I was a suitable candidate for surgery. If deciding to proceed with the operation, it would involve the removal of a 4-5 cm section of my right temporal lobe. The chances of success were around 80-90%.
It was not difficult for me to say yes with my wife and 3 children supporting me. For me, it seemed “all things in God’s time” had finally arrived. On 17th November I had my right temporal lobectomy. It was a significant emotional experience for me. I travelled to the very depths of my soul and struck a well of untapped tears. They were to be tears of joy lasting 3 weeks. The operation appears to be a success.
The exact manifestation of what has occurred is beyond my comprehension. It is as though a domino effect has occurred. Believing I have broken free from the shackles of my epilepsy has perhaps freed me of fears and anxieties that must have been accompanying it for all those years. In its place I feel I have woken to a perfect existence where some of life’s struggles, pressures and need for acceptance no longer seem to exist.
I resumed work 7 weeks after the operation doing everything as per normal. I pray the overriding feeling of joy and thankfulness I experience each day will last forever.