Hello everyone. My name is Luke. I am 14 years old. To other people, I may seem like a totally normal kid. I go to school, I have friends, etc. In fact, the only way people don’t consider me ordinary is by the fact that I don’t like video games or strawberries. Trust me, those are big topics of conversation when I’m talking to people. But ordinary is just a label, a useless one in fact, because no one is ordinary. Ordinary just doesn’t apply to anyone. I’m no exception.
I have had epilepsy since I was 10. It has been unpredictable, with seizures occurring when I least expect it, and not occurring when you expect them to. I have been lucky to have only had 9 seizures these past 4 years, but the danger of my epilepsy comes from not how many seizures I’ve had, but the force each one brings. My whole story started when we least expected it to ever occur, 4 years ago at an airport hotel the night before Thanksgiving. My grandma was leaving for an early morning flight Thanksgiving morning, and since my dad was on his EMT clinicals, my mom decided we should all go stay in a hotel by the airport. My brother, my mom, my grandma, and me. I was ecstatic! We rarely stayed in hotels, and hotels were pretty much my favorite thing ever at the time. It was not an unusual night for us. We brushed teeth, got tucked in, and that’s all. Everyone was asleep when I was still awake. I was unusually restless, but I fell asleep eventually. I guess I should have taken all this as a warning.
The next thing I know, I wake up and I’m not in bed. The room is filled with many more people than I went to bed with. I look around and see I’m sitting on a stretcher in the middle of the floor surrounded by paramedics. I didn’t care about this though. I just needed the bathroom. Little to my knowledge, I had been awake for a while and had been to the bathroom several times already. Finally my mom made me lay down on the stretcher and said to wait until we got to the hospital. Now I knew something was up. I asked her what happened and she simply replied, “You had a seizure.” Suddenly, a bell went off in my discombobulated brain. I had heard this word many times before. All that I could be sure of was that something bad had happened.
A while later, at the hospital, when my brain finally had the capacity to understand, I was told I had a tonic-clonic seizure around midnight. It had only lasted a minute, so by the time my frightened mother had found the phone and called 911, it was over. That night was just the beginning of a major series of events and the kickoff to the hardest year of my life.
Ever since I was a few hours old, I’ve been fighting the forces of invisible evil. If I factor in the 2 times that I have had status epilepticus seizures, which are dangerous, life-threatening seizures, I would lose count of how many times I’ve come close to death. But each and every time, I’ve just pushed death away, determined to keep on, no matter how hard it is to do so. And I have certainly felt the consequences. It’s the stress and the fear of knowing that at any minute, I could fall down and start convulsing. And now that I am in a high-pressure school, it just makes it worse. I was so unfamiliar with such a large school that I had an aura on the very first day. I’ve had a panic attack in the middle of the hallway too. But no matter how stressful things get, no matter how many problems you must face, your challenges are not what define you. It’s how you handle them. And if you can handle things well, you may even find that some good things come out of all the chaos. That is an entirely different story to tell another time, so I will leave it at this. I encourage you to share your seizure story and make your voice heard.