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The Epilepsy Letter

Dear Stacey,

Hello. How are things going? I am doing fine here in Grove City. Thank you for your uplifting letter and your article. You seem like a kind, loving person yourself. I come from a family of loving people. We are taught young in life to take care of ourselves and help each other. My parents not only taught, but also showed the way.

I am in the middle of eight brothers and sisters (five brothers and three sisters). I was born in 1953. I am right in the middle. My oldest sister died in 1963. She had a rare disorder that caused her major organs to age rapidly. My brother and I had rheumatic fever. I was five at the time. I learned how precious life is and how easily it can be taken away.

We were poor. Although my father had a good job, there were eight kids. We learned to depend on each other and to trust each other. Oh, we had our misunderstandings with each other. My oldest brother is one of my best friends in the world.

Well, so much for my family history. By the way I am the second oldest of the boys. All of my sisters were older. In 1989, I was walking home from work (about 1 mile), the temperature outside was thirty. The first day of winter.

I arrived at my trailer, and I took my glove off my left hand. The next thing I know a cop (a good friend) was calling out to me, he was aware of my seizures. My hands were so cold, even the one with the glove on it. I was shivering.

Suddenly a squad came into the lot and over to me. I have never been that cold before. I had fallen from my seizures. (That is usual; I fall backwards and to the left a little when I have a seizure). Before I regained my awareness I got up and started walking, unaware of what was happening (also, usual). I walked into the trailer, hit my head and passed out. I was lying in the snow and as I said, it was 30 degrees for a half hour or forty-five minutes.

They got me on the stretcher and started putting hot water bottles around me. They took my temperature. I heard one person say “Going into hyperthermia. His is below critical.” The next day I woke up in a hospital. The knuckle on my left hand (the one unclosed) was aching badly. Soon after the doctor came into the room with bad news and good news to tell me. Oh no! I thought. He said, “First the bad news: you have first degree frostbite.” I braced myself for the next sentence. “The good news: you get to keep your fingers.” I was so happy and relieved that tears were running down my face. First-degree frostbite is the mildest form of frostbite.

Now, it is still something I have to deal with. Yet I will exchange it for my fingers any time! I really do not like to tell these stories and do not want people to feel sorrow or pity for me. Hey, I have had seizures for going on a quarter of a century. I take care of myself. I am very independent.

For sure, I do not suffer as much as many other people with epilepsy. I am truly one of the lucky ones. I have had thousands of seizures over the years and I am here telling you about some. How many can say they never lost the ability to take care of themselves?

Keep up the faith and live the good life.

P.S. My dad had a saying about life; nobody gets out of this alive. He is right; we live life as full as we can. One Day at a Time! I learned from this letter that support from others can be very crucial in overcoming any obstacle from epilepsy that comes our way. Inner strength is something we need to overcome epilepsy. In addition, you can develop inner strength through support and love from the people who mean the most to us in life and who understand what we are going through. You need to take into consideration that inner strength does not happen overnight, so be patient and live life “One Day at A Time!”

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