“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” — Max Frisch
1,825 days ago today, or 5 years ago, before the hour of 9 a.m., I awoke a seemingly happy healthy young woman. I awoke still a newly wed of just 4 months, filled with excitement to begin Birthday and Christmas present shopping for Chris and I’s first holiday together. My spirit engulfed with the flames of hopes and dreams of a beautiful future together. Chasing dreams and building lasting memories together as husband and wife. Best friends and soul mates.
The morning of December 11th, before the hour of 9 a.m., I was unaware that within my brain, a seizure was preparing to strike, preparing to change my entire life. It was a chilly snowy December morning. You could see your breath but the sun daringly blazed filling the sky with vibrant pinks oranges and yellows. Causing snow and ice to shimmer like diamonds. As cold as it was, the sunshine and colors made your spirit feel warm and alive.
Along the drive to the store, listening to my favorite music, daydreaming of the holidays and the future with my husband, the seizure struck without warning. Like someone flipping a switch, I was stripped of all vision, blanketed with solid white. My muscle strength flat lined and consciousness was slipping from me like sand slipping between fingers. I had enough muscle strength and consciousness to slip my foot off of the gas pedal and onto the break. Enough muscle strength and consciousness to turn the wheel away from oncoming traffic but not enough to make a complete stop or prevent the inevitable. This is the moment, I slipped away into unconsciousness and suffered a grand mal seizure behind the wheel. This is the moment my life changed forever. “In The Beginning” goes into greater depth of that life changing day.
From that moment on, it was declared that I would be diagnosed with Epilepsy. A seizure condition that would be with me all the days of my life. This moment, was without a doubt, the most difficult moment of my entire life. A challenge so big that made me feel so small, so scared, so hurt and so broken. I looked over my shoulder at my dreams as, to my perception, one by one they shattered to pieces. As the pieces fell, so did tears from my eyes and down my cheeks.
Little did I know, the pieces of my former life had to shatter to be rebuilt bigger and stronger than I could ever imagine or be prepared for. In thinking my life was over, my family, my friends and most importantly My God declared my life was just beginning to thrive like it had never thrived before. They declared that giving up was not an option on the table. Throwing in the towel was not an option on the table. I had an army of determined individuals willing me to stand back up, dust myself off, and prepare to become a brand new, stronger, Tiffany Kairos with God as my leader and light shining the way forward, wherever that may be.
Over the years, adjusting to medications and their side effects, encountering seizures of many varieties, doctors visits, EEG’s and CAT Scans etc. I became that of a sponge. Educating myself, friends and family about my condition. My way of thinking, “If I must live it, I must learn it.” This eventually led me to creating The Epilepsy Network (TEN) which can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other Social Media outlets. The Epilepsy Network (TEN) is an olive branch to unite the world in education and advocacy of this condition, Epilepsy. An open door, open stage platform for people of all ages, all races, all cultures to come together in compassion and understanding of one another’s journey. In the beginning, I had no idea just how many people in the world had the very same condition. Over 65 million men women and children are diagnosed with Epilepsy. It wasn’t long before, I paused in realization, Epilepsy was a blessing in disguise on my journey called life. Through this condition, God was molding me, preparing me to become a much better person, much stronger person, much braver and wiser person. Reminding me that the journey would not be smooth sailing but a rewarding one nonetheless. I began to saw my condition in a completely different light. A light that I wanted to share with the world and encourage others to embrace within their own journeys.
Many great blessings have been bestowed within the 1,825 days that I have lived with Epilepsy. Many that all of you have been with me to witness. Many great friendships have been forged and milestones have been etched, in which I am so grateful. What I thought originally was the worst moment in my life was in actuality the best moment in my life. Sometimes growing into the person God wants you to be hurts, but sometimes it is necessary in order to achieve great things not only for yourself but the world you will encounter. The pains of life can indeed turn into blessings if you allow it.
Today officially marks 1,825 days or 5 years that I have lived with Epilepsy. I will continue on my journey with this condition, educating, advocating and seeking out a cure for all 65 million on this journey with me.
5 years and going strong!