Almost ten years ago. This is how long that I will have lived with epilepsy. This is how long that I will soon be married. Diagnosed just four months after our wedding day. Following our wedding, I was so eager! Decorating our home (Watching HGTV and diving into Pinterest for inspiration). Cooking breakfasts, lunches and dinners for my husband as I envisioned beginning our family. I had been blessed with the one who I was meant to spend my life with and to begin our little family gave me butterflies and brought tears of happiness to my eyes.
I’d always wanted to be a mother. At the age of nine on my birthday, I didn’t ask for barbies or make-up. I didn’t ask for glittery toys, no. Instead I asked only for a baby name book so that I could be well prepared. To pick out the perfect name for our beautiful son or daughter. Circling the ones that I loved the most. I held onto that book for years, praying for the right person to come along to love all the days of my life. And my prayers were certainly answered. I love him more and more each passing day.
On the frigid, snowy December 11, 2008 day, after patiently waiting for my husband to head off to work, I hustled to ready myself and head off to the store. His birthday was only days away and Christmas to follow. Our first celebration since marriage and I couldn’t wait to purchase gifts! Warmed with elation, I didn’t really feel the chill around me as I drove. The blanket of snow glittered like diamonds in thanks to the brilliant morning sunlight.
I never made it to the store that morning. Instead, I’d blacked out from a grand mal seizure and crashed into a tree. I would soon be diagnosed with epilepsy. Pills, pills and more pills. Tests, tests and more tests. Seizures of various types. Grand mal, Absence and Complex Partial. Eventually discovering this was to be Refractory Epilepsy. One tough epilepsy beast. Defying the medication given.
Many different types of medications, many different dosages. Still, the beast just couldn’t be tamed. Side effects were an add-on beast. As if taking on a monster with only a wooden spoon. Time continued to pass as we did all that we could to outsmart this condition. Days, weeks, months and years. All this time, my mind occasionally shifted toward the thought of family.
Doctors assured me that naturally, I could create a family, but the risk was far too great and unadvised. With continuous seizures great and small, several medications flowing within me, maternal instincts kicked in and I didn’t have to think twice that I would not want to harm our child (Should we be blessed) in any way. So I would just have to place my dream on the back burner.
Days, weeks, months and years continued to pass and the thought never left my mind. In moments alone, I would cup my face and weep. Immediately change the commercials relating to babies. As family and friends excitedly announced pregnancies, I could feel my heart cracking a little more each time.
I began to notice that I was allowing epilepsy to steal my joy and that I wasn’t walking in faith. This is what epilepsy desires to do. It seeks the things that you long for before diagnosis and use it against you to tear you down. When you take notice of this concrete truth, smile and know that you are so much stronger than that.
It’s been just about ten years and my dream of beginning a family still sits alone on that back burner. I’m not getting any younger but every day I pray that, that dream will move on up. I would be lying if I didn’t say sometimes there’s a breeze in my spirit that aches from time to time, yet I smile. If it’s meant to be, then okay. If not then okay, life is and has been so beautiful. Such a blessing. I weep tears of joy that my husband holds my hands to reassure me that if we never have a child, it will never cause him to love me any less. That he too loves me more each passing day.
If any of you reading this now, are in a similar circumstance, I encourage you to embrace faith. Embrace life to the utmost fullest. Count each and every blessing from tiny to so large. Don’t allow epilepsy to steal your joy or tear you down. Smile and stand in confidence.
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