Monday Reflections: One in twenty-six

Twenty-six people living ordinary lives.
Some learning to walk for the very first time.
Others with wrinkles around their eyes.
All filled with dreams waiting to be realized.

Then, one of those twenty-six is caught off guard.
Their greens turned red. Their ups turned upside down.
Their life taken away by a silent, electrical terrorist.

One in twenty-six people will hear three life changing words.

You have epilepsy.

I’m the one in 26.

I will always be tired.
I will always have a foggy memory.
I will always be a tiny bit moody.
I will always wonder why.

But I will never give up.
I will fight for the next one in twenty-six.
I will be there to offer a helping hand.

 

Living with epilepsy isn’t easy, but it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve learned how strong I can truly be, and how I can make a difference. This past month, I was able to offer some advice to a girl who had just been diagnosed. Being able to help her make sense of everything and guide her through this difficult time has made every painful moment worthwhile. If I had decided not to get back up all those times I thought I couldn’t, I wouldn’t be able to offer her solace today. Sticking it out is difficult, but never impossible. Today I reflect on that. 

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month: Ready to spread awareness?

purple ribbon

We’re a third of the way into the month so this post comes a little late, but late is better than never. November is National Epilepsy Awareness month, and this is our chance to share our story and educate others about seizures.

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In the winter of 2009, I awoke to confusion as paremedics held an oxygen mask to my mouth. My vision was blurred, and I could barely make out the faces of the people standing around me. Unable to see clearly and hearing unfamiliar voices, I panicked. I attempted to push and pull away, but my body would not obey. If I had the strength, I would have given those paramedics a good fight, but the seizure had left me completely fatigued. Instead, I demanded explanations and screamed why. And that is how my epilepsy journey began.

Almost a decade later, I’ve faced epilepsy in several forms. I faced weekly complex partial seizures that took the energy out of me and made me lose sense of time. I had brain surgery to try and remove the seizure focus. For three years, I was seizure free and regained the independence I’d lost. In 2016, the convulsive seizures began. After several attempts, I got my seizures under control. Today, I’ve finally gone eight months seizure free once again! This journey has been a long one, and it’s far from over, but I’m okay. I’ve survived and become so much stronger along the way. And this is thanks to all those people living with epilepsy who have shared their story with me. My hat goes off to them!

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. If a person has two or more unprovoked seizures that have occurred without having a known or reversible medical condition, they are diagnosed with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a spectrum of seizure disorders that varies from person-to-person. Brain injuries and other medical conditions can be a cause for epilepsy, but most people never learn the underlying cause for their seizures.

Even if you don’t have or know anyone who has seizures, it’s important to get educated. Will you help me educate others?

It’s National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Let’s LEARN! 

 

 

Tuesday Ramblings

Everyday we learn new things. Our surroundings make us look at things in a different way. What we hear shapes our thoughts and opinions. Whether we learn something good or bad, everything we perceive is processed. Visual, acoustic and tactile perceptions are encoded and become part of our short-term and even long-term memories.

Last week, I learned something VERY important. Okay, maybe it’s not that important, but something worth mentioning. It’s the last piece of solid advice my old boss passed down to me. So what is this great piece of wisdom he bestowed on me? Well, here it goes.

Everyone hates Mondays. They are terrible because the fun has come to an end, and we must carry on with our adult responsibilities. Plus, who can possibly love a day that marks the conclusion of happy times?

On Tuesday, everyone has just survived Monday, but the long week is still ahead. Friday can’t even be seen in the distance.

On Wednesday, everyone is like “Yass, it’s humpday!” We’re almost there, and the worst is far behind us.

On Thursday, you can see the finish line! Friday Jr is here, and freedom is just around the corner.

On Friday, everyone is FRIYAY! We have those Friday feelings, and the finish line to happy hour is finally here.

In conclusion, there is no point to Tuesday. It is by far the worst day of the week, and it simply sucks!

Monday Reflections: Monday Blues

I hold my breath and close my eyes hoping the pain will come and go. I try to go on as if it was just another day. There is no denying that the sunset has left and the sunrise has followed. It is another day, but it’s another day without you here. When I read the text message last night, disbelief is all I could feel. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry or ask why. I replied to my sister saying to let me know when the funeral arrangements would take place. I said goodnight and went to bed.

Today, I sit at my desk trying to hold back the tears. It’s not like I didn’t see it coming. You weren’t doing well, and the doctors said it would be a matter of days, but I wish they hadn’t been right.

I think about the last time I saw you and how now I never will. You grew up with my family. You were one of us kids. You were my brother’s best friend and a big brother to my sister and I. You made us laugh and helped us beat up our brother because he was too big. You were there to pick us up when we needed a ride from school. I still remember the white mustang waiting for us outside of school. Out of that small, two door car, two big, bald guys would get off to let us in the back seat. It was hilarious to see you both get out of such a small car.

As we grew up, you were there for all the milestones. My sweet fifteen, high school graduation, college graduation and wedding. Even through the difficult times, when my grandparents and great-aunt passed away, you never failed to pay your respects and give us a warm embrace.

Life is funny and has a way of bringing the smallest memory back to light. Each of those memories will make me laugh because of all the dumb things you and my brother would say. Those memories will also make me cry because your life was cut way too short, and we won’t be able to make new ones.

I’m not sure why things happen the way they do, but I do know you were a wonderful person and a great friend. Others might have thought you were a rough, tough guy, but those who knew you well, will remember the big teddy bear inside.

Once you learn to read, there is no stopping you from reaching your goals.

 

Letters turn into words, which combine to form sentences.
With these tools, life is jotted down and history is recorded.
Through those stories, we learn, adapt and become better.

But what’s the use of black ink on paper?
What’s the use of literature with no one there to read?

In our youth, what we are exposed to helps shape our future.
Without the necessary instruments, it would be difficult to grow.
And to cultivate those skills, it takes a team.

Reading does more than nurture our mind.
It opens the world to endless possibilities. 
It gives us the opportunity to succeed. 

 

At the age of eight, my older brother was graduating from high school. As I saw a girl walking up the stage to talk, I asked my mother why she was addressing the audience when no one else was. My mother went on to say that the young lady was the top student of the graduating class. She was the valedictorian. Listening to her well versed speech, I knew I wanted to be just like her.

I was fortunate enough to have parents who instilled in me the importance of education. I attribute my success to the first of many books my mother read to me as a child. Through her words that soon became mine, I read and read, until I was that girl on the stage.

Please join me in making a difference in a child’s life. Help teacher’s acquire the tools they need to help their students grow. Make a donation to Read to succeed – One Step at a Time

Missing Grandma

Four years have come and gone.
1,460 days have arrived and passed.

Time wasted no time to stand still.
The world just kept turning round.

For 35,040 hours, I’ve missed you.
For 2,102,400 minutes, my heart has ached.

I know you’re in a better place.
I know your pain is no more.

But I wish I could hug you one more time.
I wish I could see your beautiful smile.

Time hasn’t eased the pain,
But it also hasn’t erased the memories.

Those dear moments will keep you alive.
And Grandma, I will always love you.

This is for you, the one I never got to meet.

I could see your bright smile long before I ever saw your face.

I could hear your cries and sobs because you needed a diaper change.

I could feel your warm hugs when you needed my comforting embrace.

I could imagine all the memories we’d create through the years.

I could picture you reaching all your milestones.

I could. I could. But I didn’t get to.

I love you even though I never got to meet you, and I always will.

I’ll tell those that come after you how special you are to me.

A piece of you will always be in my heart, and I will never forget you.

When I give my last breath, we will finally meet.

In paradise, I promise to make up for all lost time.

I will hold you, make you smile and laugh.

Because that’s what mommies are supposed to do.

I wish I could say life is a bed of roses without thorns, but this would be a lie. My older sister was in her second trimester when she lost her twin daughters. My friend was just five weeks pregnant when she had her first miscarriage.

Besides being a mom to a kid with four paws, I have no children of my own. I’ve never experienced life growing in my womb, but I still feel a sense of loss. I can imagine my two eight-year-old nieces pleading for me to make them another tea party. I can picture their poor drawn color penciled Happy Birthday and Valentines Day cards, which would say I was their greatest aunt, or maybe even their best friend. Those cards would mean the world to me more than any beautifully crafted Hallmark card.

For all the moms who’ve lived this nightmare, I cannot say that I know what you are going through. I cannot say that I know exactly how it feels, but I do know that you aren’t alone. The world might feel a little more broken, but your family and friends are there to help you through it all.

Life is a bed of roses filled with painful thorns, but it’s still beautiful. Roses are wonderful, and need someone to tend to them. Let those who love you be your gardeners to help put yourself back together again.

Here and There

This is something I wrote back in 2007 when I was adjusting to college and being on my own for the first time. As graduation season comes to a conclusion, I feel the following poem is only appropriate. Going off to college means being surrounded by an unfamiliar environment that is filled with so much potential. It means meeting new, interesting people who will make everything worthwhile. While both are wonderful and exciting, there is still a sense of loss for the life we’ve left behind. Continue reading