Opening my eyes I looked down to see my sweater saturated in blood and vomit. I tried to stand up realizing I was in the back of the studio where I worked at nights by myself. Extremely lightheaded, as I stood I gazed into the mirror to see a large gash in my forehead, my lips and my tongue were distended and also bleeding. As the pain seeped through into my consciousness I knew I had to reach out to my emergency contacts for help. As I tried to get out of the bathroom, a security guard was standing there to address me and shove me back down unaware of my epileptic condition. As I told him of my struggles, he never let me get to my phone or my office phone to reach out to those who could help me before the ambulance drivers locked me down to the backboard and took me off to the hospital. The next morning, after a night in the hospital, I returned to the studio to retrieve my belongings. My boss was at his desk with my phone and computer and asked for my resignation. I was told because of my “condition” I was not permitted to hold my position any longer.

I was 19 years of age when I first started developing what I now know to be partial seizures. At the time I thought they were just “anxiety attack” (Klonopin) as I was under excessive stress being enrolled in graduate school, working three jobs, and in a heap of student loan debt. These attacks were growing stronger and more detrimental to my ability to communicate. When I have a partial seizure, I lose my ability to talk or exchange even a few words; I mentally shut down. The only reason I was able to be mentally aware of what happens when I have a partial seizure was because of having 5-10+ partials a day.

When I reach the age of 21, I had my first tonic clonic seizure. I was at my desk at my first full-time job. I sat back in my chair feeling what I thought to be a partial seizure coming on. All of a sudden, my left arm extended into the air, my whole body cringed and I fell to the floor. I opened my eyes to find that I was in an ambulance; I opened my eyes again feeling the emergency crew escorting me into the hospital. I spent three days in the hospital and was diagnosed with epilepsy.

After a few years of treacherous partial and tonic clonic seizures, I started working with neurologists taking me through numerous medications, MRI scans, EEG tests, along with mental and psychological testing. I have spent weeks in Epilepsy Management Units and Intensive Care Units where they would withdraw me from all my anti-antiepileptic medications in order to study my seizures.

I am now 26-years-old and, having undergone years of these studies, my current neurologist found a small benign tumor located within my left front temporal lobe believed to be the cause of my seizures. Once this tumor was found I was told that surgery would provide me with a 60% chance at becoming seizure free!

It has now been almost 4 months since my brain surgery and I am seizure free. While the recovery has been difficult and I still have side effects of epilepsy that my brain has developed. I will continue to express my gratitude to those who portray their commitment to helping those in need. I am thankful to friends, family, nurses, doctors, and all of those who have helped me in my time of need. My business and my time now are in turn dedicated to helping others regardless of their need.