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I was first diagnosed with epilepsy 36 years ago, at the age of 9.  This is my story. (Names of sisters have been changed)

It was the morning of February 2, 1980, and I was in 4th grade. My two older sisters and I were getting ready for school.  Well,my sisters were.  I was in my bed. No, now I was on the floor.  I felt myself shaking all over, but could not stop.  I heard my sister Maggie's voice.  “Hey, look at Joy, she's so cold, she's shaking !”  I knew I wasn't that cold, but I took Maggie's word for it.  I hadn't spoken, only because I couldn't.  The next thing I knew, I was in the bathtub, and Mama was bathing me.  I glanced down, wondering why my mother was giving me a bath at my age.  It soon became clear.  I had soiled myself and didn't even realize it.  Now I was really embarrassed.  

After my bath, I quickly got dressed for school. It was a Tuesday.  That meant one thing, P.E.  I hated P.E. In the car, just as we pulled up to the  school, and as my sisters Maggie and Marie were getting out of the car,  I had spit up, just a little, on my navy blue school sweater. Here was my chance to get out of  P.E. I spoke up and told Daddy what had happened. Sure enough, Daddy took me home. Once there, my mother told me that if I was going to stay home, I'd have to go to bed.  “No problem.”  I thought.  I went straight to bed.  

The next thing I remember, I was in a hospital bed.  It was said that I had had something called a convulsion, also known as a Grand mal seizure. It was later determined that what I had was Epilepsy.

I enjoyed my stay in the hospital.  I had everything I needed.  My food was brought to me like clockwork, I could watch as much T.V. as I wanted, and I had a fun bed that I could make go up and down. There was, however, one part of being in the hospital that I did not like. It was the times when my sisters would bring in all of the classwork and homework I had missed.  I didn't realize yet what was in store for me.

I'm not sure how long my hospital stay was, but I know it was long enough for me to see the bed beside me get used by two different people. The first was a boy, much older than me.  He didn't speak to me, so I decided it best not to bother him.

After he left, a little girl, who was close to my age was assigned to the bed.  We became friends during our hospital stay and, when we could, we would go to the  hospital playroom and play together.  I remember how we both rolled our eyes upon discovering that the only game there was to play was Candy Land.  We were both too old for it, but we played it anyway.

After I was released from the hospital, I realized that my life had changed forever.  I began to take daily medication, and I continued to have seizures.  I went through a period of denial, but I soon realized that there was no denying what was happening.  I no longer had full control of my body.  I was experiencing grand mal seizures and myoclonic seizures.  My body seemed to be controling me and not the other way around.  

I still have myoclonic seizures on almost a daily basis, and grand mals about twice a month, but I no longer let it get me down. I am now a wife to a wonderful husband, and mother to my 13 year old son, who I adopted from birth.  I hope to one day decrease the amount of seizures I experience.  I am considering VNS therapy, but am still undecided.  All in all, I am happy with my life.  You can read more about my experiences with epilepsy at my blog, Growing and Living with Epilepsy.  

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