What is Hope?

Whether you are beginning your journeys with seizures or have been learning to cope with them for a number of years our story will fit somewhere in your life. Everyone who lives with seizures needs hope.

Seizures slowly infiltrate into every little aspect of a person’s life and strip them of things that most people have always had and taken for granted.  You learn through trial and error what new event you cannot participate in or what activity you once enjoyed that you no longer can.  As seizures take away pleasures they steal identities and everyone involved in the situation just assumes that will never change.  Adjustments are made and life carries on.

Our life together began with Charley working a steady job but eventually, due to seizures, he became an unwelcome disruption to employers rather than a welcome employee. When we first married Charley’s seizures were controlled and he could drive.  Eventually he lost driving privileges due to having an accident because of a seizure.  Early in our marriage we enjoyed going dancing and having a good time with our friends.  In time bright lights and loud atmospheres caused agitation and seizures; another part of our life faded away.

When Charley finished all the tests to qualify as a candidate for brain surgery our hope had unknowingly been extinguished for years.  We knew better than to add up any blessings brain surgery would bestow upon us until we could see, feel, taste and tally them one by one.  After Charley’s initial healing, sure enough, one by one the small lost pieces of our life that seizures had robbed from us began to reinstate themselves.

The adjustment of regaining our life was every bit as hard as adjusting to having it stolen was.  Rather than dreading the future wondering what we would next have to learn to live without our new adjustments were attained through hope. Hey!! Maybe we can do this!!

Charley had not driven for several years prior to brain surgery. After surgery he had to take the written test a billion times to pass.  Eventually he did, and Charley could drive.  Our grandchildren had never ridden in a vehicle with Papa when he drove and had been strongly admonished to stay out of his way if he was riding the tractor mowing the lawn because he might run over them.  The sight of two young boys peeking over the fence but not stepping beyond the gate and getting in the car with Papa the first time he asked them to ride with him is one I will never forget.  Even our grandchildren had been robbed of normal securities by seizures.

Charley drove and drove and drove and drove anywhere he wanted for no good reason after his surgery just because he could.

If you are living with epilepsy and think life is hopeless I am here to tell you different.  We never dreamed Charley would drive again, but he did.  Surgery to eliminate seizures was unheard of in 1980.  It took twenty- four years and a long gruesome fight but we beat seizures.  You don’t know what the future will bring to people who have epilepsy and you won’t know if you quit fighting.

What is hope? I believe it is the small pieces of your life that you cherish and use to make every day be the best it can. Those little pieces of life are called determination and they can take you places you never thought you would travel.  Use that determination as your sword as you cut your paths through the jungles that epilepsy creates.  It may take twenty years to come out the winner but the day you lay down your sword and declare victory will definitely make all the battles you have fought worthwhile.

About Lola Jines-Burritt