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This Is What a Seizure Is Like for My Son

Hello again, Epilepsy.

I see you, slowly sneaking up on my son. It’s possible you’re here because one of us accidentally summoned you. We might’ve sneezed… or flipped the light on suddenly… or the dog shook and her collar jingled. Maybe we’d gotten Ryland too excited and he tried to smile, but instead, you saw your opportunity and took it.

Only a select few of us can see the signs that you are about to strike, Ryland’s sudden blank stare and muscle twitches being the biggest. We try everything possible to thwart you… talking to Ryland to keep his attention or a hand over his eyes sometimes works.

But most times it doesn’t work. This is one of them.

His demeanor totally changes as you try to take charge. His nostrils flare, his eyes flicker and his jaw sets. All signs of happiness leave his eyes to be replaced with one of terror as his head turns to confront you, an invisible foe. His left hand clenches and slowly raises, as if to fight you off himself, tongue and lips trembling like he’s mouthing the words he’d scream at you if he could. His entire body stiffens and tremors and his face turns beet red. He has lost total control of his body and we have no idea what he thinks or sees… or if he can even see at all right now.

We speak softly to him and lay a comforting hand on his chest to feel his little heart pounding away. In these moments, we are thankful he cannot walk because who knows what kind of harm you could bring him then?

In some distant recess of our minds, a clock ticks the seconds as we diligently time each one of your attacks to record and discuss with his doctors at his next appointment. They might increase his medication doses if your unwelcome visits are happening too often. These medications you force him to take, as well as his diagnosis of cerebral palsy, put him behind developmentally. There are many things he cannot do, such as sit, walk, or talk.

But the list of things he can do is never ending. He can communicate in his own way and has taught his loved ones how to understand what he’s feeling without words. He lights up a room with just one of his signature smiles and becomes a magnet to admirers when visits me at work.

He can learn a new piece of equipment or therapy exercise with a fierce look of determination in his eyes. And most importantly, he can win every single battle you initiate, Epilepsy, coming out of each one with the usual deep sigh and triumphant smile on his face, as he’s done over a thousand times before.

Sincerely, The Mother of The Wrong Little Warrior to Mess With

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