Kyle Kieffer

@kyle-kieffer | contributor
Hello! My name is Kyle Kieffer, and I run an internationally recognized disability blog. I'm also an inspirational speaker talking about over coming living life with a disability. My goal is simple; inspire the epilepsy community one person at a time.
Kyle Kieffer

A Letter to My Younger Self, Preparing Me for Epilepsy

To this day I’m the only one who put my elementary school on lockdown, all because of a seizure. The sad thing is, I don’t remember any of it as I was heading to the hospital in the ambulance. Those first few seizures knocked me out for hours, and had me recovering for days. From when I was first diagnosed, I faced a second life challenge I couldn’t wait to take on. As a young kid, I was faced with a new normal that not even I was familiar with. I wanted to write a letter to my 9-year-old self about everything that would be coming my way. Dear Kyle, I know you’re slowly recovering in the ambulance from something you just can’t figure out. Let me fill you in on it. As you were walking out of the classroom to get something from your backpack, you had your first encounter with epilepsy. Yes, that’s right, you had a seizure. After numerous tests you’ll get done at the hospital, the doctors will finally let you know. In a day or two, you will be back to your normal self. You will soon forget about the seizure and carry on with your school year. However, I warn you not to forget about me too soon. I’ll be back. Sorry, but I warned you about me and how I may come back. Over a few weeks, you experienced how strong seizures can be. You were driven home by your dad a few times and spent much more time in the nurse’s office. I give you credit for playing some Little League games on days when you had seizures. After multiple seizures, doctors finally diagnosed you with epilepsy. Please don’t look at this as a bad thing. You’ve overcome many challenges already, and this is just another one to beat. Get ready to find that perfect neurologist. It may take a few years, 10 maybe. Those epilepsy medications are going to seem like a pain, but definitely necessary as you move forward. Don’t forget the power of trial and error. Your doctor will help you mix up medications to see if you can find that perfect recipe! Believe it or not, your seizures will get better to some extent. You will enjoy partial seizures. They come and go whenever without any auras. Be prepared for days when you need to rest after having 30 in three hours. You will get used to all this, it’s life. Your parents are scared to death, maybe not so much your dad. No one knows what to do or expect. First thing first, research! Research neurologists, local associations, and other support groups where you can get advice. They will be by your side the entire time, even when you head to Cleveland for school. You will gradually find out there are plenty of treatments for epilepsy. To get the best one for you, be open with everyone. If you’re not feeling too great, you probably should say something. Help each other out through this weird process that has become your norm. Now, epilepsy is also just a word. Epilepsy won’t define you, so feel free to take some chances. Wrestling was a chance you took that paid off greatly. Going out of state for college was a risk both you and your parents took. It was one of your best decisions and ultimately because you opened up about your epilepsy. Sharing your story brings people together, and it helped you strengthen your friendships while away at school. Driving is cool and everything, but you really don’t need to do it. What’s cool is having your own personal driver, actually multiple. You are not a burden on anyone just because you can’t drive. Having epilepsy isn’t a bad thing at all. Speak up and let everyone know how tough of a battle you’re going through. Epilepsy gives you the ability to meet thousands of people across the world who will be there for you when you need it. The epilepsy community is a strong one and you will be very involved in it one day. You may have epilepsy, but it doesn’t have you! You were a wrestler, so meet your opponent, epilepsy. As of now, you’re kicking its butt. Warriors don’t quit and I see that in you.

Kyle Kieffer

What Epilepsy Looks Like Through My Eyes

For 18 years, it has felt like I have been playing a round of golf every day. Unfortunately, it has just been my epilepsy. From preparing for numerous doctors’ appointments to handling clusters of seizures, epilepsy has taken a toll on me both mentally and physically. Every epilepsy journey is different, but I want to show you epilepsy as I see it through my eyes. We Get Scared At 9 years old, the battle became real. Waking up in that ambulance after my seizure was the first sign that it was time to go to work, both me and my family. Epilepsy provided me with challenges in my early years. None compared to the ones during my college years and into my working life. Engraved in my mind forever will be the night I was taking punch after punch from my epilepsy in my dorm room. My emergency meds weren’t working and I quickly began looking up rides to the emergency room. Seizures at work? Unfortunately, yes. I’ve been dealt with days of cluster seizures hitting up to 20. It’s experiences like these that make some of us want our epilepsy to go away forever. It’s an Everlasting Journey Epilepsy is not a sprint, it’s a lifelong marathon. Whether you’re two weeks or 20 years seizure-free, epilepsy to me is everlasting. Take a look at your phone’s calendar, odds are you probably have a few epilepsy-related appointments. For some, it could be simple check-ins, while others are circling that big day for their brain surgery. Year after year, we spend time talking with doctors, professionals or counselors about our epilepsy. Do we enjoy it? Probably not. However, this is what helps us manage our epilepsy and adjusted lifestyle. Find the Positives I wish everyone could see that there are positives while living with epilepsy. We have such a strong community that is ready to help each other whenever they need it. Our community thrives when someone shares their amazing epilepsy story. It takes courage to share it, and we all applaud them for sharing it with everyone. I’ve made friends throughout the world within our community and I know each and every one of you can connect with people across the world. Our community makes us stronger and gives us the ability to inspire others day in and day out. Everyone has a different perspective on epilepsy, but I’ve always been open about how I live with my epilepsy. This is how I see epilepsy through my eyes and live with it on a daily basis.

Kyle Kieffer

How to Start Telling Your Epilepsy Story

It has been seven years now since I really began telling my epilepsy story. Now, it’s almost second nature when I have to explain or tell my story. However, that definitely wasn’t the case back when I first got started. I know how hard it is to open up, trust me. If you feel like you want to, but are stuck, I want to share what helped me through the process. If you’re someone who thinks this isn’t possible, just take a minute and know these tips can be done over the course of years. Get to Know Yourself First Sounds silly, right? Before I really began speaking out, especially online, it was all about getting to know who I was personally. What did this entail? For me, it was figuring out my confidence. Heading off to college, I realized life was really about taking chances. I needed to find that balance between relaxing on my own and going out and meeting new people. Did I like randomly going out? Not really, but I knew it was a change I needed to make. I started branching out, meeting new people which gave me the confidence I needed as school started. I’m not a very outgoing person, and that confidence ended up allowing me to build one crucial friend group for years to come. Start With Your Closest Friend(s) Easier said than done. Having epilepsy is something we battle every day and the last thing we may want to think about is opening up to people. However, all it took was a conversation at a lunch table with my closest friend to get it all started. Notice how I started with just one. It’s easier and you can feel more comfortable when talking to just one person. As time went on, I began telling only my closest friends and their responses were all the same: how can I help? At the time, this was almost shocking, but made me feel great knowing that they would be there for me if needed. It all starts with one person, and over time, you may begin to feel more comfortable knowing that people are there for you. Take Advantage of the Epilepsy Community As I told my story to the majority of people I came across, I forgot one thing: our epilepsy community. Whether it’s your local community or groups on social media, we all live with the same thing. Sharing your story with us (the epilepsy community) is a much easier way for those still not comfortable because we know how people will react: helpful and positive. Reach out and talk to us, there are plenty of people who are ready to hear your epilepsy story because they are also living with it. Those are the three big things that helped me get to where I am today and feel safer sharing my story. If you’re just getting started or hoping to share soon, I do advise staying off public social media. Stay within friend groups and the epilepsy community. It’s much better!

Kyle Kieffer

The Power of Writing When Coping With Epilepsy

I stress over and over how epilepsy can be a roller coaster ride. Everyone’s epilepsy journey is a much different roller coaster ride so finding ways to cope with it may be hard. After working with my friend Aly, we came to the conclusion that writing is one of the best ways to cope with your epilepsy or any chronic illness you may have. We hope we inspire you just a little bit to pick up that pen and start writing down your amazing story. Aly (@acanfieeld) — All of the greats have their stories told over and over again in schools and churches. Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great, and the list goes on and on. They have their stories shared because of something miraculous and heroic they did. However, so-called ordinary people do noble things every day, and their stories go untold, which is why I have decided to share my story and encourage others to do the same. I have always enjoyed writing random poems or short stories that come to mind, but now my writing has a purpose: to help people see and understand an unseen disease. I never shared any of my writing publicly until I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, or JME for short, in July of 2018. At first, I did not know how to react to this new, life-altering diagnosis. I shut everyone out and chose to keep everything I was dealing with to myself. Eventually, I turned to my best friends: pen and paper, or Microsoft Word if I was feeling fancy. Writing allowed me to get my thoughts out without having to worry if anyone was going to judge me. It lifted the fear of being looked at a certain way because of how I was feeling or what I was experiencing. Writing down your feelings, mentally and physically, can help your mental state in numerous ways. It also helps if you have a chronic illness of some kind because you can track your symptoms and how you feel, which will help your doctor better understand your situation. Lastly, it helps your story be told. You do not have to be in a history book to be considered one of the greats. You are already great. Sometimes all it takes is getting the negative thoughts and emotions out of your mind to see that. During these troubling times, writing can be the best way to cope. It helps you maintain a safe distance from everyone around you to decrease the spread of COVID-19, and it allows you to feel like you are not alone. I encourage everyone to write, even if it is a random poem or something small that happened in your day. As I said, you do not have to be studied in school for people to hear your story. Your story matters and will impact lives in ways you are not even aware of yet. Kyle — As we climb our epilepsy mountain, it’s crucial that we take time to just be with us. Forget about what’s around us, and regain the strength and faith we need to make it to the top of our mountains. Whether it’s sitting on your bed with the headphones in or on your laptop writing like me, it’s something we all need to incorporate into our lives. Five years ago, I found the many benefits writing can have when dealing with seizures. The majority of us deal with other challenges aside from our epilepsy. Writing gives us a way to express anything that may be on our minds that we might not want to share with others just yet. When I spent my lovely two weeks in the hospital for my SEEG, I started using writing as a way to express my thoughts, but also to remember what I’ve been through. Yes, after my SEEG I started my blog, but not everything I write is published. I quickly realized some of the stories I wrote about my epilepsy could really make a difference in our community. I understand how hard it is to share your story. What I think helped me overcome all the fear of sharing mine was looking back at the stories I’ve written. When you see your stories, you see how strong and inspiring you really are. No one expects to deal with seizures and the roller coaster ride that comes with it, so take time to write about your good and bad times. Doing this will help you moving forward when you build up the confidence to share your story. I challenge you to write your stories down and start to gain the confidence to share a few with some of your closest friends. Fast forward to now, because being quarantined has never been a better time to start doing this. Throughout my five years of writing blogs and just getting stuff off my mind onto paper, I’ve never done it more than during quarantine. While I have spent time writing about my epilepsy, I’ve also noted how it’s been related to the current events. The beautiful thing about writing is that you can write about one thing like your epilepsy or anything you can think of. I strongly encourage you to spend some time alone and write what’s on your mind and relieve any feelings you may have. Who knows, you may end up wanting to blog! Writing offers so many benefits, and as you can see it can help cope with epilepsy. You don’t need to be an author to write. Anyone can grab that pen and paper to start writing their amazing stories down. Give it a try!

Kyle Kieffer

How Life With Epilepsy Can Be Like a Roller Coaster Ride

For years now I’ve described how challenging this epilepsy roller coaster can be. It’s a ride I will never wish on anyone, but for me, it has been totally worth the challenges. The daily challenges are what drive me, and I have had the pleasure of joining so many other people on this roller coaster. While it definitely has its wild twists and turns, it’s a ride we can get through together. I would love to hear what your ride has looked like! Let’s Go As you get settled to ride a roller coaster, the first thing you do is fasten your seat belt. That’s also the first thing I did too (sort of). I was living the 9-year-old’s dream — playing with friends, going to school, and killing it in Little League sports. Then one day, in a matter of minutes, it was time to fasten my seat belt, because I found myself in the back of an ambulance after having my first seizure. After having a few grand mal seizures in school, it was clear that I had epilepsy. It was time for me and my family to gear up for the upcoming epilepsy challenges. Hang On During Those Turns What fun would a roller coaster ride be without wild turns and twists? I know my epilepsy roller coaster has had plenty of these turns, and I bet yours has too. I was cruising along just fine throughout middle school without any seizures, and then out of nowhere, they came back during high school. As I began my switch to high school, I had the pleasure of having to deal with those fun seizures again. I was able to slowly navigate my way through all this, but during it, I lost my license, dealt with serious side effects like double-vision and much more. These were some major turns on my roller coaster ride. Oh Boy, Those Are Some Steep Climbs We all know roller coasters have those steep climbs to the top of the ride. Well, many people with epilepsy know all about climbing from the bottom. We can get hit with some very scary challenges we don’t know if we’ll be able to overcome. When I found out I was going in for my SEEG, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t think it would last that long, consuming so much of my mental and physical strength. Feeling those auras and the after-effects of having my grand mal seizures again sucked, but in the end, we knew it was worth it for future treatments. It was a scary two weeks and only my parents and a few friends know what I went through. I never want to go up that climb again. Finally Some Calm Sections Every roller coaster has them, and so do we. They’re sections where we can just breathe. For me, these are times where I’m able to have fun with friends and family. Whether it’s going to bars downtown or sporting events with my family, these are times where I can forget about my seizures and just have fun. If I really want to forget about my seizures, you’ll find me on the golf course trying to break par, or out on the water enjoying the sun! It can be hard for me to put epilepsy aside, but I have so many people that help me. Time’s Up? Absolutely not. We know the majority of us will continue to ride this roller coaster for the rest of our lives. The challenges we get handed are not fun, but we deal with them. If I can give you one piece of advice; only control what you can control. Don’t worry about things you have no power over. We can’t schedule our seizures, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. It all sucks, but we can’t let this roller coaster ride hold us back from living our lives to the fullest. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! As we move along on our epilepsy journey, we now can see exactly how much it resembles a real roller coaster. It’s twists, turns, ups and downs. It’s not easy, but we deal with everything that comes our way.

Community Voices

How I'm Surviving Isolation During The Coronavirus

Well, it’s no secret by now that the majority of us are stuck in our home’s doing whatever we can to keep busy because of the current health situation the world is in. Whether you believe it or not, your lifestyle has changed. Yes, some people with epilepsy may be used to this a little, but for others like myself, it’s a big change. So, the question is, how am I enjoying this amazing time at home? Let’s find out!

Family Time Is The Most Important

This is a little obvious isn’t it? Yes, this entire situation is terrible, but I don’t think I’ve spent this much time with my entire family since before I went off to college. We have enjoyed family dinners with wonderful and sometimes crazy conversations, a few movie nights (Ford vs. Ferrari is amazing), and game nights just to name a few. We as a family have grown closer as a result of all this. Did I mention that my sister got a new puppy? So cute, but so much work! Finally, now more than ever has technology been a huge aspect in our lives. This past weekend, I had a virtual family game night with my entire dad’s side of the family. Hectic, crazy, but so much fun to communicate with everyone from different places in the country. Family is and will always be first.

Catching Those Throwback Sports Games

We know that all the major sports leagues are shut down, but I’m so grateful that they are replaying past championship, playoff, and major statement games now. Every night you can find my brother and me watching some game and by our reactions you would think it was the first time we’ve seen it. Sports has been an important part of my life, and being able to watch past games like this is fun even though some games can still get me stressed out! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely can’t wait to see all those stadiums filled up with fans again and being able to watch the games live. #BillsMafia

Still Spreading epilepsy Awareness

As you probably can tell, I’m still very active on my social media accounts spreading awareness. With all major epilepsy events canceled, it’s up to people in our community to spread awareness. Being able to sit down and write a blog or put together a post is relaxing for me, and it allows me to use my creativity which I love! Odds are, I’m probably doing all this while watching a football or hockey game. I’m taking this down time to really focus on reaching out to others in the community for help and advice. It takes one person to make a difference in our community, and every day I’m seeing hundreds of you making that difference. If you have any blog or social media post suggestions, shoot me a message 🙂

This is a situation I never planned on living through, but now that I’m in it, I’m trying to make the most of what I can while following social distancing. Stay strong and healthy warriors!

Kyle Kieffer

Dealing with Cyberbullying While Living With Epilepsy

Who updated their Facebook status, tweeted or posted a photo to Instagram today? Social media has become a huge factor in today’s society, creating so many opportunities. It has helped thousands of us share our stories, giving us the ability to inspire and encourage others. However, social media has also become a gateway for cyberbullying. Cyberbullying affects everyone, but those living with epilepsy already have plenty on their plate. Adding this to their fight makes that epilepsy mountain much bigger. I was blessed to work with a few people who have epilepsy to combine our thoughts on living with epilepsy and dealing with cyberbullying. Stay strong warriors! Aly (@acanfieeld): “Much like life, people are always going to be unfair. They’ll target the single deer in an open empty field. They do so to make themselves feel stronger than they actually are. Whether it is in person or online, bullies will continue to do this to make themselves feel better. Is that fair? No, of course not. What we can do as a community is be aware that there will be people like that and ready ourselves. When and if the time of confrontation comes, we may feel the urge to throw gasoline in the fire by responding. No response is still a response, it shows strength and will. We have a chronic illness — that doesn’t make us weak. We are stronger than the average person because we contend against a disease every day and still manage function. We function in a way that is productive to ourselves and those around us, and we don’t need to put others down to do so.” Breanna (@socal.epilepsy): “I’m lucky enough to not really have experienced cyberbullying when it comes to my epilepsy — I’ve had some pretty immature people make dumb comments on posts, but nothing that couldn’t be solved with a delete or a block. However, I do know of some cases where people specifically attempt to target those of us with (photosensitive) epilepsy by sending flashing GIFS and things to try to trigger seizures. What those people are doing is horrible, but I think a lot of it comes from immaturity and lack of knowledge. I don’t think it’s OK, by any means, nor does that excuse what they’re doing. But I think they may not really know how serious of a thing epilepsy or any disability can be. Basically, I just block the rude and ignorant people and continue to try to spread awareness to those that will listen.” Rainey (@raineymad): “Unfortunately, many people grow up not liking others who are different from themselves. They’re afraid, intimidated and possibly uneducated, just to list a few.  So when it comes to epilepsy and sharing openly about your medical experiences, you can get the reactions like I mentioned. People are often uninformed and afraid of epilepsy because they don’t know anything about it, so they are cruel about it. They mock seizures even though they’ve never seen one in real life, but have seen one on a movie (spoiler alert: there are dozens of different kinds of seizures and not all of them look like the Hollywood scary movie). I started sharing my epilepsy journey in hopes of educating people, giving others the courage to talk about their journey and to spread awareness about epilepsy! I was diagnosed with epilepsy at 20 years old — sharing my story and diagnosis did not come easy to me. Once I started sharing, people were confused and didn’t know what to say. Looking back at it, it’s because they didn’t know anything about epilepsy. So I modified how I talked about it; I educated everyone about epilepsy, but I would also tell people about my own experiences. Sharing my story was even harder because the internet can be a scary place. I didn’t know if I would be accepted by others or if I would be cyberbullied for being “different.” It’s complicated because the internet obviously leads to trolls and bullies, but it has also led me to a great community.” It’s unfortunate that we face an epilepsy mountain that challenges us both physically and mentally on a daily basis. To top that off, some people like myself have others online who are trying to tear us down. It’s not fair to those of us who are constantly trying to battle their epilepsy. After dealing with this firsthand and talking with others who have gone through the same thing, I wanted to give you a little advice to give you some comfort moving forward. 1. Say Goodbye First things first; block them! We all know how bad some comments and messages can get from cyberbullies, so why not just block them from all of your social media accounts? It takes five minutes to do, and it relieves you from worrying about when the next time he or she will strike again on your profile. We are already living with a ton of stress, so why not take the easy way to conquer these cyber bullies if we can just by blocking them? 2. Do Not Engage! If you’re like a lot of people, odds are you just want to engage with those who leave those nasty or negative comments. My tip to you is, do not even think about engaging with them. One of the biggest things I’ve learned throughout this is that those who leave negative comments aren’t as happy in life, while those who are leaving those positive comments are genuinely happier. I read hundreds of posts and comments a day in the epilepsy community, and we’re all pretty positive! Block your cyberbully and come spend time commenting or messaging some of us in the epilepsy community. There are a lot of us to talk to for support (and just to chat). 3. Family and Friends OK, you’re probably wondering what does family and friends have to do with cyberbullying? I can’t tell you how many phone calls and texts I had with either family or close friends for support. We know how important it is to have someone there by our side when we have a seizure. This is no different. I have a cousin who was probably sick of me telling her about it, but she was always there for me. Support is what gives us comfort through tough situations. Cyberbullies suck, but with support, you get over them real quick. Social media provides our community the opportunity to connect with so many different people across the world. It allows us to share our stories to inspire others, and more importantly, spread epilepsy awareness. However, it unfortunately is a floodgate for cyberbullies. While they do try to tear people down, I want to assure you that by no means are they as tough as your epilepsy battle. With a little help from others, and the use of technology, you can push those cyberbullies aside and get back to living your amazing life! Stay strong epilepsy warriors.

Kyle Kieffer

Supporting Loved Ones With Epilepsy

Those who are climbing the epilepsy mountain are strong, inspirational individuals. While I do believe each one of us can handle our battle, it’s important to have a strong support system. I wouldn’t be where I am in my epilepsy fight without my family, friends and doctors. They provide me with a sense of comfort, and I know I can go to any one of them when I feel down. We are strong people, but we are strengthened by the people who are carrying us. If you care for, know someone or just see a person battling epilepsy, these are a few ways you can offer them support. 1. Listen. It may sound simple and a little cheesy, but it helps a lot of us in the epilepsy community. When you’re supporting someone with epilepsy, listen to them first. When I call or text my friends, I tend to just vent stuff out to them about my seizures. They are patient with me and let me finish my venting. It’s a way for us to express what’s on our minds, whether it’s good or bad. When I’m supporting others in the epilepsy community, I always let them start the conversation first. They will get their thoughts and emotions out there, and then I can be there for support the rest of the way. 2. Change the topic. Epilepsy is a full-time job no one signed up for. It’s always good to change up the topic when talking with someone with epilepsy. With a few exceptions, not many people like to talk about their seizures all the time. If you’re out or on the phone with someone battling epilepsy, change the topic to something totally different! For me, it would be sports for sure. I have had times when I texted friends telling them to talk about any random topic just to take my mind off everything. I’ve also done the same for friends of mine who have seizures. It’s no fun talking about them daily and sometimes we just need a break! 3. Reassure them they are not alone. Like I mentioned before; we are only as strong as those around us. Sometimes we need to be reminded we are not alone in our fight. From family to friends to the entire epilepsy community, no one battling epilepsy has to go through it alone. There were definitely times when I forgot about this and had to be reminded. When supporting someone with epilepsy, you aren’t just helping one person, you are helping the entire epilepsy community. It may get hard at times as we go through rough patches, but these tactics should help you as you support your loved one, friend etc. with epilepsy. Now go out and be that support system for the epilepsy community. We thank you in advance for your help!

Kyle Kieffer

Overcoming Challenges in Life With Epilepsy

It was supposed to be a fun last day of the third grade. Instead, my life changed in a matter of minutes. All my friends were out on the playground while I was darting for the nurse’s office trying to make it there in time before I had my seizure. I was fortunate to make it so I could land on the bed as I fell during my grand mal seizure. The next thing I remember is waking up in my dad’s car driving home, along with some other details I don’t want to mention. On this day I was diagnosed with epilepsy, and my life changed forever. If you ask my parents, they will tell you that I embrace challenges. This was just one of many challenges in my life. This challenge came with multiple doctors’ appointments, medical exams and a few surgeries. I handled every one of those with ease! Like in golf, you must take it shot by shot. Obviously, the invasive surgeries weren’t fun, but they were experiences I will never forget. Challenges aren’t meant to be easy. I believe they were given to me because I can handle the stress and physical toll it takes. Enough about me; I wouldn’t be where I am without my family, friends, and medical professionals. When times got tough, I could rely on my parents for encouraging words or talks. I could count on my siblings for sarcastic jokes to make me laugh too. When you climb a mountain this big, you’re not always going to be around your family. I can’t thank my friends enough for helping me when we’re out. I can count on my friends to be there for me if something happened to me when my family wasn’t around. You’re not going climb your mountain alone; you will do it with family and friends from start to finish. This may be hard for some to grasp, but I believe you should use your epilepsy to your advantage. We have the power to inspire so many through social media, word of mouth, events etc. Go out and tell your story; people will be amazed! Show everyone how strong you really are because until you tell your story, no one knows what you’re going through except you. The best thing I ever did was tell my story, and it opened so many doors for me. This mountain may be big, but remember you aren’t alone through the journey. You will make it and have stories to tell others.

Kyle Kieffer

A Thoughtful Letter to My Good Friend Epilepsy

Dear Epilepsy, You’re a friend of mine that has been around for quite some time now. Throughout the years, you have been one wild, inspirational, foolish and positive friend. You have taught me more about life than almost any person in my life. From being knocked down by you literally to helping others who have friends like you, I couldn’t have gone through life without you. As much as I may have hated you at times, I will always appreciate you! I was cruising through the third grade with amazing friends and teachers. Life was great; hanging with friends, playing golf, and a little school in there too. My friends and I were super excited as the school year was ending. While enjoying school and all my other activities, a new friend came into my life — you. Your first impression on me and my family was “what the heck?” You scared everyone I knew in a matter of minutes. We didn’t know how beneficial you would become later in my life. While we didn’t see much of each other in middle school and high school, you came back in my life during college. You gave me experiences I will never forget in those four years. I had to introduce you to my friends, and that was truly one of the best things ever. My friends really cared about you, so thank you for that. However, I didn’t appreciate the late nights battling you. While I had support, battling you is on me. Because of you, I started a blog that has been internationally recognized and gave me a community service award. Having you in college was a big roller coaster ride for sure. You are still by my side now, allowing me to share my experiences with others on how to battle and live with you. Although you managed to take some major things from me, you are still in my life. I look forward to the many years to come, and hope we can have fewer battles with each other!