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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Journey

Someone from the Epilepsy Foundation called and asked me to write a few paragraphs on why I walk every year in the Summer Stroll for Epilepsy. They tell me they will be using my story in the media to advertise for this year's walk. 

As I sat down to write, it felt cathardic to look back and see how God can use my "broken self" for His glory! I was surprised at how good it felt to know that all the heartache of my youth was to prepare me for my ultimate job in life...being a mother.  Read below about our journey with epilepsy, and consider walking with us June 12th this year at the Detroit Zoo.

When a girl is twelve, she wants to be like everyone else. “Normal” is a label that a young teen desperately seeks. When I was twelve, I had a grand mal seizure on a family trip to Florida. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and my life changed forever. For years I struggled, not committing to take my pills, fighting with my parents, and acting out socially as if fighting the world meant it wasn’t true. I kept it a secret from everyone, knowing that I couldn’t be considered “normal” if I shared. Even as an adult, I refused to let epilepsy define me. I would push all my physical limits and dare epilepsy to put restrictions on my life.

Then I became a mother.

And when I looked into my child’s eyes, I made a promise to God to protect, love, and cherish this sweet life that had been entrusted to me. I fell head over heels in love.

When my 18 month old, Carter began showing signs of seizures, we began the same journey to diagnosis that looked totally different from a parents’ perspective. I cried and fought feelings of guilt, but mostly a gut-wrenching fear. And yet again, I found myself fighting. But this time I was fighting for my child. I decided that this journey will be different for Carter. No hiding, no shame. It was then that I decided I would CELEBRATE the beautiful and wonderful spirit of my son. It was time to do something positive to help Carter’s journey (and many others) be a joyful and hopeful one.
The Summer Stroll for Epilepsy is a perfect opportunity to surround ourselves with amazing friends and family. A time to enjoy a beautiful summer day together, eat, laugh, dance, and raise awareness for an affliction that is still so misunderstood. It’s about creating happy memories for my son to cherish, knowing he is abundantly blessed. There will be no memories of shame for my son. Memories from this event will likely give him the gift of support and empowerment for years to come.

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