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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Decision

So before I get to the actual decision that needs to be made, you need to know some background information.

Hospital Visit

Most of you probably know that I went into the hospital in May for long term monitoring, where I was hooked up to an EEG 24/7 for a few days. During the visit, we found that my recent seizures are what are called "non-epileptic seizures." This means that they are not actually caused by abnormal electrical activity in my brain, but are actually caused by my mind. There is something sub-conscious that is causing a physical manifestation that resembles a simple-partial seizure. That doesn't mean that all of my seizures were of this type. The seizures that I had when I was younger were in fact epileptic seizures. Apparently non-epileptic seizures are fairly common in people who also have epileptic seizures.

At the end of the visit one of the doctors said that since I have been 10 years without an actual epileptic seizure, I may be able to come off of my meds. At the time I said no because I wanted to try to get the other seizures under control first. I thought that coming off of the meds would cause more anxiety and potentially cause them to get worse. They did, however, take me off of one of the meds, and I am down to taking only Lamictal.

I have since learned how to better control those seizures. They're not 100% gone, but the ones that do happen are insignificant compared to what I experienced in the past.

Recent Happenings

Recently I have been having a hard time breathing during and after some of my workouts and at some cheer practices. I have now been to a few doctors trying to figure it out and they have found nothing. Then it came to me that it may be a side-effect of my meds. I looked it up and sure enough "shortness of breath" is listed as a "rare" side-effect, but yet I found a lot of people on-line complaining about it. I thought about it a bit and realized that my breathing seems to be at its worst when I take my meds before a workout/practice. I have recently been taking my meds after practices, just because it's more convenient, and haven't had as many issues.

Decision

So now I have a decision to make. I want to talk to my doctor about coming off of my meds, but like all of the other med changes, it's one of the most terrifying things that I can think of. At the same time, I have never in my life had the luxury of not having to open a bottle every day that says "may cause drowsiness." The few times that I've tried it didn't last long enough for me to actually get to enjoy that feeling. It's something that I have always wanted - to not take pills twice a day and to know what life feels like with no side-effects.

At this point this is not only my decision. I still have to talk to my doctor, and it will obviously need to be a joint decision. But if we do decide that it's something that I should try, I will need support from all of you. It's not something that I want to go through alone. I know that I have friends and family who are there if I need them, but I may need a little more help than usual.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Doctor Visit

I just realized that I said I would blog about my doctor visit and never did... so here it is

Pre-visit

Last week I sent to my new neurologist at the Strong Epilepsy Center, which is awesome because now I get to see an epilepsy specialist instead of a general neurologist.

Before arriving, they sent me a questionnaire about my medical history and whatnot. It was like 10 pages, and I actually didn't know a decent amount of it. "At what age did you take your first step? ...walk on your own? ...say your first word? ...say your first 3-word sentence?" That's just a few of the ones that I didn't know, which my mom didn't know either. (Mom knew some of the other stuff that I couldn't answer)

Visit

So I get there, the doc (Dr Bonno) is reading the book that they call a questionnaire, and asking me questions along the way. About 30 minutes later, we're pretty much done with those questions and move on to more questions. Then the usual neuro exam... walk on your tip toes, walk on your heals, walk in a straight line, touch your nose then my finger, etc. etc. etc. (I've done it so many times now that I could administer the test myself.) After the test more questions. Then the reflexes thing (hitting the knee with the hammer, rubbing the hammer on the bottom of the foot, etc.) Then more questions... I think you see where this is going. Lots and lots of questions and conversing.

After much of this, about 1.5 - 2 hours in, she starts talking to me about epileptic vs. non-epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures are caused by over-activity in the brain, non-epileptic seizures are often caused by the mind - stress and whatnot that creates a physical reaction. She started telling me that epileptic seizures are not usually more than a couple minutes, so these are likely non-epileptic seizures (which is funny because my previous doctor said that it's not uncommon for partial seizures to go on for a long time.) Thinking about this, I come to the conclusion that such a thing is very possible considering my family's history of depression and other such conditions.

After a while, she decides she's going to consult with Dr Berg (who I somewhat know from the epilepsy foundation.) At this point I've been there at least 2 hours. they come in and Dr Berg is asking questions, a lot of which were similar to the previous line of questioning. Asking  mostly for a brief history of my seizures (mostly the more current ones) and my auras, rather than most of the other stuff that we talked about. After about 5 minutes, the two of them leave the room once again to chat.

A few minutes later, Dr Bonno walks back in by herself. She tells me "alright, you're complicated." Great, I kinda knew that already, but thanks. Dr Berg thinks that since I often get the same aura with these partials as I did with the tonic-clonics, they may in fact be epileptic seizures. However, Dr Bonno thinks that they may start as such, then continue on as non-epileptic, or may be non-epileptic entirely. We don't know for sure right now, but 3 hours after walking in, I'm finally walking back out.

Conclusion

So where do we go from here? To the hospital. For about a week. They're sending me in for "long term monitoring," where I will be hooked up to an EEG and monitored 24/7. Dr Bonno told me to expect 5-10 days, the lady on the phone (who made my appointment) said 3-5, so I'm going to say 3-10 days that I will be in the hospital. They will be taking me off of my meds (or at least lowering them) and waiting for me to have a seizure, so that it can be seen on the EEG.

They have wifi so I can have a laptop or "handheld gaming devices," I can obviously have visitors, and can have someone spend the night with me if I want, I can bring my own clothes - as long as they don't go over my head... because of the wires connected to it. But overall I get to sit, bored as all hell, in the hospital, waiting to have a seizure for up to a week and a half.

I go in May 6th at 2pm, so you better come see me :-P

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tattoo - Epilepsy Foundation Logo

3.25.15

As some of you know, I'm getting a new tattoo of the Epilepsy Foundation flame logo wrapped around the Master Sword from the Legend of Zelda series. This is an image that I put together quickly from images that I found online.


To me is symbolizes cutting through epilepsy, but the flame (the Epilepsy Foundation) is also giving me strength by forging the sword.

The sword design that I picked is from the Skyward Sword game, which is the first in the Zelda timeline. It's not just the first game currently in the timeline, it is the first possible appearance of the Master Sword in the timeline. In the game you forge the sword from the flames of the goddesses, which is why I see the flame as part of that forging process.

I'm supposed to get the final drawing from the tattoo artist today (3/25/15) and start the first session of the tattoo on Friday (3/27)
I will update this post with pictures at each step.


Update 3.26.15 - Drawing from the artist




Update 3.27.15

It took 3 hours, but it's done and it looks amazing


Step 1 - Outline


Step 2 - First Coloring


Step 3 - And Final Product - Sword Detail




Update 4.24.15 - 4 weeks later

There are a few spots that scabbed pretty badly and are still healing. Therefore, those spots are a little fainter than the rest, but they should look fine soon. If not, I can always get it touched up slightly. 
Also, the lighting and the angle are different than the original pictures. so some things are a little different in real life than how it looks in the picture (though,it definitely isn't as bright as it was on day one, especially the green, but that is to be expected.) 
This picture was me taking a picture of my own leg in a computer lab at work, and the others were the artist taking the picture in the studio. I found that it's kinda tough to get a good picture of the back of your own leg.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Am I crazy?

So... am I crazy?

I'm sitting here thinking about the fact that I am in constant pain on the right side of my body, so much so that I'm debating taking Ibuprofen before bed. Yet I still go to the gym multiple times a week (doing both cardio and weights) I still cheer as often as I can (and I'm even planning on doing a partner stunt routine next year) and I still do it with a smile. So I ask again... am I crazy?

I don't know what the outside world thinks, but I don't think I am. I'm doing what makes me happy in life. Right now those things are getting more and more difficult to do, but I'm not going to stop because I'm a little sore (OK, maybe a lot sore.) That's life. Things get sticky and we have to push past everything that is trying to hold us back. I keep saying it and I'm going to keep saying it... I've never let anything get in the way of doing what I want to do, and I'm not going to change that. Regardless of seizures and the pain that they cause.

Pain/soreness has just become that guy that nobody likes, but he hangs with you anyway. The guy that people learn to put up with because you just can't get away from him for any extended period of time. You ignore him hoping that eventually he'll get tired of trying, and that he'll just go away, but he doesn't. (You've all had someone like that at some point, admit it.)
I've learned to deal with it. I've learned to look past it. To "ignore" it as much as possible. I can go a while without hurting by just not paying attention to it, but eventually it comes back. On the rare occasion that it is finally gone for real, something happens and it's back again. Maybe not as bad, or maybe worse, but it always comes back.

Pain is my body's way of saying "stop you idiot!" but my heart is saying "I can't stop!" and I've learned to always listen to my heart. Life is about doing what makes us happy. What are you doing if you can't be happy? You're doing something wrong, that's what you're doing.

A lot of people say that you "have to think about the future," and say "don't do anything stupid." Some would say that what I am doing is "stupid," that I am putting myself and my body at risk and I'm not "thinking about the future." But I don't care what others think, and I'm sick of thinking about the future. Sometimes you need to think about the present. Make the best of now because you'll never have now back, and you may never get to see the future that you are thinking about.

I've done a lot of stupid things in my life. Some of them were really stupid... truly, very stupid. But most of them made for an awesome time and an even better story. If I'm being stupid by continuing to workout and continuing to cheer, then I'm fine with it because I'm having an awesome time.

The worst of the stupid things I've done in life aren't at all things that I've done... they're the things that I haven't done; Things that I made a conscious decision not to do, for whatever reason. Most of those reasons weren't good reasons, they were just reasons. This time I'm making a conscious decision to do something, and I know the reason - because it makes me happy.

So for the last time I ask... am I crazy? Maybe. Do I care? No. I know a lot of crazy people, and most of them are good friends and/or family.

Phantom Seizures

I think I've been having more and more "phantom seizures" as I will call them.

The other night I was at my computer and was just fine, then I could faintly feel a seizure. Parts of the right side of my body were twitching. Not enough for anything to really move, more like just the muscles themselves slightly tweaking out. After a couple minutes, my shoulder was sore, right under the shoulder blade - and by that I don't mean lower down my back from the shoulder blade, I mean below the skin is the shoulder blade, below that is muscles. That muscle hurts. And it has before, seemingly for no reason, but now I'm understanding why.

At the hockey game tonight, about halfway through, my right knee started bothering me. Again, I didn't really feel any physical symptoms. No part of my body was actually moving, but I knew something must have been happening because it suddenly hurt. I payed attention to my body a bit, and could slightly feel the feeling in my head that I get before/during/after a seizure. Then later, after the game my, shoulder started hurting again. Now my arm hurts, mostly around my elbow. So basically it's enough to make me sore, but not enough to notice what's going on.

As I've stated before, this makes a lot of sense because this kind of thing happened a lot when I was younger; I would hurt for no reason. I went to the doctor multiple times as a kid for my right knee, and they couldn't tell me that anything was wrong. Over the past few years (maybe the past 5-10 years) my shoulder would randomly get this pain, but not as often as my knee. I'd go to do something with my arm and I'd feel this sudden intense pain, right where I feel it now. Sometimes it hurt enough that it took a while to get my arm back to a neutral position. The pain would go away within a day or so at most, but it still sucked. The question now is - how often do these really happen? Obviously more often than I realize.

I wish I could do something, anything, to make this pain go away. Being sore 24/7 is getting really annoying. I guess it's time to get a protein shake before going to bed.



NOTE: this was written about midnight, so I waited until morning to post it so that people would see it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Seizure News

Some good news and bad news:

Bad news: I woke  up at about 5:30am Tuesday morning during a seizure. The first thing I felt, before eve trying to sit up, was my hand doing its thing - squeeze then relax, repeat the process for however long it wants. About 15 minutes in I took an Ativan (which is supposed to stop the seizure and knock me out) and no change. Another 15 minutes and I took another Ativan. Still nothing. Since the bottle says "take 1-2" I figured it is now time to go to the hospital.

I live right almost directly across the street from the hospital (I'm set back a bit in an apartment complex,) but with the cold weather, and 2 Ativan in, I decided that walking down slippery outdoor steps and across a street while groggy and seizing was not a good idea. I didn't wan't to pay ambulance fees if I didn't have to, since it wasn't a dire emergency, so I had my mom come get me. It was probably about 7ish when we got to the hospital (time is relative since I was drugged up and my mind was literally fried.)

I spent roughly 8 hours in the hospital having seizures for roughly 3-4 of those hours. They gave me an EEG during one of the seizures and the results somehoe came back "normal." Again. I asked over and over for food, but they didn't bring anything until 1pm, so the last time I had eaten was probably 6ish the night before. Now that I think of it, I don't think I ever got my morning meds (or maybe they gave it to me at the hospital and I don't remember.)

I don't remember most of the rest of that day except my mom taking me back to her place, eating McDonald's, hating her dogs for waking me up continually, then going to bed at like 7 (ish of course).

The next morning, I woke up around 6 so that my mom could go to work and I could decide whether or not to go to work. It was indisputable "no," so I spent most of the day sleeping. Today tried to go to work, was there like 2 hours and had to come home. After some sleep and still feeling like crap, I got up and had some lunch meat to eat. Suddenly I felt a lot better. I then had some Goldfish crackers, a pop-tart, and a bowl of cereal. Felt a little better still.
I thought back at what I had recently eaten - sandwich at 1pm Tuesday, McDonald's 4pm Tuesday. Eggs and toast 6:30 am Wednesday, A sandwich and snacks most of the day Wednesday, a small "dinner" at an Al Sigl event Wednesday night, and pretty much nothing this morning - a granola bar and a cinnamon bun - because I didn't have much time to eat breakfast. So it made sense that food made me feel better.



Good News: I left one part out of this story: this morning.

Yesterday my doctor called and scheduled a follow up to the ER visit; That appointment was this morning. I talked to the doc, he asked me about the EEG and I said that the ER said that the results were normal. He mentioned that he had received the same info. We talked about the med changes that I've been going through, and decided we that the Keppra (that I just got fully weaned off of) was not helping. I was on such a small dose over the past month that it would have no effect. The only reason I was still on it was to not cause my body to go through shock from withdrawal.

After talking about the medicine, we went back to discussing the EEG. He mentioned that since this is the second time that this has happened, my seizures are probably drug resistant; meaning that no amount of medicine is going to help.

He then told me that he is going to refer me to the Strong Epilepsy Program, which is pretty awesome. He said that they can talk to me about non-drug related treatments, and since they are constantly researching over there, they may have some cutting edge tech. The only small issue is that I'd have to pay for parking, and I hate that. But the benefits of possibly getting more control highly outweighs a small cost of parking. I also won't be seeing my current doctor anymore, which is kind of a shame because I liked him as a doc.

I should hear from Strong within 1-2 weeks, and they will setup an appointment with me. I can't wait to see an epilepsy specialist and see what the next step will be :-)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Witnessing my first seizure in public

With about 5 minutes left in the RIT hockey game tonight, I looked over to the pep band (1 section over from me and the corner crew) and saw a kid having a seizure in the middle of the band. I literally sprinted up the steps, over to the next section, and down to him.

One lady pretended like she knew what to do, but she had no idea. She just kinda got everyone out of the area and watched, so I took over. I rolled him on his side, like you're supposed to, and just kinda supported him in that position. There was a hoodie under his head, but it was basically just laid out with only a small part of it under his head. I saw the side of his head hitting the concrete and literally felt vibrations in the floor from his head hitting it. I yelled at someone in the row above me, who was also just kinda watching, and told them to take the hoodie, bundle it up, and get it further under his head so that it was actually doing something. Meanwhile, I'm trying to hold his head and body up just enough to stop his head from hitting the ground. Someone got the hoodie under his head and I set him down, still keeping him on his side.

As the paramedics came over, I kept him on his side until they could take over. The seizure was stopping, but he still wasn't there consciously. When the paramedics got the situation more under control, I left and let them take over. I went back to the corner crew, but I just couldn't stay. I went over to the band and reassured them that he was going to be OK. The band director came up to me, thanked me, and shook my hand. I proceeded to tell him that I have epilepsy, told him a little about camp and that I had never witnessed one outside of camp.

I've said before that I've witnessed a ton of seizures at camp, but it would catch me off guard and probably scare the crap out of me if I saw one in public. I was right. I'm kinda drained both emotionally and physically right now. I had to turn him on his side using mostly my right arm, and that is the side that is always weak from my seizures. I was supporting him (holding him on his side) with both arms, but he wasn't exactly a small guy, so that didn't help. He's not huge, but not as small as the kids at camp that I'm used to. (Plus I generally have help at camp.) All of that left some soreness in my arm.

Not only the physical, but also the mental/emotional stress. I've witnessed so many at camp, but this was different. I can't imagine what the band and their director are going through right now. I was on the verge of tears afterward, and I don't even know the guy. I know that they're all worried about him, but I hope that they are alright too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seizures triggered by diet?

I think I've found another of my seizure triggers: food (and/or nutrition.) For various reasons, I know that it is possible for diet to both cause and prevent seizures (depending on the situation)

It seems like a lot of these seizures are occurring when I haven't eaten in a while. I'm not necessarily hungry, just haven't eaten in a while.

I noticed a while ago that it seemed as if my seizure almost correlated with my workouts, but the relationship wasn't quite there. I didn't look into it heavily, but I did look enough to make the decision that "nah, I don't think that has anything to do with it." I still don't think that they are correlated... at least not directly.

Working out means that you need to increase intake. It makes your body require extra nutrients in order to maintain the energy level that you are used to. Specifically, working out mainly requires extra carbs and extra protein. I know most of you are thinking... "but I've always heard that low carb diets are the best!" Not quite true. Carbohydrates give you energy. If you workout without increasing your carbohydrate intake, your body is going to be lacking necessary energy. If you are trying to lose weight with diet alone, and no extra exercise, then a low carb diet is probably better.



A quick science/nutrition lessen:

Carbohydrates: There are 2 main types of carbohydrates - simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are things that your body can break down easily and use as short term energy. Complex carbs take longer for your body to break down, and therefore provide long term energy.

Some sources:
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/carbs/simple-vs-complex-carbohydrates.html
http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html

Protein: the main function of protein is to help your body repair itself and grow.

http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/nutrition/protein-in-diet/overview.html

Before a workout, you should have a mix of carbs and some protein. The simple carbs will give your body extra energy that will help kick-start your workout, some complex carbs will help sustain the workout, and protein will help your body to start to repair itself as quickly as possible. One of the best pre-workout meals is a PB&J sandwich. The PB provides the protein, the jelly provides simple carbs, and the bread provides complex carbs.

After a workout you generally need more protein than anything else. While working out you are literally damaging your muscle by causing microscopic tears. The muscles repair themselves over time, and are stronger after this repair process. Extra protein will accelerate this process, as well as allowing the muscle to repair itself more thoroughly, increasing strength just that much more.

The difference between these two requirements are why there are different protein bars for before a workout and after a workout.



So why all of this diet and science mumbo jumbo? Well, as a lot of you know, I've been working out a lot lately. Mostly walking (and running when my leg allows me to) and some lifting here and there. My body is in a constant state of searching for energy and repairing recent muscle damage from those workouts. Since it is constantly looking for these things, I need to constantly provide them. Constantly.

I seriously try to eat once every couple hours. Not necessarily a meal, but some fruit or a snack of some sort. Sometimes a "snack" is a sandwich, sometimes it's pretzels, sometimes it's whatever I can find. But eating that often is not always possible. When my body requires this fuel and can't find it, it doesn't know what to do. Lack of sleep and exhaustion are common seizure triggers... so my guess is that lack of carbs and/or protein may exhaust my body, possibly to the point where I start seizing.

Now all of this is just a theory... "A game theory"... Oh wait, this isn't YouTube (look it up.) But although it's just a theory, I think it has a lot of merit. It's seriously hard to eat enough to provide my body with what it needs. I am not usually tired, which means that I'm probably getting enough carbs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm getting enough protein. I said at/after camp that I didn't think I was getting enough protein, and that may have been causing the (many) seizures that I had at camp. That food was extremely lacking in the protein department, which is what brought that thought to mind. If I'm not getting enough protein, then my body could be overworking itself in an attempt to heal and, boom, seizure.

Now the question is, how do I provide myself with constant protein throughout my work day?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Treatment Options

As I sit here, having yet another seizure, I have to think about my future options.

I started on Vimpat last week, bringing the medicine count up to 3... Keppra, Lamictal and Vimpat. I am currently on 100mg of Vimpat and will double that to 200 a week from today. If that doesn't help (which it currently isn't) my doctor wants to do a long term EEG. For those who don't know, a long term EEG means that I would sit in the hospital for up to a week with wires connected to my head, waiting to have a seizure.

I think that his thought process is to see if I'm a candidate for a VNS. Again, I'm sure that a lot of you don't know what a VNS. Without going into a lot of detail, and doing what I can to explain while seizing, VNS stands for Vagus Nerve Simulator. It is implanted into your chest (around where they put a pacemaker) and it occasionally sends an electrical pulse to your Vagus nerve, which connects up into your brain. The electrical stimulation to this nerve can prevent seizures. If you do have a seizure, it can be activated by swiping a special magnet over the device and effectively stop the seizure, or at least lessen the duration of the seizure.

So after all of that, it sounds like a great idea. It would potentially help with my seizures (if I'm a candidate) so why not? Well, it is a surgical procedure to implant it. From what I hear it's outpatient surgery, so it's not incredibly intense, but it's still surgery. As a coworker pointed out to me, removal of wisdom teeth is also outpatient surgery, but that hurts like hell for about a week.

Not only that, but it requires a new battery every 4 years. So that means another surgery every 4 years to replace the battery.

The question I have to answer for myself: Am I having enough seizures to do this? Is it worth it in the end? I know none of you can answer that for me, but I need to think about it. Before I try the VNS, I'd like to wait until the medical marijuana goes into effect and try that. We'll see though. It's been a long battle so far, and I'm not about to stop fighting.

PS - it's been about an hour since this seizure started, and it's still going.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

21 years at Camp EAGR

So this is it. As of this year, I am of legal drinking age... in camp years.

21 years at camp is a lot of time. 138 days. 3312 hours. (calculations based on 6 days per week as a camper - 9 years as a camper - and 7 days as a counselor - 12 years as a counselor)

As always there were some highlights and some not-so-highlights

The week started off interesting. When we were out the night before the kids showed up, someone said something like "Is that Randy approved?" and that simple statement sparked a thought in my head... I need a rubber stamp that says "Randy Approved."

The next day we went to Walmart (as always, since that's about all there is in Warsaw) and while looking around I saw an address stamp. Of course, since it's an address stamp for personal use, it was customizable. It came with 2 sets of letters (each set with about 5-6 of each letter) and a pair of tweezers to put the letters on with. Of course I bought it, made my "Randy Approved" stamp, and started stamping everyone at camp... and maybe some logs... and some other random stuff.

Some of you may remember that I set a goal earlier this year. I hadn't climbed the rock wall in a few years for various reasons: My leg hurt, I sprained my foot, etc. Bottom line... I was too out of shape to try, and I kept making excuses as to why I didn't want to climb. Well, despite many seizures in the days leading up to the wall (I'll get into that later) I climbed the wall! It was the easy wall, and my body was basically destroyed already from seizure soreness, and afterward I was even more sore and almost dead from climbing a wall that I *really* shouldn't have climbed... but I made it to the top of the wall. I was determined, and I forced myself to do it. And I succeeded.

This year there were A LOT of counselors having seizures. Seizures are normal at camp (after all, it's a camp for kids with epilepsy) and most of us counselors are former campers turned counselor, but this year we had an exceptional number of counselor seizures. I myself had 7 seizures in the last 5 days of camp. 2 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday, and 1 every day following. My cabin had the rock wall scheduled for Thursday morning, so by that time I had already had 4 seizures and the right side of my body was absolutely killing me. By the end of the week, my right tricep and my right shoulder were so sore that I was actually wincing in pain during every seizure. I think I took 3 Ativan pills throughout the week, which is just unheard of for me.

The week ended with what is going to sound terrible, but was actually an amazing moment. Before that though, some back story.

Throughout the week, there was a girl named Grace who was in Camp COAST (a new addition to Camp EAGR which is for adults 18-25ish) who was having a lot of seizures. I had been helping Grace's counselors with her seizures whenever I had a chance. At meals Grace's table was right next to mine, so I was at their table helping out whenever I could. Grace's seizures weren't violent or anything, she just kinda lost consciousness and would slowly tip sideways or backward. The hardest part of caring for her seizures was just getting her into a safe and comfortable position. And the fact that she had a lot of them made them difficult as well.

Near the end of the week (Saturday morning I think) I started having another seizure during a meal. Lauren (Grace's counselor) knows me well, and knew that I was seizing. As we were walking out of the dining hall, Grace started having a seizure near the bottom of the hill. I started helping Lauren, as I had been throughout the week, until Lauren yelled at me: "You can't take care of a seizure while you're having a seizure!" Of course I argued with her until her co-counselor came over and Lauren made me leave, A few minutes later, my seizure stopped... or so I though. My leg had stopped shaking, but the seizure was still active.

Thinking that the seizure was over, I went back over to Grace and started helping with her seizure. Again Lauren yelled at me, but allowed me to help after I showed her that both my arm and leg were under control. While Grace is on the ground, and I'm crouched down helping keep her in a safe position, my leg starts going again. Now I'm having a seizure while caring for a seizure, which is exactly what Lauren didn't want. Luckily, Lauren didn't know. As it started into my arm, it got a bit hard to hold Grace, but I fought through the pain until the seizure was over. When Grace came out of the seizure we got her up and away from the hill, and all was well again.

The amazing part of this moment was just realizing, more than ever, that I can do anything at any time. I literally cared for someone else while I was having a seizure. Most people would have walked away and not looked back, but I couldn't do that. I wouldn't let myself do that. I had spent so much time caring for Grace that week that I had to take care of her before myself, because I KNEW that I would be OK. I knew that she would be too but I still had to help, just in case. As terrible as it sounds, it was seriously one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life. It's indescribable what I felt looking back at the situation.



So there it is. Camp 2014 in a nutshell. Of course, there's WAY more to tell than all of that, but I could spend days writing about both the ups and downs of camp every year. The "Randy Approved" stories alone could go on for hours.