As March break gets closer and closer, I subsequently find myself experiencing correlative bouts of jealousy when I tap in to social media and see plans of vacations to far-away lands and dream destinations. It's no secret to most that I spend my winters longing for warmer temperatures and the touch of beach sand on my feet (some days I follow the sun around my office, and I keep my Birkenstocks in the back seat of my car... just in case), and travel has always been something I have had an affinity for. But living with epilepsy makes for an added twist when you want to pack up all of your things and get away for a while.
It was an early morning and I was getting ready for school the way any 8th grader would when the home phone rang and it was my oldest sister calling in a voice of pure panic. She explained to my mother that while driving to their high school, my other sister had suddenly passed out in the car. There it was... absolute sheer panic. I could see it on my mom's face. The memory is as clear as if time stopped, permanently frozen. My entire family immediately entered into a state of the unknown. Life as we knew it at that moment had completely flipped upside down, never to be truly the same. For many years after that incident, my sister was in and out of the hospital after having episodes of what was mostly being referred to as "fainting" due to a lack of understanding of the medical problem. It took quite a long time for the actually diagnosis of epilepsy to emerge. From the very first episode until my sister's epilepsy was properly diagnosed and until she was able to find a way to...
Normally when I sit down to write for Epilepsy Durham Region, the words have a way of flowing out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard. When it comes to epilepsy and me, I have been the archetype of being an open book, and feel so lucky to act as an advocate for other people living with epilepsy, and taking part in such amazing events and adventures with this organization – all of these things are met with a passion that translates easily onto paper. But as I sit here and think about our February theme, family, I struggle to articulate all of the emotions I have; to speak of how epilepsy has affected me is the easy part, but to speak of how it has impacted my family has me at a loss for words.
Hi there, you all read about how Epilepsy affects the person, how a parent's life gets affects, but what about the siblings?? That's where I'm coming in.
My name is Jonathan Bolanos and I am 14 years old. My brother Julian has Epilepsy, in fact he has three forms of Epilepsy. He wasn't diagnosed until I was 10 and honestly, I really didn't understand what it was. All I knew was that my little brother who was 8 years old would constantly roll his eyes. Mom and dad would bring him back and forth to see his Neurologist and he was on tons of different pills.
"Mommy, did you have a seizure and forget that I only like my potatoes mashed?" asks my 5 year old, without a hint of amusement in his voice. When my sister heard, she laughed and then shared the story with Grandma and the rest of the family. To us, it's funny, but to a 5 year old whose mom started having seizures when he was 2, it's his reality.