I wanted to share my epilepsy story. Only, it's not my story. It's the story of my dear friend Stephanie who is unable to tell her story at this time.
On February 8th 2018, Stephanie suffered a 6-8 hour episode of epileptic seizures. Life for Stephanie or anyone that loves her would never be the same again. She clung to life, barely hanging on with the help of machines. It was unclear if Stephanie would survive. She remained on dialysis and with breathing tubes while her organs were near failure. But she survived.
After 35 days in the ICU and weeks in a coma, she was finally transferred to a rehab clinic and was minimally conscious at that time. She could breathe on her own. Her eyes were opened. She began to walk. At first, she had no right spatial awareness, and most of her right side was paralyzed. There are so many moments and moments within moments where she reached amazing milestones. She is a fighter.
At this time, it's not fully clear if Stephanie knows who anyone is, though most people who love her feel she does and you can tell who she is comforted by. She is able to write her name. She is able to kick and trap a soccer ball. She is able to walk without help for up to 9 miles. Perseverance is an understatement. She is curious. She is looking more like herself every day. She smirks. She feeds herself. She makes decisions. She listens to small commands. She's in there. I know it. And she has something to say.
She still has not spoken (okay, she did say "Shit" a few weeks ago out of the blue), but we believe that she will speak again, and you can hear her voice when she clears her throat. I believe she will laugh again. She is on a long road to recovery, and we may not know what her new baseline will be for another year or so, but she hasn't given up yet.
Stephanie is one of those once-in-a-lifetime people. She comes into your life and changes you forever for the better. Her positivity just radiates. And this still holds true even during this horrific tragedy. She was supposed to graduate from nursing school this past Spring. She wanted to dedicate her life to helping others. I want to note, that even during all the confusion, one thing she's always been able to do is express love. She kisses her parents, she kisses her friends, and she kisses the people she appreciates. It's her way right now. Somehow she spreads love even in this dark time.
Stephanie's courageous and undying zest for living continues to inspire me. She is what it means to be brave, and what it means to be strong. Because of her, I was inspired to leave my comfortable job and begin Find and Seek Design in her honor. A portion of all profits support non-profit partners in an effort to increase global happiness.
Stephanie's world is improving all the time. And thanks to her warrior spirit, so is mine.
Find and Seek Design is also about to launch our first official campaign in support of those living with epilepsy. With the unknown epilepsy can bring about in mind, I created a t-shirt design to encourage limitless possibilities. I am currently awaiting confirmation from the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation to be our first beneficiary, and I'm so excited! I attached a photo of the shirt as well.
I can't tell you how much Epilepsy Positivity means to those impacted by this condition. While I don't personally have epilepsy, as someone who loves a person that does, the positivity really helps to get through the harder days. I will continue to be a strong advocate and ally.
Thank you for listening."