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Dear Epilepsy, An Exercise in Embracing What Is.

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This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from March 1 through March 31. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

Once again I am honored to be part of the Living Well with Epilepsy blog relay.  My husband’s epilepsy is something that we have had to (I admit, begrudgingly) embrace to live happier. To be honest, it has required some creativity in how we design our lives.

Dear Epilepsy,

I have tried to fight you in the past but the more I fought, the more you won.  I can’t say I am grateful for you and what you have done to my husband and how you have affected our lives. I can say, I am grateful for my husband his sensitive, creative, intuitive, loving self, and I know you have helped create that man. And as much as it pains me, I will give you some of that credit. Because of you, he has had to find new outlets for his stress and self-expression (his creativity), he has had to cultivate more understanding and empathy, and he has learned how to set healthy boundaries and engage in amazing self-care.

As for me, you have taught me some very valuable lessons:

  1. You have made me face my worst nightmare, every time my husband has a grand mal I face the reality of…will he come back from this the same person?
  2. You have made me accept that I have no control. You are always in control. You can pull a seizure out of thin air no matter how diligent we are. But I can control my reaction to you. I can live not in fear but in the hope that we will one day be free of you. This waiting for the other shoe to drop aka waiting for the next seizure is a place I refuse to live. But I have learned (thanks to you) there will always be a little waiting for that proverbial shoe, but waiting doesn’t have to mean stopping. Living in fear won’t help.
  3. You have taught me while the medical community knows a lot, they know very little about you, and that too has brought me to acceptance. I will always fight and help the doctors find a cure, but I won’t rely solely on them.
  4. You have enhanced my power of empathy.  This lesson is a big one. I have learned a whole new level of understanding when my husband can’t find a word, forgets a significant event in our lives or has a day filled with rage (medicine side effects). You have taught me that love, compassion, and empathy go a long way.
  5. You have inspired me to live a life that is best for us and worry less about what other people think. For my husband’s health, he chooses not to work, and that has been a challenging decision for us. But one I know is right and best for us.
  6. You have showed me the only way out is through, and the key to it all is acceptance of what is. Hands down the biggest lesson you have taught me is that you are what you are, and the best way to live with you is to embrace whatever comes up the fear, anger, resentment, insecurity as well as the gratitude when you aren’t around. If I don’t embrace those feelings and let them dissipate you will win.

Epilepsy, no matter how much I wish it weren’t so, you are a part of our relationship. You influence it, but you don’t control it. You play a role, but you aren’t the primary player. You make your presence known (usually at the most inconvenient times), but you aren’t present all the time.

I know we will continue to learn from you and for that I am grateful.


Nancy Jane

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post by Freya Symes at Finding Freedom with Epilepsy for more on Epilepsy Awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit

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