To Be A Wife With Epilepsy
When we were engaged to be married, we were on cloud nine with love for one another, goals and dreams for our future together as husband and wife coming together like cotton white clouds in a blazing stained evening sky. Not to mention moving at the rate of Speedy Gonzalez planning our wedding. The two of us were in our early twenties. Chris had not long ago, graduated from college and I a simple but enjoyable job. We picked out our first home. It wasn’t big, but it was a nice place to begin our lives together. We were both so excited to get started on life as husband and wife. To feel that experience. To know that experience. However it may be. We were just so happy to be together, to have a home and dream of what would come. Cooking dinners. Taking care of my husband. Maybe a dog or cat. Children. Each vow we spoke at our wedding, the both of us vowed to keep no matter what. The vow of “In sickness and in health” we did not see coming just four months from the time that we got married.
I was met with a grand mal seizure at the age of sixteen years old. I could have never predicted that on the morning of December 11th, when my husband left for work and I got out of bed, got dressed and left the house to buy Christmas gifts for my husband and family, and birthday gifts for my husband, that seizures would reappear in my life. This time for good.
I’ll never forget waking dazed. Fading in and out of consciousness in the back of an ambulance asking the paramedic what had happened. When he told me that I had been in a car accident and that I had had a seizure, I felt sick to my stomach and I believe I passed out for a moment. Coming to, I asked the paramedic to call my husband. I vaguely remember hearing his voice.
Lying in the ER room with a neck brace on, attempting to absorb all that had happened, reflecting on life, the future, a million things, I felt as if my whole world was crumbling. When Chris walked in the room, my heart, my soul, fell apart and I was never more happy to see the love of my life. Yet, at the same time, I reflected back on our life and the future. I thought, “What does this all mean?”
A while later, after much testing, I received the diagnosis of having epilepsy and that I would have epilepsy for the rest of my life. My heart felt as though it had been shattered to a million pieces. The light in my soul felt as though a chilling wind had quieted the flame. I listened to all that the doctor had advised. His regiments. His requirements and so on.
This was to be my new life. Our new life.
Things only became worse. I could no longer work. Our home. Our very first home we picked out together after becoming married, we had to say good-bye to after financial troubles. It took quite a while and a lot of love and support from family to pull myself together, having slipped into a depression. This experience was so hard for not only me but for my husband too, in his own way. Watching the person you care for the most struggle on top of life giving the both of us one heck of a beat down.
So often I found myself plagued by guilt, frustration, sometimes anger at the circumstances for my husband being the sole provider. My caretaker in certain moments. A variety of things that I could no longer do that he had to take over or manage. I didn’t feel so much like a wife in those days.
I am so thankful to my husband for being the loving, generous, and supportive husband that he is. Knowing and understanding the emotions that at times the circumstances caused me to feel.
Having epilepsy has not been an easy journey for either one of us. So often I’ve heard of husbands or wives, boyfriends or girlfriends, relationships falling apart because they just cannot handle the stress, the difficulty that comes with the journey. Yet, we made a vow. He always remind me that no matter what, we’re in this together. For better or for worse.
There are times I find myself standing alone and tears flood my eyes and stream down my cheeks. My husband has done so much for me since becoming diagnosed. I know with certainty that if he could he would heal me. He’s even said that he would take the condition on himself if he were able, which I would never desire this for anyone.
He has given so much and helped so much, sacrificed so much just to help me. Just to do whatever he can do to make life easier for me. To get me that much closer to healing me if it could be done.
I wish I could give him the world. He deserves so much. His desire for me is to be well again and my desire for him is to be happy. The amount of gratefulness that I have within me for my husband is endless because I know that the way in which he takes care of me, I could never match this.
There were times in past, I would think to myself, I aught to let him go. Free him of the stress, anxiety, the burden of caring of a person with this medical condition. We spoke about these conversations lovingly and again I am so thankful for a caring and compassionate husband who reassures me that we are in this together.
So often I’d struggled with living with epilepsy. Wanting to be that “dream wife”, wanting to see our dreams and goals come to fruition. A home would have to wait a little longer. Children, we were no longer certain what we wanted to do in this regard, there was very much on our minds. Chris has always kept me strong. My rock. My reassurer that goals and dreams don’t die unless you allow them to die. Strengthening me each and every day.
I admire my loving husband and though this condition barged into our lives, it’s only brought us closer rather than driving us apart. He’s not only an amazing husband but an amazing creation of God. I’m so blessed to have my best friend and biggest support along with me on this journey. There is no one else I would want to take this journey with and no, I could not have made it without him.
It’s not always easy being a wife with epilepsy. Yet, it can be done. Each day is a challenge. The important thing is to consider all involved in the circumstance and absorb the positives. Be grateful to God and for who you have in your life. Be one anothers’ rock. Be one anothers’ reassurer.
Remember your love for one another consistently. Love always wins.
Karl Stuart Kline
My first wife and I both had epilepsy from childhood, but we had the most wonderful marriage imaginable – 17 years until I lost her to breast cancer in ’97.
Since then I have gotten married again and fortunately my second wife has been very tolerant and understanding with my disability…
If you’re curious, you can google my name and the book titled “Going Without Peggy” to learn the story of my first marriage. It’s very readable and you’ll both laugh and cry before the end of it… Perhaps even be left with the sense of wonder that I still feel when I muse on my good fortune that she was a part of my life.
Wow. Tiffany, as I read your words, I felt I was reading my own narrative. So much of this spoke to me. Thank you for your strength!!
Your story brought me to tears. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 9, and now at age 42 they can not be controlled with medication. I haven’t been able to work since 2001. I never thought I would find someone who could accept me, daily seizures and all. To my surprise, a year ago I met the greatest man I have ever met. He loves me, and is so patient and kind. I understand the guilt you said you felt, because I often feel guilty that he needs to care for me, but he never waivers. I’m sorry for rambling. I’m happy that you have found happiness.
Hi Gretchen –
You’ve been on the journey 33 years, wow! I commend you for your strength and courage! Doctors are having a difficult time controlling mine with medication as well. I left work due to the inability to control my seizures. That is wonderful that you’ve found a kind, caring, compassionate man who is willing to walk with you along the journey. A lot of partners are frightened away or exhausted away unfortunately. You weren’t rambling at all, thank you for sharing with me! God bless!
I’m a wife and a mother to two beautiful healthy girls. I’ve had quite a few seizures since being married for 5 years now and it definitely helps having a supportive spouse. I don’t let being epileptic stop me from doing the things I love. If you want to work you should be able to do so, if that’s what makes you feel happy. Basically do whatever makes you happy, healthy and safe!
Beautiful! You get right to the HEART every time.