Hayley’s Life with Epilepsy
When Hayley was born 10 days before my 42 birthday, I had every expectation that she would be just as she seemed: a perfect, round, beautiful baby girl with slate-coloured eyes and a swath of dark curly hair. And she was. In fact as she grew, she became even more than my husband Paul and I could have wished for: bright, chatty, quick, smiley and loving. She was exceptional to us.
At the age of 18 months Hayley had her first seizure. We were just about to sit down for Christmas dinner at about 5 pm on Christmas Day. I had cooked a turkey for my side of the family so there were about a dozen of us. I picked up Hayley to put her in her high chair when suddenly she just threw up and then slumped lifelessly in my arms. My brother in law and father both had first aid training and they took her from me and looked her over as I called for an ambulance. The fire department arrived first and checked her out as the ambulance arrived. We traveled to the hospital in the ambulance and spent several terrified hours in the emergency ward. They examined her, took blood and X-rayed her. To this day she is very afraid of needles.
To date, Hayley has had over 60 seizures, most of them in the last 3 and a half years, most of them tonic clonic. She started antiepileptic medication 3 years ago last September with limited side effects.
This is what Hayley, now 16 and a half, has to say about living with epilepsy:
It is very hard living with epilepsy because I have to take special medication to be sure that I don’t have a seizure at school. If I did have a seizure at school I could fall down the stairs. I could actually die. This makes me feel frightened at times. I have had a lot of seizures lately so I have had an EA go with me to all my classes. I don’t miss out on anything though. My life is the way it should be.
For Purple Day, I have spoken at my old elementary school as well as to my LSB class at high school. I tell people about seizures and it shows people that I am a strong person. I have a learning disorder on top of having epilepsy. I thought it would be nice to talk to my class because they have their own issues so they don’t judge me. They understand.
One thing that I would like people to know is that I’m Hayley and I have epilepsy and I do a fantastic job of living my life with epilepsy. Epilepsy hasn’t changed who I am.