akronchildrens.org

Epilepsy doesn’t rule my daughters

may13

Hi, I’m Stephanie (Fish) Grams, the mother to 4 daughters, 2 of which have epilepsy. Angelika is 21 years old, Sierra is 19, Autumn is 17 and Savannah is 14.

I’m no stranger to epilepsy, as my youngest sister, Victoria (who is now 23 years old) was first diagnosed with epilepsy as a toddler (she too went to Akron Children’s until she reached adulthood).

Angelika was a healthy, normal 11-month-old child with no medical issues. One evening she was playing with her Aunt and she went into a seizure. At the time we didn’t recognize it as a convulsion simply because we had only ever witnessed the type of seizure that makes a person’s eyes sort of look “backwards. Angelika’s seizure made her look “dead.”

She was taken by ambulance to a local small town hospital that could not care for her so they had her Life Flighted to Akron Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Thomas Enlow became her physician for many years.

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Angelika is now a high-functioning, young adult who has some health issues due to the many years of being on epilepsy medication. Through all of her years of seizures we have learned that life is a journey and that every moment is precious.

She is the most determined young woman I know and has been a fantastic example to her younger sister Savannah.

Savannah was first diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 3. Her story is a little different.

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Me with Angelika.

Savannah was a healthy baby with no health issues. She had her first seizure at 2, during a time she was fighting off a strep and ear infection.

She was first treated temporarily for febrile seizures, as many times those types “go away”…perhaps the child outgrows them. Then by the age of 3, Savannah had a full blown grand mal seizure with no fever so we took her to our local ER to be treated.

The following day I called Dr. Enlow, since he knew our family history, to see if he would please check out Savannah. He saw her right away and after testing, diagnosed her with epilepsy.

Savannah has to take medication daily, just like her older sister, to control her seizures. They have good days and bad days, but overall they are functioning to a level of “fantastic” and are overcoming every hurdle that comes their way.

I have taught my daughters not to focus on the “can’t does” in life but the “what can I do differently.” They are both determined and intelligent young ladies who are creative in how they “do life.”

I hope other families who are affected by epilepsy are inspired to do life differently with a positive twist while educating others on the subject of epilepsy and how it affects a person’s life.

Don’t let anything get in your way to live the life of your dreams. When you are faced with a life-changing illness, take that chance to make it wonderful.

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