Sun, Sand & Brain Surgery

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Although I’m not very technologically savvy and at times would like to bury my head in a hole, given the choice I’d do everything manually and be content; however, there are so many elements of technology which quite frankly, blow my mind.

Summer is hitting Seattle now (heaven!) and so the shorts, vest tops and summer dresses are dusted off, washed and worn.  With this in mind, on Saturday with the beau occupied with golfing, I ventured out to West Seattle which I am ashamed to say is the first time I’ve been since we moved here a year and a half ago.  It is there that the beautiful Alki Beach resides.  With its stunning white sandy beach, it is only a twenty minute escape from the city but feels like it should be an hour.  A new love that I discovered is yet another majestic view of the Seattle skyline from yet another beautiful angle.

It just so happened that by chance I met up with a friend that day too.  I haven’t seen her for a while as she travels a fair amount for work so it isn’t always easy to find the time to see each other.

It was earlier that morning that I received a voicemail from her saying that she would love to meet, sorry she hadn’t been in touch but she had been held up because she had had to go into hospital for EEG testing and subsequent brain surgery.

As we walked the trail and talked, it became clear that the experience had affected her as a person.  She was now so animated, her face and eyes were bright – it was like she had a new lease of life. As with all who have epilepsy, the daily seizures can slowly grind one down often leaving only remnants of the person they once were.  It conjures up depressive states, lethargy and feelings of utter helplessness and that’s just for starters.

She’s an incredible woman.  She runs her own business and prior to the surgery she was undertaking everything necessary to maintain the business.  She was having complex partial seizures numerous times a day and trying to deal with not only colleagues who treated her like a leper but also her family who continue to struggle with it too.

There had been so many changes.  She told me that she hadn’t had any seizures for eight weeks; she had moved, was living on her own and had separated from her partner; she was living closer to family members with whom she had a strong bond, and ultimately wanted to be on her own to get to know herself as she reveled in this change.

Having removed an overgrowth of scar tissue during surgery, her sight is greatly improved and she is able to use her peripherals again.  Additionally, her hearing has significantly increased.  She explained at first she had to wear ear defenders as the clarity was too much for her body to deal with.  It reiterated that having lived through the side effects of the drugs I had been taking it is only when things return to normal that you realize how bad they have actually been.

I got to thinking after that, how did we get so skilled that we can open someone’s skull and remove part of the brain safely so that it improves somebody’s health?  The research that has been done and the number of people that have been part of it is absolutely mind blowing to me.  Research into epilepsy still has a very long way to go and I don’t think it will ever be at the point where it is complete, certainly not in my lifetime.  But that is why fundraising is so important; generating the funds can give someone like Alice her life back.

This meeting spurred me on to begin another fundraising project.  Ideas have begun popping into my head at the speed that would give a popcorn-maker a run for its money so I am now busy plotting and scheming.  It’s tip-top secret for now, but watch this space for the shiny new campaign coming soon!

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