“All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the Challenge of science is to find it.”
— Philippus Theophrastrus Bombast that of Aueolus Paracelsus (1493-1541)
When I was diagnosed with epilepsy at 14, I was devastated and scared. I kept telling myself that I would only have to deal with this until they found a cure. Then my short time with epilepsy will have been like a dream, like it never happened.
Fourteen years later, half of my life thus far has been lived with epilepsy. The medication that keeps my seizures under control is a kind of temporary cure, but not the all encompassing end cure we all think of when the word is first spoken. Cure to me means nothing less than it’s gone. No traces left behind.
There are cases of kids and teens diagnosed with epilepsy that grow out of it. They become seizure-free adults, no need for medication. I have accepted that I will not grow out of it, something that even my parents and fiancé have a hard time accepting. I won’t grow out of epilepsy, but have I grown out of “cure”?
The more I learn about my own illness, the more I realize how little we know about the human brain, and how far there is left to go before disorders like mine can be cured. I don’t see it in my lifetime, so I suppose that I have grown to the point where I stopped believing in being cured.
I bring up this question because of all the people I know living with diabetes, I see the passion and belief in a cure more in the newly diagnosed, the children and the parents (of adults and children). There are exceptions (in fact I can name some friends off the top of my head who have lived with diabetes for years, are adults and believe a cure will be found…and sooner rather than decades down the road). But I have met so many people who just don’t believe it’s going to happen. You know the age old story, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?” Think of, “The Doctor Who Cried Cure In Five Years.” You start questioning the very existence of Wolf. Instead of dwelling on waiting, people start focusing on living the best life possible – chronic illness or no. The passion to talk about a cure and advocate for one is considered a cause not worth fighting for. Like fighting for something already lost.
Acceptance, in all it’s many levels and forms, is so important and empowering to living each day successfully, finding joy, and having a good outlook on the future. As for me, I have accepted that I am going to have epilepsy until God takes me off this earth. Note to researchers and the foundations and governments that fund them: Feel free to prove me wrong. I have a good support system. I’m not going to clasp my hands in front of my chest and be gleeful about it. My epilepsy has a rule book that keeps me from doing a lot of normal things.. The worst is paranoia. Every day there is a certain level. It stops me in my tracks at times. Dizzy spell, headache from nowhere, forgetting what I was saying. But my epilepsy could be a lot worse, and it could have taken a lot more from me.
I am okay with my epilepsy (as I write this post…today). I am okay with not having a cure. Now, would I be okay if I was holding my child in my arms, watching her lips turn blue? I’m going to go ahead and speak for future me with a resounding no. That would not be okay with me. I would read the research updates, find hope in progress, and hold myself and the world accountable for finding one. People living with epilepsy that suffer from seizures daily is not okay with me. Those “bad days” and scary moments that threaten to take my friends and family living with diabetes are not okay with me.
So as much as we might grow out of believing in a cure, many of us will grow up to believe in one.