I was not going to blog about anything personal until next year but after hearing that the Legendary Teena Marie passed away and was found by her only daughter. My heart fell into a deep pit of sadness that caused me to reflect upon my own experiences with Grand Mal seizures with my biological mother. I lost my mother at the tender age of nine years old from a Grand Mal epileptic seizure in 1976 and my baby brother passed away from an epileptic seizure in 1995..both individuals stop taking their medicines and the seizures return with such force that it took both of my love ones lives. My mother and brother both died at home from an Grand Mal seizure…
I will never forget the day it was discovered that my mother was epileptic. We lived in a tiny house in Trevose, PA. I was five years old when I stood in the middle of a small hallway peering at my mother. She stood in the tiny kitchen staring at me with blank eyes and was motionless. I don’t think she knew what was going on…I knew through child’s eyes that something was wrong. I will never forget that day. I called my Aunt Cassie on the phone who immediately came to our home to care for my mother and put me back in bed. I had crept out of bed in the wee hours of the morning because of the unfamiliars sounds taking place in the kitchen. My mother had pulled all of the water pipes out of the wall…water was everywhere. I must admit now I was a bit shaken, stunned and was thankful for seeing my Aunt Cassie come to my mother’s rescue.
The ambulance came and my mother was diagnose with Epilepsy and had to take Dilantin. She did for a moment and on occassion would forget, it did not help that she consumed alcohol as well…for years mother would have seizures at unexpected moments. Relatives were present to assist but in December 1976 while she was home alone and failed to take her medication, she had a Grand Mal seizure and passed away. I will never forget the looks on everyone face…my mother was 31 years old. I was pulled from my third grade class and taken home. My three year old baby brother sat at the foot of the stairs and told me Poo has died….lord have mercy did my heart scream from the news. I had lost my favorite girl.
Fastforward 1995: My baby brother Phillip was in the Navy on one of his travels to Germany when he blanked out… that is what the family was told by the Navy. He was retired from the Navy once it was confirmed that he was suffering from epilepsy. Lord knows that must have ripped his heart out…it was his career and it ended very abruptly due to his health. A year later he died from epilepsy and was found in his apartmet by an elder cousin of ours. The sudden lost was like someone ripping out the heart of many people, he was such a wonderful spirit.
When I read that Tina Marie died from a Grand Mal seizure it literally took the wind out of me. I was stunned by the suddenness but more so that she died alone and her daughter had found her. I instantly pondered about the individuals in my family tree who has suffered and died from epilepsy. No one has really advocated nor discusses epilepsy in a broad scope to help folks understand what is going on with them. In a lot of cases individuals diagnose with epilepsy stop taking their medication based on the advice of an medical professional or their own self procurement. This has lead to premature deaths to folks diagnose with Epilepsy.
Going forward into 2011, we all need to start learning our family health and medical tree. We must educate ourselves and be willing to become a support system. Often times we run away from our love ones when they suffer from a serious diagnosis or surgery, therefore leaving the family member to suffer in silence.
Back in the day I remember folks whispering that epilepsy was not hereditary…I never believed that for one second. My grandmother, my brothers, my mother and cousin has had Grand Mal seizures. I strongly suggest everyone to get tested by an neurologist to make sure that brain is function correctly.
True story: I was traveling to New York and I was waiting for a train. A caucasion women was sitting at the bar and she had a seizure. I knew instantly what was happening, everyone ran away but I could not because I knew she was epileptic. She did not know she was having seizures. Imagine walking around going in and out of epileptic seizures and not know it? You have no recollection of the seizure and in some cases hemorraging from the brain can take place….I watched my mother have seizures as a child and I will never forget how draining she appeared once her brain waves calm down, she did not remember having an epileptic seizure. What is devasting about it all is once a person goes in a series of seizures=they ultimately can die. It is important that if your diagnose with Epilepsy that you do not live alone and never stop taking your medication.
May all of my brothers, mother, grandmother and Teena Marie R.I.P. and May God Continue to shine light on their souls!