“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe and more reliable than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin

My Name is Amanda Miller. I am 25 years old and Originally from Toronto, Canada, but now I reside in Orlando, Florida. I have been suffering from epilepsy since I was five days old until now. I do take medication every day and will continue for the rest of my life. I have had numerous amounts of surgeries from five days old until age 11.

I was born with a neurological disorder. While this chapter in my early life, Doctors and professionals were not sure if I was surviving until to see my second birthday. I was treated at Sick Kids Hospital Toronto, my doctor at the time was Dr. James Rutka he took care of me as well as his staff from five days old until I graduated from the hospital age the age of 18 years old.

At the age of five days old, where a VP shunt was put in place and inserted inside my stomach, a remained there until now it is placed so that leftover fluid from the brain and m can drain and make it into liquid. My shunt was accidentally blocked due to my inability to go to the bathroom, I was six years old, and had another surgery to replace it. While living with epilepsy, even though I am getting older, it has been challenging on a social, physical level I am learning to cope with.  I have to work ten times harder to achieve my goals because of my disorder. After experiencing a seizure, I usually forget things taught to me a day or two ago. Sometimes I do not remember things that were shown to me years ago. Memory is a huge issue for me. I still have to attend and have my blood checked to ensure I am getting enough meds in my system.  I still see four different doctors make sure I am on track with meds, physical development.

After all the surgeries, I got tons of therapy so, much so I received a gift and love for music, particularly vocal. This therapy type has never left me. I have been singing forever, especially after I am sick, music makes me feel better in the emotional sense.

During the formative years of my remaining life, epilepsy has affected me on a worse level.  I had an episode almost every day. I could not enjoy the things that every child loved to do dancing and directly, riding and swimming. Since the tender age of six, both my parents have tried countless times to learn but, due to anxiety and continuously, having seizures, my motor and memory was not cooperating to relearn. As a child, I was monitored continuously and reminded by everyone that was not normal and told of my lifelong condition. When attending Pre-School for me was a total mess, I did not get a chance to build the same and equal cognitive foundation as my fellow peers. I was purposely held behind academically and even stigmatized by everyone, including faculty.; My parents mainly my mother had me placed in special needs class from grade 5 until the eighth grade, not only did it stigmatized me, even more, I had to fight for my education and equality as a person with a disability.

By ninth grade, I was officially on my own which I intended, and my rank went behind as previously was, I was getting straight A’s and B’s, and for the first time, I felt accomplished about my education not smothered or emotionally drained. This accomplishment continued,

When attending high school 2009 – 12: I struggled to find myself considering, I was only sixteen, but socially speaking, making friends was not or has not been my strong suit. I wanted to join others and have a social life, plan a career, and even get a driver’s license. However, instead, I became scared, withdrawn, and depressed. Initially, I wanted to be myself, I somewhat that then be stigmatized by everyone. During my five years of high school, I had episodes of seizures every morning, pounding my brain on my way to school. This resulted in me sleeping for long hours and missing the early morning classes. Sometimes I was even drowsy throughout the day.

Now, twenty-five and a college graduate in the state of Orlando, Florida. I hope a degree in Literature and Writing and Rhetoric, and I have been accepted to the University of Central Florida with the major of Writing and Rhetoric. I am nervous and excited at the same time, but it will be worth it.

Living with epilepsy for the last twenty-five years has gotten challenging, either socially, professionally, personally, and academically. However, it’s taught me a huge lesson that I’m still learning and evolving, and I’m glad to say I’m finally living out my dreams of becoming a writer and contributor. I would teach those who still have the misinformation of the disorder or disease through my writing or life stories. Because, well, I have many stories, I’m glad I wrote it down.