Amy E. Crane had a disorder in her central nervous system from her childhood. After s few years her doctor told her that her disease are not controllable by medication. But she experienced the presence of God even in the darkness and she was saved from death.
Throughout my early childhood, I feared those moments of darkness that struck unexpectedly several times a week. Unknown to me at that time, I had epilepsy, a disorder of the central nervous system.
I clearly remember the anxiety I experienced when I felt a heat rush go through my body and all that was around me dissipated from my vision. In the midst of my child play, I felt my life close in on me as fear trembled within my soul. As a result of my spells, I went to my knees and awoke with the accompanying thought, Am I going to die? Underlying my pleasant yet quiet personality was emotional turmoil that remained for several years.
To treat my epilepsy, my neurologist prescribed three medications for me. In spite of my taking many medications, my seizures reoccurred week after week, year after year. At age eight, I began searching for an answer to the mystery of my epilepsy. I altered my diet, looked for cause and effect relationships between what I ate and the timing of my seizures, and read pamphlets about seizures. Deep in my heart I held the hope that one day I would be cured of my seizures.
But years passed, and I continued having seizures that left me feeling exhausted and prevented me from participating in originally planned activities. Every time I left the neurologist’s office, I felt discouraged knowing that I would probably remain on medication and continue having seizures for the rest of my life.
After thirteen years of school, I graduated from high school with my class and entered college to study to be an elementary school teacher. Aside from not having my driver’s license and still experiencing one to three seizures a week, I studied several hours and made above average grades. I still held hope in my heart that one day I would be cured of my epilepsy, that which had caused me emotional struggles throughout my childhood and young adult life.
Before transferring to a four-year college where I would complete my degree program, I received a phone call from the receptionist at my neurologist’s office asking me to come in for an appointment. An appointment was scheduled as I anticipated hearing that the doctor again wanted to increase my medication.
While I waited for the day of my appointment to arrive, I became discouraged after having multiple seizures that were the result of studying many hours and contending with the ordinary stressful circumstances of college. Questions of doubt swept over my mind as I thought about all of the classes that I needed to take in order to graduate.
The day of my doctor’s appointment, my neurologist asked me the routine questions about my seizure frequency and the side effects of my medication. Then he presented to me an opportunity that I thought I would never hear. “”Amy,”” he said, “”you have the type of seizures that are not controllable by medication. However, your seizures are located in the part of the brain that is the most operable.”” My thoughts froze as I listened with amazement. “”If you are interested, I want to refer you to a clinic that can run several medical tests on you to determine if you are a candidate for brain surgery.”” My life’s dream to become seizure-free might become a reality, I thought to myself. I was stunned at the opportunity that lay ahead.
Having allowed God to be in control of my life and my health, I had peace within my heart that the decision to have brain surgery had already been made. After undergoing a MRI, a PET scan, an angiogram, and psychological testing, I learned that I was an excellent candidate for brain surgery. My lifelong prayer to be cured would soon be answered. All I needed was faith and courage to undergo the surgery where my brain would be operated on by a highly trained surgeon.
As I completed my last year of undergraduate studies and waited for my surgery to be scheduled for the summer after graduation, the intensity of my seizures increased due to the medication I was taking. One morning while I was in the college dorm bathroom preparing for another day of classes, I felt the onset of an aura. The next thing I knew I awoke on the bathroom floor, and my left arm was shaking involuntary. I had experienced a grand mal seizure, the second one I had experienced within a year. The reality of my condition struck my mind as I feared going to classes knowing that I could have another grand mal seizure at any moment throughout the day.
My desire to have brain surgery increased as I experienced an increase in seizures, and consequently, emotional turmoil. Although I know that there were risks of losing part of my vision or speech by having the surgery, I still remained at peace about my decision. The only way to end the emotional and physical struggle in my life was to have the damaged part of my brain removed that had triggered multiple seizures.
After college graduation, I prepared for the big day. Hopes of gaining a new life radiated in my heart as I counted the days before my surgery. When I left for Cleveland, Ohio in the middle of June, I carried in my heart the hope that in a matter of days, my life would be changed for the better. As I prepared to have brain surgery, I had the assurance that God was with me just as He had been when I was a child and had feared for my very life.
The morning of my surgery, I awoke knowing that in a matter of hours I would be under complete anesthesia with my life being sustained by the medical professional, but ultimately by God. As I lay in the cold operating room with medical equipment all around me, I was in awe as I meditated on the significance of that day. I would soon awake to a life I had never known.
After four-and-a-half hours of brain surgery, I awoke with a headache and the knowledge that God was with me throughout the entire surgical procedure. Four days later, I walked out of the Cleveland Clinic with a scar on the side of my head and a smile that reflected my thankfulness and gratitude for life.
As I recovered from my surgery, I began to heal both physically and emotionally. With faith in God and determination to have victory over my epilepsy, I filled my childhood dream to one day be cured of my seizures.
Having experienced the heartache and the victory, I now have a deeper understanding of why God allowed me to endure the triumph over epilepsy. Each day as I live a normal life, I thank God for walking with me through the dark valleys of death––for He was right beside me. Even through the writing of my book, He was there through every memory of darkness and light. Daily He gives me the strength to live life to the fullest.
Currently I am a teacher in Greenville, South Carolina where I instruct emotionally handicapped students in a public school. In 1999, I received my Masters in Special Education. To learn more about how I gained victory over epilepsy and how you can better treat epilepsy, you can order my book entitled Rejoice in the Light: A Woman’s Journey Out of the Mystery of Epilepsy. I hope that my story of both grief and victory will be of help to many others.
Amy E. Crane