Epilepsy Changed My Life, But I'm Not Giving Up

Aaron is sharing his story about his unique experience with epilepsy and how he is not giving up

By Aaron Pura Jr. , North Carolina

Person with Epilepsy

In December 2019, I graduated from the great Appalachian State University. The following month, I became a police officer recruit, and everything was going great until I had two seizures in June 2020. On July 2, I was suddenly diagnosed with epilepsy, just a few days after my 22nd birthday. That moment changed my life and forced me to become a different person. 

I was a young adult, growing professionally into something I thought was my dream. I was just one month away from taking the state exam, but instead, I had to resign and leave the police department. As time passed, the seizures rapidly became worse and more frequent. Epilepsy took away my independence. I couldn't drive and had to move back home with my parents. All of this led to unemployment for a year. 
I have had hundreds of seizures, and several have caused injury. I have had more emergency room visits than I can count and have been taken directly to intensive care due to actively seizing upon arrival. I have taken thousands of pills, seen numerous neurologists, and had every test in the books done, producing normal results. My history has been presented on large scales nationwide, and doctors are still stumped.

I have experienced the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I believe I can separate myself from others because of my attitude during all of this. Tom Krause once said, "When life knocks you down, you have two choices - stay down or get up." I have chosen the latter. I refuse to be beaten by my condition, and giving up is not a part of my plan.  
I am happy to say that I've been seizure-free for one year, and for that, I have to give all credit to the work done by the fantastic medical specialists I have seen in Minnesota. Not only was I extremely fortunate to have a 10-day visit to a hospital there, but it was also under the direct care of the Chair of the Division of Epilepsy. It was an unforgettable experience! 
I am sharing my story because my situation is unique, and I think it is important to spread awareness, not only about epilepsy but that anybody can be affected. I like to tell people, especially adults, that we don't always have control over what happens in our lives, but we can control how we react and respond. We don't need to be defined by our condition. We can still achieve greatness in our lives and be fulfilled. Ultimately, I believe the choice is ours. 

Reviewed By: Sara Wyen

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