“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)
I’d always wanted to be a wife and a mother. I dreamed of it often growing up. Envisioning what my Prince Charming would be like. Yes, I sure did love my Disney movies! When asked what I would like for a birthday present at the age of nine, the only gift I desired was a baby name book to prepare for my future as a wife and mother.
I had a mental blueprint laid out. I wanted to be nothing like my parents. I wanted to feel love and give an abundance of love to my spouse and children.
HEARTBREAK AND DISAPPOINTMENT
My father was a broken man. An alcoholic whom I never got to know behind the bottle. My parents separated when I was three years old. My mother was a hard-working, single woman, too busy, and by nature, too guarded to open up to speak or listen to thoughts or feelings.
That wasn’t me. I thought deep. I felt much, but I had no one to turn to growing up. I made several mistakes I can never take back simply trying to find that love, that listening ear, only to find heartbreak and disappointment.
A GRAND MAL SEIZURE
I had my first seizure at the age of sixteen years old. A Grand Mal seizure. It was in the middle of the night not long after I’d gone to bed. I woke up to find myself strapped to a gurney, dazed and confused with a pounding headache. There were two paramedics on either side of me asking me questions such as “Did you take any drugs tonight?” and “Do you know who the president is?”
I was so frightened. I had no idea what had happened. Was it a bad dream? Doctors ran tests, but they couldn’t figure out why I’d had that seizure. I was placed on medication for one year. In that time span, I didn’t have another seizure, so I was taken off of medication, completely fine.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
God was always watching over me. I know this to be true. He eventually placed his loving hands on my heart and soul by bringing my now husband into my life. When we met, I hesitated to reveal the details of my first seizure for fear that he would walk away. Yet I knew I had to take the chance. In doing so, he accepted me for who I was.
It was love at first sight. We were married six months later. My heart was overflowing with elation in being his wife and the thought of beginning our family when the time was right. However, God had a different story written for us. Six years after my first seizure, four months after we married, I had my second seizure.
MARRIAGE AND EPILEPSY: A DIFFERENT STORY
After my husband left for work early on the morning of December 11, 2008, I jumped in the car and began to drive to the store to pick out Christmas presents. I never made it. While driving, my body collapsed and my vision faded. With all the might I had left, I attempted to reach my foot to the brake pedal, but blacked out and seized, crashing into a small tree.
Thankfully, I only suffered whiplash, but I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was completely devastated. Metaphorically, I felt our dreams crumble to pieces in my hands. Following my diagnosis, I turned to my husband and told him that he could leave me for someone healthy – not sick like me. I wouldn’t hold it against him. I loved him so much and I only wanted the best for him. Yet he refused to leave my side. I was both shocked and so thankful. I looked to God and asked several times why this had happened, thanking Him for such a gift of a husband, who vowed to take this condition on with me, reminding me of the vows we had taken at our wedding.
MARRIAGE AND EPILEPSY: KEEP THE DOOR OPEN FOR MIRACLES
I struggled to adjust to life with a chronic illness, and sometimes, even after eleven years of living with epilepsy, I still experience feelings of frustration, sadness, or even longing for normality. Yet I’m also so thankful for all of the blessings that have come from this trial.
My husband and I created The Epilepsy Network (TEN), a website which helps those affected by epilepsy better understand of the condition. It is a community across our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to help those on the journey connect. I also use my personal blog www.tiffanykairos.com, which not only gives an inside look into my journey, but tips and advice as well.
I feel through this struggle that God has helped me grow both individually and spiritually, drawing me closer to Him along my journey. As much as I don’t like having seizures, I’m happy to help others find their voice and courage along the journey.
I may not have gotten what I’d planned for, but God’s plan is astounding, and I keep the door open for miracles.
Co-Founder at The Epilepsy Network (TEN)
I’m Tiffany Kairos and I’ve lived with epilepsy for over 10 years. I’m also an epilepsy blogger, advocate and the founder of the Organization and online community, The Epilepsy Network (TEN). I’m a wife who loves fitness, eating healthy, traveling and most importantly God. Over the years of living with epilepsy, I’ve learned so much and it is my hope that by sharing my journey that I can help uplift, encourage and inspire others who are also on the same journey.
Navigating marriage with chronic illness can be dark and lonely. Yet it can also be an opportunity to learn patience, forgiveness, tenderness, humility and sacrifice – gifts of a love forged by fire, a love to celebrate and savor.