I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2003, I was 28!! WOW 10 years ago.
I can remember having these moments where I would be up to sing in church then all of a sudden I couldn’t finish the song. It felt like I was locked inside my own body and couldn’t move or function for 10 – 15 seconds. After that I would begin regurgitating and excruciating painful muscle cramps would overtake my legs. The cramps were so bad that my legs would not function normally for minutes or hours at a time. There were other times when I would find myself getting up off the floor wondering, “What just happened?” I recognized this to be bizarre and abnormal so I went to the Emergency room multiple times; every time I’d leave without a prognosis or diagnosis, “Mr. Barnes everything looks normal”. Frustrated by the lack of answers from those doctors and I knew something was wrong with me I decided to contact my primary care physician, Sanders Mckee.
I went to my PCP longing for answers and relief. He asked, “Mr. Barnes, what’s going on”? I told him of what I had been experiencing and he said ok and asked me to stand. “Let me try something” he said, and he did some kind of maneuver causing me to black out. I remember regaining consciousness in the Dr. Mckee’s office and he said “Jovon it looks like you’ve been having seizures”. I was shocked to say the least. I’d worked with persons who were epileptic for three years or more, so I thought that I’d seen every form of epilepsy. So if you know me, you know that I thought I was an expert and could at least identify a seizure especially a “grand mal” one; never realizing I suffered with them as well.
So now the tests begin. I had several MRIs, wires and probes being hooked up all over my head and chest, and different kinds of lights being flashed in my face; which was not pleasant at all. “Mr. Barnes we will contact you concerning your results, we have to have a specialist to look over this”, so I wait anxiously patient (oxymoron right?). I remember getting the phone call, I was at work they gave me the news “Mr. Barnes your test came back positive” WHAT!!! Tears immediately began to flow; I’d hoped for a different report. At that moment I couldn’t think clearly, being dismayed by the news, I was stressed and stress can cause seizures so guess what, that’s right I had one. On my way home I get a phone call from my 1st Lady, Susan Rodgers, assuring me that my life was not over and I was going to get through this.
After some time, 10 years later to be exact, medications being raised, lowered , tweaked and maneuvered I’m proud to say that I’m well. The seizures are not gone but they are controlled. I am married to a beautiful woman and I have two wonderful sons who remind me that it’s ok to rest and stay healthy. I take my medicines regularly (like the doctor ordered) and I only have to see my neurologist yearly now. I feel like a wonderful support system along with my doctors has greatly contributed to my success in battling this disease. I could not have done it without my wife, friends and family. Epilepsy does not control me I control it! I get up and sing like I use to and I finish!