Shelby Marler

The sun was high in the sky and beating down on my back like any normal day in summer, my brothers, cousin and I were outside playing tag and hide and seek, just a very normal day for us. We were always outside getting dirty and getting into trouble, but one day everything changed at this point in my life. It started out perfectly but ended up terribly. My head was pounding and I thought it was a normal migraine like I would always have every now and then. As the pain increased slowly, I went inside and told my mom how awful I was feeling. She assured me everything was okay. She then gave me medicine and insisted I lay down and rest. I closed my eyes not knowing that when I woke up, my life would change forever. I’d learn at 9 years old, my life could change in a blink of an eye.

As the sun went down and the moon came up, Mom heard a horrific scream from my Grandmother Joyce. Mom ran into the room and notices that my eyes rolled to the back of my head and my lifeless body shaking uncontrollably. She immediately orders my sister to go get my Uncle James who is 5’9 and very toned in his upper body. He lives across the property about a hundred feet away. He ran over to the house and as soon as he sees me, he rushed over picked me up and ran me to his truck. As he drove me to the hospital, I lost consciousness and Mom gave my lifeless body CPR. Shortly after, we finally made it to the hospital. The doctors told my Mom I was OK, and insisted I go home. As soon as we left the hospital, I went into another episode of seizures. Rushing back to the hospital they took my unconscious body to the helicopter and took me to Scott & White hospital in Temple, Texas. Within a matter of minutes, we arrived at the hospital and they quickly rushed me into the intensive care unit until they could get me stabilized. They started to run IV’s on each arm and checked my blood pressure, right as the doctor turns around to check on me I went into another seizure. This episode lasted a few minutes, but to Mom it felt like an eternity. The doctor immediately slammed a ventilator down my throat as the seizure lasted for forty five minutes continuously while I still was unconscious. Finally, they got me stabilized and into a room where I would sleep for the night.

After a whole day of sleep, I finally woke up not knowing where I was or who anyone was for that matter. The room was blue with white clouds painted on the walls.  I looked around the room confused and wondering why I was here and why were all of these people surrounding me; I was terrified A few seconds after that, the doctor walked in and asked, “Shelby, do you know where you are or how you got here?” Confused, I replied no and that I didn’t know where I was. He began to explain what was going on and that they were going to run a bunch of tests to figure out what caused the seizures to trigger. I yelled for Grandma Joyce, told her I have never been so happy to see her, and then I began to explain to her how confused I was. Grandma Joyce was 4’10 and with curly brunette hair. She gave me a big hug and kiss and told me how much she loved me. I was scared, but I stayed strong knowing God would keep me safe and sound.

The doctor came into the room and started to take tests to figure out why I was having seizures, I was in and out of the test rooms all day and they could not find out why they were occurring. The last test was a MRI that they would scan of my brain. The test took about 30 minutes to complete, but we wouldn’t have any results for an hour. As I lay in the machine, I was so scared because of all of the loud noises it was making. After a long 30 minutes, they sent me back to my room until the results came back. The doctor came in and started to explain that I have a rare condition called Neurocysticercosis. He continued to explain it means parasites had entered my bloodstream and traveled to my brain and died. After hearing this, I was so scared but in my heart I knew that I could handle anything that came my way, even if I was only 9 years old.

This was a horrible tragedy in my life, but I took it as a life lesson to never take my life for granted and to live everyday like it is my last because you never know when it can all be taken away from you. Today, I now take medication every morning and every night to control the seizures. I have to watch everything I do, because I cannot do certain things like normal people. I suffer with being scared of every corner I turn because of my illness. This is my story as to how my life changed with this sickness so people know how it happened. I can’t give much advice but to stay focus and go for what you want in life and don’t give up. Here is some advice to anyone with this sickness: live everyday like a normal person and be positive, but have the knowledge to know what your limits are. I live a healthy life like everyone else not thinking every day that I will fall down and start shaking. I stay away from stress as much as possible and stay focus on what is most important. Mentally, I know that if I do what I am supposed to do like taking my medicine and stay away from the things that I am not supposed to do I will be fine that day. Physically, I keep a healthy diet and work out as much as I can to keep a healthy heart and keep the stress away as much as possible. People with my sickness can’t really do a lot to avoid the sickness, but we can do the little things to help it to no throw us in to attack.

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