Amanda’s epileptic, and epilepsy and college aren’t very conducive; she did it anyway. She graduated from UVa despite more seizures there cumulatively than she’s had since she was 7. She worked through post seizure migraines and pain, pre-seizure aura’s, and memory loss due to cluster seizures. She had more trips to the hospital than most people have in a life time. She missed classes and had to deal with explaining – over and over again – to her professors why.
Some days she called home crying that staying at UVa didn’t seem possible, or healthy. But she stayed, and she persevered through more obstacles than most of us will ever encounter.
I don’t know why God choose Amanda for these trials. I do know that coming out on the other end has made her really strong.
Last week, one of my friends put this on Facebook: “On particularly rough days, when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%… that’s pretty good.”
That’s Amanda. She literally defines True Grit and No Excuses, and I’m so proud of her.
It’s easy to see how Epilepsy and Lifestyle are super related. Seizures are triggered by dehydration, high and low blood sugar, alcohol, lack of sleep, stress, full moons, periods and God knows what else. No one can control the moon, or a woman’s cycles, but food, water, alcohol, sleep and stress management, they’re all controllable. (Seizures can still have a mind of their own.)
Amanda has big, obvious results if she doesn’t manage her life carefully, but I want to venture that all of us have results from not managing our lives carefully: headaches, stomach problems, weight problems, auto-immune issues, fatigue, chronic disease, and pain. They’re just as connected to our day to day actions as Amanda’s seizures.
If my 23 year old daughter can own her health, we all can. Our health should be a priority, and the way we handle that priority doesn’t just affect us, it influences the children and friends and family who watch us.
Now for the Fun Stuff: Pictures from the weekend in no chronological order, and details on how we stuck to Real Whole Food while traveling:) We were lucky to stay in the house of some friends – super lucky. The house was a dream for me because I love old homes! So much character!
I brought enough food that we ate all our meals at “home”. (I pretended all weekend that house was mine.) For breakfast, we had eggs, chicken sausage, fruit, and cheese. For lunch, we had lunch meats, cheese, saurkrauts, fruit, nuts, and paleo cookies.
We catered from a Charlottesville company called dahcatering – they were FANTASTIC! Organic and gluten free ingredients, lots of flavor, plenty of food, I can’t say enough good things. They delivered everything on Friday and I just had to reheat each night. Here’s a family pic of all of us, Amanda’s boyfriend Ian, my in-laws, and my niece Morgan. It was party!
The first night we had salmon topped with pesto, a quinoa dish loaded with asparagus and herbs, gluten free cornbread, and a huge spinach/strawberry/toasted almond/goat cheese salad. The dessert: gluten free ginger cookies and Trickling Springs ice cream that I brought with us ( thank you dry ice!)
The second night we had chicken breasts stuffed with roasted peppers and mixed cheeses, topped with a mushroom/cream/white wine sauce, a GIANT bowl of roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes, polenta, and coconut macaroons with more Trickling Springs ice cream.
I believe good ice cream is essential to any celebration.
Mark and Amanda after the morning ceremony.
Amanda, as an “alumni”.