My Epilepsy Journey: Josh
Josh has been a member of Epilepsy Alliance Florida since 2014. Over the years, with the help of his case manager, Josh was able to find a suitable neurologist, lower the cost of his medications, and participate in group meetings, like Tea Time with An Epilepsy Specialist. Josh has been an inspiration and true example of perseverance. He shares his journey with us below.
“I was born in 1980 with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, causing loss of oxygen. When I was 3, my babysitter was playing with me by throwing me up in the air and failed to catch me. I hit my head on the wall, causing further trauma to my brain. I was classified as neurologically impaired with ADHD, in preschool.
In July of ’05, I had my first grand mal seizure, followed by one in 2010 and, 2011. My last seizure was in May of 2012.
I graduated Freehold High School in 2001. I was Equipment Manager for the field hockey, softball, and basketball teams.
Speech, occupational, and physical therapy were part of my special education program, along with the regular subjects. When I was 7, I was having difficulty learning to read. At the suggestion of a pediatric psychiatrist, my mom enrolled me in a private school in Princeton to teach me to read. They wouldn’t accept me until I completed their summer program, because I was so deficient in basic skills. For 2 years, my mom drove 100 miles a day to take me to The Lewis School to learn to read. I learned to read, so that now, I can read a technical manual. I don’t drive, but I can read bus and train schedules to take me wherever I want to go.
With the help of the mental health association, I was able to live in an apartment in Princeton, near my job at Target. I would travel from Princeton, NJ to Philadelphia by train , and call my mom to tell her not to cook dinner. She freaked when she found out where I was. (Lol). I always got good reviews at Target. That is why I was able to get transferred to Florida when my mom found it necessary to move, to take care of my grandma with dementia. I worked at Target for 17 years until it closed. I’ve been working at Chick-fil-A for 3 years now. Dr. Tarek M. Zakaria is my neurologist, specializing in neurophysiology and epilepsy. He monitors my meds to keep me seizure-free.”