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Stuart Ross McCallum shares his story in Beyond My Control

I recently reached out to Stuart Ross McCallum, author of Beyond My Control, the poignant story of the author’s life with epilepsy and his fight to create a normal life for himself and his family. I had hoped to include his New Year’s Resolution, in an earlier post.
Dedicated to a solution
However my conversation with Stuart opened the door to a much broader question of increasing epilepsy awareness when he let me know that his resolution hasn’t changed for the past few years. 
Stuart’s resolution for 2011 is to continue to enlighten people about epilepsy. He belives (as do I) that with each new person educated, the misunderstandings of the condition which has been shrouded by myths will slowly disperse. Making the world a better place for all living with the (much stigmatized) condition we all know as epilepsy.
Opportunity presented
Instead, I saw our conversation as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Stuart’s book, Beyond My Control. Stuart has generously agreed to share a section of his prologue with us here at Living Well With Epilepsy.
Prologue

At last! The morning of the 23rd of October 2003 finally arrived. It was a bleak, cold and chilly day and my first brain operation was scheduled to be performed at 8:00am. After a forty five minute drive, my wife Lisa and I arrived at the AustinHospital in Melbourne, Australia. I had been very jittery throughout the journey, talking continuously about anything and everything. We were both exceedingly anxious with the events that were about to take place. Our hands sweaty and clasped tightly together, we nervously followed the signs to the neurology department for my first surgical procedure. As with all hospital admissions there was an abundance of necessary formalities to undergo. Once completed, I soon found myself wearing the unfashionable, ever popular standard hospital attire. With only moments to say goodbye, I was whisked away to the operating theatre.

During the past twenty years epilepsy caused a significant, often frightful, impact on my life and the lives of everyone close to me. For fifteen turbulent years, I operated my own business, managing staff with ever increasing seizure frequency. This created an unstable and at times, highly dangerous working environment. The magnitude of my condition escalated, resulting with a post seizure response of a menacing and sinister nature, prone to violent outbreaks. Whenever a frightening situation occurred not only was I in danger, my staff, and often customers were as well. Individuals perception and understanding of epilepsy clearly showed, which had surprising results. My socially unacceptable behavior ultimately influenced me to undergo two major brain operations, in the hope of gaining seizure freedom.

Enduring the postoperative healing process was unlike anything I had ever experienced, absolutely unimaginable. My surgery involved having a golf ball sized part of my brain being resected, in contrast to removing something off the brain itself; a form of rewiring took place. This sent my mind into a tailspin defying any sense of logic and reason.

More information
For more information visit Beyondmycontrol.net

Your Thoughts
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Stuart’s experience and on the broader issue of increasing epilepsy awareness. What are some ways you have made headway in increasing awareness?

3 Responses

  1. Jen Knox
    |

    This is a remarkable book. I read it about a year ago, and the story continues to inspire me.
    Great feature.

  2. Jessica
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    @Jen Knox
    Thanks Jen,
    I'll let Stuart know you commented. And I can't wait to read To Begin Again http://www.jenknox.com/tobeginagain.htm

    Best,
    Jessica

  3. Rich Snow
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    This a great book. I’m very glad that Stuart took the time and effort to write it. I identified with many of the things that he has gone through.