The Start of My Second Life

I came to while strapped down in a van of some sort. When I realized I was being taken, I assumed I was being arrested or abducted. I fought the restraints, but I could not break them. Then I tried to argue my way out the situation, arguing being a greater competency for me than physical strength at the time. I told my captors to release me, that I had done nothing wrong and that I knew my rights.

One of the paramedics tried to talk me down from my heightened emotional state, telling me: “You are not being taken. You are in an ambulance. You just had a Grand Mal seizure.” When you have a Grand Mal seizure, you don’t know what happened.

Being supremely pigheaded, I insisted that I knew my rights, that I could not be taken against my will. It turns out, without having any idea what I was talking about, I was right. It was the law that I could not be taken, even in an ambulance, against my will. The paramedics had to let me out of the ambulance.

Being stubborn, and just having had a Grand Mal seizure, I refused to go to the hospital, until my neighbor volunteered to drive me to UCLA with the ambulance following. I was immediately given a CAT scan and then an MRI. The first guess after seeing a massive spot on my brain was that I had cancer. That would require a lobectomy, the removal of the front right lobe of my brain. Fortunately, that diagnosis was incorrect. What I had was an arteriovenous malformation, a large group of arteries and veins that had grown into a massive knot that was filling with blood and pushing on my brain. Not great, but better than cancer.

I am reminded today that the negative events in life can be a greater blessing than you can realize at the time. Negative events can also change you in the most positive ways, acting as a catalyst for growth and becoming a better version of yourself. A negative event can help you wake up to what is real and what is important.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the day I had my Grand Mal seizure while walking up the stairs to my Brentwood, CA apartment, the start of my second life.

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