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Chris's voice is clear and strong as he engages his guests in lively interviews on his radio talk show. It's hard to imagine that a life-threatening case of encephalitis had once left this articulate church pastor unable to form words. By his side during his ordeal, his wife Debbie was alarmed to see a slight twitch at the corner of his mouth, which she suspected was a seizure. Her fears were confirmed when Chris's neurologist diagnosed him with epilepsy, caused by scarring on the left temporal lobe from the infection.

In the months that followed, Chris had to relearn how to speak and write, but the hardest part, according to Chris, was coming to terms with his lost identity. Once the strong spiritual leader to his congregation, he now had difficulty delivering sermons. The antiepileptic drug (AED) he was on did not control his seizures, and side effects included severe mood swings and weight gain. His wife and three sons watched helplessly as Chris dissolved into depression and struggled to come to terms with "a me I never expected to become."

Gaining control of his seizures was a first step. He worked with his neurologist to find an AED that gave him seizure control and relief from his emotional turmoil. He started writing about his experience. His efforts became the basis for a book entitled Changing My Mind. Though it meant leaving his supportive congregation of 19 years, Chris accepted a position as campus pastor and spiritual life director at his alma mater. The position gave Chris the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of college students. It also gave him more flexibility to accept invitations to speak about his experience. He was asked to become one of the first Epilepsy Advocates, and he now hosts the Epilepsy Advocate Radio programs on Blog Talk Radio.

Once in despair about all he had lost, Chris now sees the great value of all he has found through his struggle with epilepsy.

Chris's Story: Lost and Found

 

After illness transformed Chris's life, he struggled to relearn the most basic tasks. But the more difficult challenge was coming to terms with "a me I never expected to become." Through it all, his faith, resilience, and determination gave him the strength to use his experience to help others.

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Chris's Story: Lost and Found

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As a church pastor, Chris was accustomed to supporting others. When a life-threatening illness brought on epilepsy, he faced a humbling role reversal.