When I think of my sister, I think of the wonderful, generous, intelligent girl that is my best friend. I think of the softball star, the A/B honor roll student and the avid animal lover. The last thing that comes to mind is her seizures; even though they are part of our family’s daily life, they are outshone by all the other wonderful things about her.
When Taylor was eight, she was diagnosed with her HH. At the time, our family were avid motocrossers and oddly close for a family in today’s world. The news that everyone’s favorite little girl had a brain tumor was met with some disbelief, but mostly with a stubborn attitude that we were all going to do whatever was necessary to make Taylor better. Looking back, it was that attitude that saved us from the desperation and despair that sometimes felt so close at our backs.
In March of 2005, Taylor underwent endoscopic removal of her HH. That was the hardest day of my 20 year life. Thankfully, I had a wonderful great-grandmother and she was ready with her Daily Word to help comfort me. The message that day was God answers all prayers, and he definitely answered mine.
Taylor’s seizures stopped for a while, but are now back (though not nearly as bad). While she still has one or two a day, she has grown very capable of hiding them from her classmates. She has embraced the fact that she is different and lives life as a 14-year-old should: working toward her next belt in karate, playing with our dog and, of course, doing homework. Our family is as close as ever, with my parents and I all helping to coach Taylor’s softball teams and learn her karate moves with her. Not only has this brought us closer to each other, but also closer to our faith. It has also brought yet another purpose for my life: to be Taylor’s biggest advocate as well as her best friend.
Taylor has inspired me and indirectly chose my career path. In a few more years, I hope to be a neurosurgeon with her as my N.P. (unless she decides to be an animal cop by then, as she goes back and forth between the two daily). These children affected by HH are among the strongest, funniest, most amazing kids on the planet. I have loved each and every one that I have met and they continue to inspire me with their stories of overcoming any obstacle that stands in their way.
It’s usually the younger sibling that strives to be like the older, but our family is far from usual. Each day I try to be a little more like the sweet and loving sister that I have been blessed with. An HH is not a be-all-to-end-all diagnosis. It is the beginning of a long and difficult road, but it has the uncanny ability to make a family closer to each other and closer to their faith.