With her senior year about to unfold, Courtney Trantham, 17, should be looking forward to the excitement of finishing high school, catching up with friends and planning for the years ahead.
While her future is bright — she plans to go to college and become a forensic anthropologist — she’s spent her summer thus far recuperating from brain surgery, the second in her short life to control the epilepsy that has been a part of her since she was a child.
Until now, she has been reluctant to talk about her seizures, the storms in her brain that have kept her out of the gymnastics she loved and other physical activity. But her family hopes that by sharing her story, people will come to understand that no one should be embarrassed for having a disability, or live in fear that he or she will be made fun of.
Courtney just wants to live the life of a normal teenager.
For years, Courtney tried to keep the epilepsy diagnosis to herself. She only told a couple of close friends. She didn’t want anyone else to know.
“They might think something’s different, then they’ll just stop associating with me,” she said.
Her mother, Stacy Trantham, felt the same way for many years. She would talk about Courtney’s condition with immediate family, but few others.
“I just couldn’t,” Stacy said. “Every time I would start to talk about it, I would just cry. I blamed myself for a very long time, because of what Courtney was going through.”
Courtney’s first seizure came at age 5, while she was at a relative’s house. Stacy was at work; Courtney had shown no outward symptoms of illness that day. Paramedics took her to the emergency room, but a spinal tap at the hospital revealed nothing.
The second seizure happened at the home of Robert Henderson, now Courtney’s stepdad. She was playing a video game; the strobe effect of the game set off another seizure.
Robert said it took probably a couple of years to get the epilepsy diagnosis. They asked for a referral to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, which has a team of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, technicians and nurses dedicated to the field.
Source/Read More: Montgomery Adviser