Jackson Kissel Epilepsy Story

Hi, I’m Chris Kissel and this is my son’s story

Here is a story from my heart.

My son Jackson had his first clonic tonic seizure at age 17. Until this time we had no idea he had epilepsy.

As a mother, my thoughts and actions drove me to discover why this was happening. As all of you who suffer from or have a loved one with epilepsy know that is a very hard question to answer. We saw several neurologists and made a trip to Cleveland clinic for a week of testing. The outcome of all this was abnormal activity in left temporal lobe. This isn’t much to work with.

You can name just about any form of seizure medicine and he has been on it. The side effects of these anti epileptic drugs are generally bad. I would trade places with my son in a heartbeat rather than watch him go through all the mental and physical anguish of seizures, tests and treatment.

Chris and Jackson Kissel at home in Cleveland
Jackson and his seizure-related injuries

My son was going into his senior year of high school when all this started. I must say he dealt with it rather well. His friends and teachers were very supportive.

Fast forward to his graduation party. As we were cleaning up I heard those five words I never want to hear “Jackson is having a seizure “ .

Rushing over to my son, I hold him as he seizes. Anyone who has witnessed a seizure knows how gut wrenching it is. Not only did he have a seizure he also tore up his shoulder. This required an extensive surgery and several months of recovery.

My son went off to university with his arm in a sling and the label of epilepsy. He didn’t want to disappoint his dad and me by quitting. He struggled for three years of school with a foggy brain and a few more seizure related injuries.

All that I have ever wanted for my son is a life that gives him joy.

Moving on my son became seizure free for four years. We really thought he had grown out of this condition. Seizures became part of our past.

Saturday I heard those five words again “ Jackson is having a seizure” My heart sank! I immediately went into mom mode. I met my now 26 year old son at the hospital.

I watched as they stitched his face back together.

We are now starting all over again with fear, anguish and worry about the next seizure. Will it come? What will happen if it does?

Jackson covering the side of his face that isn't injured from an epileptic seizure
The Face of Epilepsy. A series of photos taken by one of Jackson's friends.

I call these pictures “ The Face of Epilepsy”

The world needs to know there are more consequences to epilepsy than seizures. We need answers to what causes seizures.

I’m speaking to everyone who has a loved one with epilepsy I salute you. This is a journey born of love and wanting the best for our loved ones.

Photos courtesy of Seth Donnelly ( one of Jackson’s dear friends)

The world needs to know there are more consequences to epilepsy than seizures. We need answers to what causes seizures.  – Chris Kissel