Jonathan developed epilepsy when he was seven years old. Here he shares his story and how after having brain surgery, which stopped his seizures, also led him to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.
My name is Jonathan and I was born with cerebral palsy 34 years ago. I developed epilepsy when I was 7 years old.
My epilepsy has hindered me more throughout my life than my cerebral palsy as having seizures regularly has restricted my independence and ability to try new things.
I had a few accidents along the way with my epilepsy like burns and bruises where I would collapse and fall over on the hard ground.
When I was 19 years old I went to a residential college in Cheltenham called National Star College for two years which was great, but I was still not confident enough to take part in all the activities and kept to myself and continued to have seizures regularly.
When I came back home, I was 21 years old and I went to Union Street College in Hyde and completed some courses.
The medication for my seizures had made me very sluggish and tired, which reduced my ability to exercise.
Even when I tried to walk down the street I would get very tired or end up having a seizure in the street and injuring myself, this contributed to me putting on a lot of weight.
In 2013, I had a brain operation to try and stop my epileptic seizures. I spent seven weeks in hospital, four in Intensive care and the high dependency unit at Salford hospital.
When I got home I had lost 3½ stone, I had gone from 23½ stone to 20 stone.
During my year of recovery following my operation, I had to take my epilepsy medication, but I didn’t have any seizures anymore.
However, I was very tired and put the weight I had lost back on. I couldn’t do any exercise or motivate myself because I was so big!!!!!
I developed sleep apnoea and I wasn’t getting any sleep at night, which made me more tired.
As I slowly came off my medication, I decided I wanted to do something about my weight.
I started exercising on my Wii fit for 10 minutes at a time in my flat, and gradually increased my time to 30 minutes each time and did muscle workouts as well.
This was in my flat, as I was too self-conscious to exercise outside yet.
Then my twin sister got engaged and I decided I did not want to be the one in a big suit at her wedding.
I start going to the gym and started using the equipment there like the cycling machine, running machine, weights and I went three times a week to start with.
Also, I began having more fruit and salads and cut out crisps, chocolate, sweets, cheese and peanuts which I ate a lot of. I also cut down on my portion sizes.
I started losing weight, just a few pounds a week, as my weight came down I wanted to do more exercise and I felt more, lively, chatty and happier in myself.
Also, I bought a fold up bike and started cycling along the canal and I loved it and cycled for miles with a friend.
I started cycling further on my mountain bike with a friend and doing 30 – 40 miles at a time.
This love for fitness and exercise came gradually doing little bits at a time. Now I love it and enjoys sports of any kind – I do the class exercises, cycling workouts, low impact circuit training, body pump and swimming.
When my sister got married in October 2016, I had lost 11 stone in weight and everyone could not believe the transformation I had made, and I didn’t have to have a special suit made.
I feel so good when I exercise, and I want to help other people to get started and have a healthier life.
I can’t believe how far I have come on my own life journey and I am so happy to share my story with other people to help them get motivated to begin their healthier life.
If you would like to share your experiences of living with epilepsy, please email David Coates our Communications Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 427 4911.