Think & Grow Rich Lessons
James Manganiello Babylon, New York, USA

Posted: 2016-06-22


As we grow up and live our lives, people desire many things. I've learned from my j-o-b, all too well, that there is a significant difference between desire and "want".  I see a lot of "want" at my job.

Here's my desire.
When I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I didn't know much about it, so (at the time before the Internet) I got our an encyclopedia and read their definition of epilepsy. Didn't like it much, so I looked it up in a dictionary (not much better). My patents said "you'll outgrow it", but something in my gut said that I would have it the rest of my life - and I did the worst thing, I got comfortable with that thought.  When I was a teenager, my desire was to control my seizures. If i was to have it for the rest of my life, at least i could control it. I was diligent to make it happen (or as diligent as a 15 year old can be). I had one seizure. Which scared me. But I trusted my doctors, and hoped it would be controlled.  My seizures are am absenteeism, so I have no recollection of what happens during them. I'll remember before, and after. Since the seizures are short-term, they would last 10-15seconds.

In 1996, at age 26, I had a seizure at home at the kitchen table during dinner. Afterwards I was told that I dropped my hands to my sides and "shook a little" (which was never elaborated in). I remember eating dinner, and the next moment my brother is on the phone saying "he just came out of it" (he called 911). They arrived, checked me over, took me to the hospital, all the while I "felt fine". That night I said to myself "I don't want this to happen again",  I was uncomfortable being "fussed over". I know they were doing their jobs. Well, my license was suspended a year, and bless my parents and my brother for driving me around.

Upon visiting my doctor, he said "there's a new version of this medicine out which is an extended release". Without hesitating, I said 'I'll do it".

Here's where the desire kicks in.
My doctor said, "if you take your medication daily, and get your blood levels regularly, there's no reason why you shouldn't live a normal life".
The 50 cents
Darby mining for gold, or selling insurance. My desire - live a seizure-free life. I never knew it was a desire.

So I started very small. One day. Then I thought, "lets try for a week". Then a week, then 2, 3, 4. I thought, "lets go for two months". Two months became three, then six months.. When I was a little ambitious and said, "go for a year".  When I was seizure-free a year, I thought "go for two". Then two years, five years... and that voice in my head "go forever". I thought 'oh yeah!!!''

May 23, 2016 marks twenty years that I have remained seizure-free. Twenty years of living a normal life - acting on stage, dancing, taking martial arts, dating, vacations, singing...LIVING.

Monday, I called my doctor asking for the results of the 72hour eeg and spoke with his secretary.  She said something that gave me hope, "the results aren't in yet, but I feel the doctor will wean you off the medication."  I was unsure, after living on medication for thirty-four years.  But that night, I went home and prayed.  "May your will be done lord, I trust you and have faith in your decision as to what my life will be."

Tuesday night, I went to sleep knowing one stage of my life is almost complete, and the next will soon begin.

Yesterday, while working, my doctor called.  He said, "the test results came back normal.  Let's start weaning you off the medication".

I called a few friends (also with epilepsy) with the exciting news as well as a few relatives. Every call went to voicemail.

Just reflecting on it now, I didn't just show desire, but a lot more than that.  My desire to become seizure-free showed a many more qualities - desire, compassion, consistency, diligence, persistence, hope, faith, belief, and most of all patience. And I never even knew I went through all of that until today.

What is possible now? EVERYTHING.

--James Patrick Manganiello