Meet our beautiful, smart, loving, and joyful son Raylond. Raylond is only 3 yrs of age and also child number 5 of our big family. Since birth our little man has brought happiness by the truck loads to our family. Raylond has also maintained perfect health till now. It all started on Thursday, January 18th at 9:02am. Our little man locked up with a seizure that lasted nearly 15 minutes. Fortunately, the kids had a 2 hour delay to the start of school due to weather conditions. Aubrey, the oldest of the 5, noticed Raylond was acting funny and immediately told Shandi (mom) that he was acting funny. As Aubrey told Shandi he was acting funny, Raylond locked up in a seizure. Aubrey quickly reacted and caught Raylond before he fell off the couch. My wife immediately called 911 while holding Raylond. I got the phone call from Aubrey telling me to come home from work and without hesitation I left immediately. I praise Aubrey for keeping his composure during this difficult time. Two of our daughters witnessed the event in devastation. The seizure lasted 15 long pain staking minutes. When I arrived home, Raylond was lethargic and still there was no ambulance. Being the father that I am, I took Raylond in my arms and took him to the hospital. Not one ambulance was passed on the way. We did a lot of praying and crying for our little boy. The next 2 hours were the worst I have ever experienced in my life. The only thing my family, wife, and I could do is wait and hope for our son to come back. Multiple tests, CT scans, and blood work were performed with no sign of anything wrong. After 2 and a half hrs our little Raylond came back to us smiling away like nothing happened. An hour later the hospital released us.
My wife took little man and the kids with her to go get homework from school, because the kids missed classes. Shandi, being the great mom she is, was getting everything at the house back in order so I returned to work. Around 2pm, Shandi and the kids came by work to visit. Raylond was back to being his cheerful and smiling ole self. After settling back in to work, my worst fear came to a reality with a phone call around 4:05pm. I got a second phone call that day, and this one hurt even more. As soon as I said 'hello' my heart dropped listening my wife Shandi screaming, "Justin, it happened again. JUSTIN I'M SCARED!!!!" Shandi is a redheaded country girl who grew up hunting, fishing, and playing sports. For her to say she was scared, you might want look around because the apocalypse might be happening. I couldn't drop the turbo for the bull dozer I was working on fast enough. I flew home, but this time I passed Shandi going in the opposite direction heading to the hospital. We had been working on equipment at the shop, which is only a 1/2 mile from home. While turning around the thought came to my mind, 'how did she gain composure to be able to get Raylond situated, 2 kids in the car (by now 2 of the kids were with shared parents), 3 dogs put up, and pass me before I could get to the house in less than 5 mins?' And I'm being generous, because it was more like 3 minutes.
I followed her to the hospital. I parked and ran to the ER entrance. As soon as I got to her car at the ER entrance, it was like we were in sync. I yelled, "Go I got the car and the girls." Shandi ran in to take care of our little man. This time the seizure was 10 minutes long. I thought for sure having 2 seizures in one day would end up causing some kind of damage. As I walked the kids into the ER, both were sobbing saying daddy I don't want Raylond to die. All the way across the parking lot they were telling me he's the best little brother and we love him so much. I also have some amazing friends who got to the ER and were inside before I could get inside. A buddy of mine looked at me as I walked in and yelled, "Justin, I got the girls GO!" The ER let me back immediately. When I got back there, it was every parent's worst nightmare, I saw my wife holding our almost lifeless child. I broke down immediately begging God to give me my son back. I had my knees to the floor, my head down touching my son, my hand holding my son's hand, and my other hand holding my wife's hand. All I could do is pray humbly and passionately. The doctors got Raylond on monitors and asked us to just let him rest as they spoke to us about options. There were very few options.
It was at this time, we learned that the McLeod Health Children's Hospital pediatric neurologist was out of the country for a couple of weeks and no one was available to take his place. The doctors then told us he either needed to go to Columbia or Charleston. Without hesitation, we elected MUSC in Charleston. We were doing all we could do to keep it together and remain strong for our little boy. While waiting for the transport ambulance, I learned, from my wife, of the heroic act from our 8 year old daughter Gabrielle. When Raylond had his second seizure, he was walking to the snack cabinet. Raylond reached out to grab the door handles and froze. He completely locked up and fell backwards grazing a lamp table. By the grace of God, Gabrielle was near and partially broke his fall. What happened next is what most big sisters should model from. Gabrielle weighs 60lbs, while Raylond weighs in at a solid 32lbs. Gabrielle cradled Raylond in her arms and yelled, "Mom let's go I have Raylond and I'm headed to the car!!" Shandi paused in surprise, and that's when she called me in a panic. This is when Raylond had his 2nd seizure.
As parents, waiting to get to MUSC was the longest 2.5 hrs of our lives. Raylond slept the whole way to Charleston, and began to wake once we arrived in Charleston. The doctors began examination immediately. They looked at CT scans and notes from previous doctors during that day. About 10:30pm, they decided to go ahead and start an EEG. The doctors wanted to monitor Raylond's brain waves while he was asleep, because that is when your brain is the most active. Already tired with stress from earlier events, Shandi climbed onto the hospital bed with Raylond so she could hold him throughout the night. As for me, I laid down on a couch and tried to rest but couldn't. The next day, a neurologist and a group of doctors came into the room to share results. We were scared to hear the results. The neurologist was very nice and informative. She explained that our son has epilepsy. After the doctors left, Shandi and I both broke down worried whether our little bundle of joy was going to be ok.
The doctors wanted to run further tests the next day, including a MRI of his brain. All we could do is pray for the results to be clear and there be no brain damage. By this time, we had gained unlimited prayers from many people. We truly believe that without the prayers we received, the results would have been worse. Raylond was diagnosed with Epilepsy, because he had multiple seizures in one day and his brain activity over two nights showed the potential of more seizures to come. Where the prayers were answered was thru the MRI results. The results showed no birth defects, no tumors, and no damage from the long seizures already endured. We Praised God! But he does have potential of having more seizures.
We now have Raylond regulated on medicine that he takes twice a day. Since we have been home, Raylond has only had one more seizure. We live in fear wondering if or when he will have another one. We are taking it one day at a time, and we thank God every day that we still have his sweet joyful personality. Most people dread getting up in the morning. This kid smiles before he opens his eyes, and does nothing but bring excitement to everyone around him.
Any contributions are blessings and will go towards his current and future doctor bills, as well as 'The Epilepsy Foundation of America.' Please email [email redacted] with any questions. We will be opening a Facebook page soon for follow ups. Prayers are accepted as well. Thank you and have a blessed day.