I had a seizure. Here’s what I learned.

Gino and Dr. Alexander Rotenberg
Gino and Dr. Alex Rotenberg.

I was 11 when I had my seizure. I’m 15 now.

I’ve learned a lot since that night, and I owe a lot of what I know to Dr. Alex Rotenberg and the team at Boston Children’s Hospital. They helped me understand what caused my seizure and how to prevent another one. But I’ve also learned a lot on my own.

Here are four things my experience has taught me:

1. Take care of yourself

I don’t remember much about the night I had my seizure, except that I had a high fever and I felt like I was falling. My dad found me unresponsive in my bed and took me to our local emergency room. After I was treated, I was referred to the Epilepsy Center at Boston Children’s.

Dr. Rotenberg believes my fever caused my seizure and that I have a very low chance of having another one. Thanks to him, I know to avoid things that may trigger a seizure, like flashing lights and not getting enough sleep. I also have my eyes tested regularly. I see Dr. Rotenberg about once a year for follow-up appointments.

2. Find people who listen

My parents researched a lot of doctors after my seizure and we liked Dr. Rotenberg the very first time we met with him. I could tell he really cares about his patients, and the entire team at the Epilepsy Center treated me as more than just another patient.

3. Do what makes you happy

Gino and Dr.Pearl at a concert
Gino and Dr. Phillip Pearl at Boston Children’s Jazz Concert in 2019.

Dr. Philip Pearl from the Epilepsy Center heard about how much I love playing the drums. He invited me to play in the hospital’s annual jazz show. It was one of the best nights of my life.

For me, that’s playing the drums. It always has been. My mom says I’ve had a drumstick in my hand since I was a baby. My dad taught me and my younger brother everything there is to know about Led Zeppelin. I can play a lot of their songs and name every one of their albums. I practice music every chance I get, and my hope is to go to Berklee College of Music.

4. Be prepared and be brave

The main thing I’ve learned from my experience is that I have to be prepared for whatever life throws my way and be brave through all of it. If you’re worried in life, you won’t ever get much done. If I didn’t feel like I’m prepared in case I have another seizure, then I’d be worried every day about having one. But thanks to Dr. Rotenberg and everyone at Boston Children’s, I firmly believe that I won’t.

Learn more about the Epilepsy Center or make an appointment.

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