Like many graduates, Chris Otieno was determined to establish his ground in the trucking world after completing an internship in one of the leading logistics companies in Kenya. At just 24 years, his future seemed so bright. From time to time, he would engage himself in activities that would see him traverse different regions of the country. This equipped him with the much-needed knowledge of places he would most likely get clients. But aside from his dream, Chris was a road rage fanatic. He always loved being behind the wheel and for this reason, his friends nicknamed him "Lanes Bond" after James Bond. But this time, his prowess was on the tarmac, and not in the air.
However, his passion for driving and the dream of becoming a business mogul were almost shattered when Chris was diagnosed with a rare type of epilepsy. This was barely four months after graduating from the renowned University of Nairobi. His diagnosis was different from the common type because this rare epilepsy was medically intractable and partial. This meant that he would still experience multiple types of seizures from time to time even when under medication.
Given that the disorder was progressive, Chris could not engage in activities such as driving as this would endanger his life especially if he went into a seizure while on the road. As a result, he became dependent on close friends and family for basic needs. "My life was placed on a standstill. I would rarely go out, and if I did, someone had to accompany me. It was stressful," Chris says.
Back on the campus, Chris was outgoing. He loved football, and for this reason, he was incorporated in the University's football team. It was during an inter-campus match that he suffered head trauma after being accidentally knocked against a goal post. However, he was treated and discharged a week later.
Chris resumed his studies immediately. But weeks later, he started to develop absent seizures. This is a short period where someone seems to be absent-minded by losing awareness of their surroundings and memory. However, he did not mention this to anyone. "Something was not right. But I didn't find it ideal to discuss this with anyone because I thought it was a passing cloud," he says.
As days went by, the intensity and frequency of his seizures increased. Chris was now aware of the fact that he couldn't hide this for long. Together with his family, they sought help from the Kenyatta National Hospital. "I wasn't surprised by the diagnosis. These were things I had experienced before," he says. "But I was troubled because I knew my life would change, and all I wanted was to be myself," he adds. With his condition officially named, Chris could no longer engage in activities that he did before. "He couldn't drive. I had to drive him around or run errands for him," Joy, his elder sister chips in.