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Stuart Ross McCallum

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Member Since: Jan, 2008

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Beyond my Control - Epilepsy, Seizure Surgery & Beyond
by Stuart Ross McCallum   

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Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  059548705X Type: 


Copyright:  May 4, 2008 ISBN-13:  9780595487059

Beyond my Control is the true story about my life battling epilepsy. I sincerely hope sharing my experiences with epilepsy will assist to create a better understanding about a highly complex and often misunderstood condition. Many times I found the social complications with epilepsy harder to live with than the condition itself. Beyond my Control delves into areas of epilepsy which are all too often left unsaid.

Barnes &
Beyond my Control

          Beyond my Control

My story begins with a brief understanding of who I am, touching on my teenage years struggling with the eating disease; anorexia nervosa. After spending three months in hospital I left Australia and returned to England, I was sixteen at the time.

Living in England, desperately trying to break the vicious cycle I was in, another condition suddenly enters my life; epilepsy. My body and mind was overcome with something peculiar. Not knowing the signification of these weird sensations I was feeling I wasn't overly concerned. That was soon about to change.

Arriving home in
Australia I soon managed to secure a job working for a glass company. My unknown condition began to escalate, forcing me to hand in my resignation. I embarked upon an arduous, frustrating task of tracing a diagnosis and treatment. After a long search all leading to dead ends, my mystery condition was soon about to reveal itself.
Driving home late one evening, I was overcome with a horrid sensation which engulfed my entire body and mind. Trying to escape, I slid out of my car and suffered two major epileptic seizures on the roadside.

At the beginning anticonvulsant medication controlled my seizures and I started to enjoy life. During this exciting passage of time I met my wife to be, Lisa and an ambition of mine became a reality. I opened my own stained glass store. Absolutely elated business went off to a flying start. The future was full of promise.

A change suddenly developed with my epilepsy. I started to suffer frequent seizures which were frightening experiences for many people. My post seizure response turned to one with an ugly, sinister twist. Lisa and I being very much in love married during this time of instability and became proud parents of two beautiful children, Jordan and Lucy.

After fifteen years of trading epilepsy took control and I was forced to relinquish my business. My seizures wracked my body and mind every few days, and I feared for the safety of my family. Emotionally I was shattered, accompanied with an overwhelming feeling of shame and hopelessness.

Something needed to be done. After speaking with my neurologist we were satisfied that there was only one course of action to pursue. I underwent a series of tests, some gruelling, to establish whether I could be a candidate for seizure surgery.

All systems were going. I awoke in the post operative recovery room with a multitude of wires protruding from my skull. I entered the often frightful world of the totally bizarre and delusional. One horrendous vision resembled a gruesome murder scene which I desperately tried to escape from. Security guards had to strap me to the bed.

The seemingly endless postoperative journey was a period of ever changing events. I exposed the people I love to some undeniably strange and deeply worrisome happenings. Thankfully, with time allowed me to be the person I truly am, happy, supportive, loving and kind.

Instead of tearing my family apart, the ordeal we endured has brought us closer together. The bond between us is stronger than ever.


The next phase I encountered was becoming fixated on John Lennon's deep and meaningful music. During the next three months I developed an obsession with John Lennon's Imagine album, five songs in particular. I became totally engrossed with Help, Stand by me, Woman, Imagine and Give peace a chance. Enjoying this arrangement of songs has given me a good insight into my state of mind during this period.

Professional Reviews

A True Story of Courage for Everyone
Stuart McCallum's "Beyond my Control" is the poignant story of the author's life with epilepsy and his fight to create a normal life for himself and his family.

The author had a happy childhood until anorexia nervosa forced him to move to break the cycle that was ruining him. Over the next two years, a far worse affliction began its slow deterioration of his life. He was diagnosed with epilepsy, and the auras he experienced grew in severity.

At first, anticonvulsant medication controlled his seizures. He established his own stained-glass business, married, and had two children. Over the next fifteen years, the seizures worsened, clouding his judgment and causing disruptive and often frightening behavior. Even though he survived an economic recession in Australia, his condition forced him to relinquish his business.

His seizures wracked his body and mind every few days. Wracked by anxiety and insecurity, he agreed to two surgeries to hopefully alleviate his symptoms. The second surgery involved having his brain resectioned. Instead of tearing his family apart, the ordeal they endured brought them closer together. Today the bond among them is stronger than ever.

This is the powerfully written and often harrowing account of Stuart McCallum's battle with epilepsy. The author does not shirk from his irrational and often dangerous behavior, and his style is straightforward and clear. "Beyond my Control" is a compelling story, and should be an inspiration to all who suffer from epilepsy yet hope to break the bonds of this debilitating condition.

By J Wahlborg

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Reader Reviews for "Beyond my Control - Epilepsy, Seizure Surgery & Beyond"

Reviewed by Jen Knox 12/12/2009
Epilepsy is a condition I've read personal accounts of in the past, most of which have been vague or difficult to fully grasp; it seems there are few more difficult topics to (successfully) communicate than a neurological disorder and many personal a...more Epilepsy is a condition I've read personal accounts of in the past, most of which have been vague or difficult to fully grasp; it seems there are few more difficult topics to (successfully) communicate than a neurological disorder and many personal accounts end up vague or overly-clinical. This is why Stuart McCallum's book is so incredible.

While reading Beyond My Control, I felt the transcendence of a good book--it was as though I entered another world, a world in which I felt I understood what it was like to be at the mercy of this confounding neurological disorder. Stuart McCallum vividly recalls his life before his diagnosis and the confusion of Epilepsy's onset, but he doesn't cower. In fact, Stuart doesn't spend his pages wallowing in self-pity or asking "why me?" but instead inspires his readers with his courage and strength.

This is a story about one man's battle with Epilepsy, but it is a story for anyone who knows what it feels like to have life uprooted in an instant, who know the shock and helpless feeling of entering the unknown, but who refuse to be defeated by it.
Reviewed by kg cummings 8/15/2009
In his autobiography, Beyond My Control, Stuart Ross McCallum reveals his life by placing it out in the open for the world to view. The good. the bad, and the experiences that he has no recollection of due to his seizures are written in a manner that draws the reader into his world. That world was often frightening, not only to himself, but to those closest to him. Those same people would relay the often violent details of the episodes to him after each seizure had passed, yet they remained loyally by his side. With a family and staff that loved and supported him, he was able to maintain a lucrative business in spite of the physical discomfort, and hardships he endured.

This reader found the book captivating inasmuch as it was enlightening, yet written on a level that wasn't geared exclusively toward the medical community. That gave it a much more personal touch, making it very relatable to people that have observed others with physical, or medical conditions that are not easily controlled. Clearly, Mr. McCallum is not the type of person to sit back and feel sorry for himself. He aggressively sought medical attention to attempt to control a condition which for many years appeared to be out of the realm of possibility. This survivor spirit ultimately led to making the decision of a lifetime, in spite of not so promising odds.

By candidly sharing his experiences, along with giving tribute to those instrumental in his survival and recovery from delicate brain surgery, Stuart Ross McCallum has endeared himself to this reader. His thoughtfulness to others, his love of family and friends, his consideration to customers, and staff illustrates that in the end, instead of seizures controlling him, he seized control.

I highly recommend the book Beyond My Control by Stuart Ross McCallum.
Reviewed by David Delaney 5/5/2009
Mate I am looking forward to reviewing your book, but I can already see that I am in for a great experience, fantastic reviews mate & well deserved.
To quote that famous line "I'll be back"
Your Aussie mate
Reviewed by Dee Marie 5/5/2009
I originally purchased “Beyond My Control,” by Stuart “Ross” McCallum, thinking it would be a casual, yet interesting read. However, once I started reading the first chapter, I literally could not put it down until I had finished the book.

Although the book is a biographical, and at times harrowing tale, of Ross’ struggles to find normalcy within an anomalous world of coping with epilepsy...the story flows with the feeling of a well-organized novel, rather than a dry, retelling of factual events.

Upon finishing his story, the realization that Ross survived his life-struggling ordeal (and lived to write about his experiences in an intellectual, often humorous manner)…is a miracle in itself. His story is more than an account of how Ross and his family, friends, and co-workers dealt with his epileptic episodes; it is also a fascinating look into the often misunderstood side-effects of the illness.

Ross’ story is filled with heartache and hilarity; written in an educational and entertaining manner. “Beyond My Control” is a must-read, not just for the informative aspects of coping with a disabling illness, but more importantly for the pure “reading enjoyment” of his story.
Reviewed by Linda Law 1/10/2009
"Beyond My Control" describes the harrowing journey that you and your loved ones have been living far too long! The amazing way that the author used humor and downright "in your face" honesty in dealing with this horrendous experience...well, it's miraculous, uplifting, and filled with hope for those who are living similarly. This book assisted me in a better understanding of a disease that I was not familiar with; nor did I want to be! Fear of someone with Epilepsy was my original instinct, and shame hits me now; that Fear of the Unknown can turn us into almost uncaring humans. What a torture this must have been for Stuart, as well as his beloved wife and loved ones. Thankfully, the surgery has been successful; and thankfully...this book will be an enlightenment to others such as myself...who are ignorant to better understanding of the unknown. I hope that this book becomes available to many who are like that we too can be better prepared to assist and not hide from those who suffer with this illness. Be proud Stuart, because unveiling this personal story does truly show the strength you had to travel this journey from darkness into the light! You have used your story to heal and to bring hope, where others have chosen to remain in pain and darkness! I will treasure you as a friend and inspiration.
Linda Law
Reviewed by Carol Mitchell 8/25/2008
I just purchased your book! You have been so supportive to me and I have a throat disease and know what it's like to deal with illness that is beyond your control. Stuart you are my champion!
Reviewed by Sandie May Angel-Joyce 8/22/2008

This is so real. A lot of people has this disease. I'm glad you have taken steps to have it under control.

A book with true lie experience is a gem!

Sandie May Angel :o)
Reviewed by Sophia Simmons 8/9/2008
Wow! What a heart wrenching story....Your title was a magnificent choice...I have found in my own healing process, that one of the things that has helped me most is that there are so many others out there with life's struggles and many more life threatining than my own...I love to read, respond and actively help doing so I am healing....Thank you for your story...God bless you and your family


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