If there’s one film that has had a profound effect on my adult life, this one has to be in the running. And that is saying something considering I work in the visual effects field for feature films. You would think it would be movies like Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings etc. Films that were ground breaking in the visual effects world shaping what movies are today.
While those types of movies have affected my adult life in more ways than I can count, The made-for-TV-movie First Do No Harm actually has had a bigger effect, albeit delayed by about 14 years.
Flashback to 1997. I had already been dealing with epilepsy for almost 5 years to that point. I still didn’t really understand epilepsy at all then. I just knew that I had these seizures and if I took my medication, they were controlled. I was 15 and just wanted to be normal like other kids my age and tried my best to ignore (denial) my epilepsy as best I could.
I still remember the 1st time I saw First Do No Harm. It was a Sunday night and my family gathered around the TV to watch this movie with Meryl Streep. I had no idea what it was about at the time but I’m sure that my mom picked it out because of the subject matter: a Mother’s struggle to help her son who develops intractable epilepsy (seizures uncontrollable with medication).
Her son’s doctors continue to throw more potent medication at the problem and nothing takes, leaving her to research on her own anything she can find on epilepsy. This leads her to the Ketogenic Diet at John’s Hopkins.
It was this fact alone that I got excited about even back then. I wasn’t the best at taking my medication regularly and it was giving me nasty side effects so any chance for treatment that wasn’t tied to pills had my attention. Unfortunately, my neurologist shut me down pretty quickly the next time I spoke to him. He stated that Keto is an extreme measure that is taken ONLY when all else has failed. Being 15, I accepted that completely and forgot about Keto for years.
It was only when I discovered the efficacy of Paleo that I became interested in The Ketogenic Diet again and I tried forever to get a copy of First Do No Harm so I could watch it again. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t in stores or even on Amazon. That is, until I found it in it’s entirety on Youtube.
After watching it again as an adult, I can’t imagine the helpless feeling portrayed in the movie as to watching something destroy someone you love and there’s nothing you can do about it. While my variation of epilepsy isn’t anywhere near as severe as what is portrayed in the movie, it really made me feel for my own mom when she was trying desperately to figure out what was wrong with me when doctors at the time were of no help. This movie has given me a glimpse into just a small fraction of what my mom has done for me and because of that, I can appreciate it all the more. So mom, thanks for everything.
If you’ve ever read any of my other Epilepsy Awareness type of posts, you’ll know that I’m a big supporter of The Charlie Foundation. A charity dedicated to dietary therapy for epilepsy. Well, The Charlie Foundation was started by the director of First Do No Harm after his own son, Charlie, was diagnosed with epilepsy. Very inspiring and touching story.
In honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month, I’m going to donate money earned for the “Bacon For A Cure” t shirts this month to the Charlie Foundation as well. After all, they were one of the main inspirations for the design.
For more Epilepsy Awareness posts here check out:
***Disclaimer*** I am NOT a medical professional. Anything you read here is simply information that I have obtained through my own research on the subject. As such, I cannot give medical or nutritional advice.