The last thing I remember before I fell down the stairs and lost consciousness was hearing the devastating news that my daughter was in an ambulance being rushed to hospital.
My daughter Bao My was 11 years old at the time and was on what started out as a fun school trip to the beach that day with her sixth-grade class. But the outing was cut short when one of her fainting spells—actually an epileptic seizure—struck without warning.
She was playing by the seashore with her classmates when she suddenly fainted and fell in the water. Lying face down, she inhaled a large amount of sand and seawater and suffered lung damage before the other children realized she wasn’t playing but was unconscious.
Bao My was rushed to emergency at the nearest hospital, and later transferred to a more specialized children’s hospital.
12 Hellish Days
The stress on my family that day was compounded by my own fall and fainting, as I myself was not in the best of health; four years earlier, in 2007, I had undergone surgery for a slipped disc and had four screws implanted in my spine. I had not been the same since then.
Upon regaining consciousness several hours later, my wife and I rushed to the hospital to see our daughter. Although she looked normal, Bao My’s X-rays later that night showed that one of her lungs was badly injured and she required emergency treatment.
Bao My spent 12 days in hospital before she was strong enough to come home. Staying with her at the hospital took a tremendous toll on me, physically and mentally.
Those were 12 hellish days. Due to a severe bed shortage at the time, each bed had to accommodate three patients taking turns. Many child patients and their visitors had to rest and sleep in the hallway or wherever they could find space. And despite the sweltering heat, the hospital did not have any electric fans. On top of that, one time I was overcome by the inconsolable weeping of a mother who had just lost her child.
Paralysis: Unbearable Time in My Life
After Bao My was discharged, my next ordeal began when I started to suffer renewed aches, with pain up and down my spine. I was forced to take a leave of absence from teaching a few months later and was re-hospitalized for a second surgery for a slipped disc.
My spine needed six screws to be stabilized, and I was confined to bed afterward, paralyzed. It was an unbearable time in my life, when every second all I wished for was to die and be relieved from pain and despair. I fully expected to die soon, yet I could only bite my lip to stop myself from crying, as I did not want to leave the world while Bao My was still so young.
It was Bao My’s tender care that was the greatest comfort that sustained me. Even though she was only 11 years old, she had the remarkable patience to give me daily massages, albeit with her face soaked with tears. By that time she herself had already endured three years of her own debilitating disease.
Fainting Spells, Frightening Seizures
Bao My was first diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 8 years old. Despite medication and our efforts far and wide to find a cure, her uncontrolled seizures and fainting spells put our family in a constant state of fear and anxiety.
Bao My suffered from fainting spells several times a day, often without warning. Upon fainting, her arms and legs would fall limp and she would collapse like a jellyfish thrown onto the seashore. But her epileptic attacks were not limited to fainting; there were also countless other frightening episodes of different kinds.
Sometimes her whole body would thrash uncontrollably like an anchor rope in rough water. Other times her body would be stiff from head to toe but would keep twisting, with the muscles on her face tense and her head turned to the right as if stuck in that position.
To prevent her from biting her tongue, I would sometimes put my thumb in her mouth during a seizure. My hand would get bitten as a result, often to the point of bleeding.
Anxiety and Heartbreak: Searching for a Cure
During those years I always worried when Bao My was at school and panicked every time we received a phone call from her teacher. My wife and I would rush to the school’s medical room and anxiously wait for her to wake up so that we could bring her home.
Bao My often lost her appetite following a seizure, due to having bitten her tongue so badly that she was in pain for weeks. It broke my heart but there was nothing anyone could do to help.
Over time, Bao My began to say she wanted to quit school. She told me in tears that she was being teased and bullied, and she was lonely as no one cared enough to pay attention to her.
In our search for a cure, we looked for help from every imaginable source—from Western doctors and professors to Oriental traditional healers, from monks and nuns to other parents in a similar situation, from prayer and ritual ceremonies to hospitals public and private, from holy water and herbal treatments to EEG tests culminating in a pile of results as thick as a book.
None of them worked.
Amazing Turn of Events
So what was it that finally turned things around? In the end it was teachings in a very special book that lifted us out of our plight. For us it was nothing short of a miracle.
In June 2012, a year after the incident at the beach, a friend gave me a book called “Zhuan Falun.” It is the main book of Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese practice for improving the mind and body that includes moral and spiritual teachings as well as four qigong exercises and a sitting meditation.
Shortly after reading “Zhuan Falun” I was able to turn over easily without pain. I was no longer paralyzed! I got up and was able to stand! I was so excited for myself as well as by the possibility that Bao My could benefit from Falun Dafa as well.
My friend introduced me to other practitioners of Falun Dafa. When I asked if they would come to my home every morning on their way to the park to do the exercises and take Bao My with them, they kindly agreed. Bao My then taught me the exercises when she got home, and I soon made fast progress in being able to stand and move again.
However, Bao My continued to have epileptic symptoms, including sleepwalking in the middle of the exercises at the park. I realized that the reason I had better results was that I both did the exercises and read “Zhuan Falun,” while my daughter only did the exercises but did not read the book. Once we knew what the problem was, it was easy to solve.
Witnessing the Divine
Persistence! My daughter and I were very persistent, and we encouraged each other. Although Bao My was only a seventh-grader, she had immense endurance and had absolute faith in what she learned in “Zhuan Falun.”
Finally, a miracle smiled upon us. After two months of reading the book, striving to follow the teachings, and doing the exercises and meditation, our health dramatically improved. In the beginning, Bao My did continue to suffer epileptic symptoms once every few months, but she was able to sense those symptoms coming on and as a result manage them better. In time, both of us shook off our serious health conditions completely.
From a shy, sick, and isolated child struggling with illness and despair, Bao My became a healthy teen who did well in school and had many good friends. Seeing her in her new state, it reminded me of how she used to be as a small child who rarely cried and loved to run and climb and sing.
Our family and friends were amazed. For me, I can truly say that the divine appeared in the human world and saved my daughter and me. Words cannot describe our gratitude.
Now, each night watching Bao My solemnly place her “Zhuan Falun” book in its case and go to sleep with a smile on her face, I feel so peaceful and grateful. Seeing us as happy as we are, no one would guess that just a short time ago our lives were in disarray and our bodies were broken, with no hope for the future. Today we are blessed with a bright and healthy future.
Thai Quang Vinh is a teacher and well-known author of many popular language-learning books in Vietnam.
Falun Dafa is a cultivation practice of mind and body that teaches truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance as a way to improve health and moral character and attain spiritual wisdom.
For more information about the practice, visit www.falundafa.org. All books, exercise music, resources, and instructions are available free of charge.