I had another seizure yesterday…..sigh.
My first seizure in April 2005 was a grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizure in a Las Vegas casino while on vacation with friends. No cause was ever found (all of the tests came back normal) and it was suspected that the flashing lights of Vegas or perhaps dehydration, insomnia or alcohol may have contributed. The seizure did occur on the first day of my period (catamenial epilepsy?) and I’d had a migraine the night before.
My second seizure (also tonic-clonic) occurred this February, four years later. The last thing that I remember is putting a casserole in the oven at 6:10 and the next time reference that we had was when I stumbled out to the home office to find Larry around 7:00, my face covered in blood. Once again I had lost consciousness, hitting my face on the counter on the way down. I visited the neurologist again and he suggested that I go on anti-seizure medication but I was reluctant, preferring to find an underlying cause rather than simply treating the symptoms. No cause was found and I decided that once every four years was a risk that I was willing to take, particularly since this seizure also occurred at the start of my period. Since I am perimenopausal, I reasoned that hormonally induced seizures may be a thing of the past before long.
Then yesterday, the third seizure occurred. This time, it occurred not at the start of my period but mid-cycle, during ovulation, also known to trigger catamenial seizures. I had spent the morning moving Amanda out of her dorm room and had just gotten home. I felt tired so I went to my room to lie down for a few minutes. When I awoke, I was disoriented and had bitten my lip and my tongue. I couldn’t remember what day it was, where Larry was or the names of my dogs. This morning, my head is a bit tired and foggy (like the photo of the park bench in Melbourne above). I have a faint headache, my right temple is red and sore, my lower lip is enormous and my tongue is sore and swollen, making it difficult to talk or eat.
A third seizure is life-altering. While a doctor can dismiss a first or second seizure, particularly after no underlying cause is found, we can no longer look the other way. I will begin taking anti-seizure medication and I will be unable to drive. The Livestrong Challenge, which I had hoped to participate in a month from now, will now be enjoyed as a spectator rather than a participant. I had recently enrolled in real estate licensing training in order to renew my license and assist Larry but I will need to rethink future employment – it’s hard to be a realtor if you can’t drive!
I’m not sure what to do about employment. The plan had always been that I would go back to school when Amanda went to college. The struggling housing market prompted me to go back to work a year early, in the fall of 2007, but I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma the day after I was hired at Alaska Airlines. This time my decision to restart my real estate career has been sidelined by seizures and the loss of my driver’s license shortly after enrolling in classes. I feel like such a financial drain on the family, between my endless medical expenses and the cost of prescriptions (I’m told that my AED’s will be $300 and we don’t have prescription drug coverage). I’m already spending $200 on medications for my stomach each month….
I’ll write more soon…..for now, I want to go outside and enjoy the sunshine….