“Ma’am. Just take it easy. You’ve had a seizure, and we are taking you to the hospital.”
“But I don’t have seizures…”
Probably the most confusing day of my entire life happened on February 1, 2019.
Let me back up. For the last six months or so prior to February 1, I had been having these weird “episodes” that were so minor I didn’t even think they were worth mentioning. They weren’t often, were random -usually when I was daydreaming or when my mind was occupied thinking about my day or something. They started as maybe a cold chill or a shiver up my backbone, felt like a funny deja vu, felt like a sugar low…all at the same time but for maybe 30 seconds and then would be over. It would happen maybe once a month, maybe more? I didn’t think any thing of them and would shake them off and move on…they were enough to notice but not enough to count them or really realize how many or how often I was having them. Certainly not enough to mention them to anyone.
On February 1, however, I had 7 of these “episodes” in one day. That had never happened. I felt awful that day. It was a Friday. We were expecting Whitney and Duane to come in from Chattanooga that night. I was upset thinking I was getting the flu. I played tennis that morning, was cold and exhausted all day so I came home and took a nap. I couldn’t get warm. I told Matt I felt terrible and that I had been having these weird feelings all day. It’s the only reasoned I mentioned them. Then I got super hot! I just knew I was getting sick. As we waited for Whit and D, we were sitting on the bed watching tv and the kids were already asleep (Thank you, Lord!). I felt another one coming on and I looked at Matt, said, “I’m having another one!!!” Then that’s the last I remember. He says I slumped over and started seizing a grand mal type seizure with the eyes rolled back, the shaking, the clenched down jaw – all of it. I bit through my tongue and it started bleeding pretty good out of my mouth and I think I just about scared him to death. Bless him. He called 911.
Meanwhile Whitney and Duane pulled up and into the chaos as the ambulance and firetrucks pulled in as well. I was in and out of consciousness at that point. I don’t remember much, just snippets. I remember waking up and telling all the 9 men in uniform to get out of my bedroom. I remember being quite belligerent to the paramedic that tried to start an IV that I ripped out of my arm. I remember pushing Whitney out of the way and barreling into my bathroom for who knows why?? And then I remember waking up strapped to a gurney in an ambulance and they were telling me that I had a seizure and was being taken to the hospital. I didn’t believe them and certainly didn’t understand and could NOT figure out why my tongue hurt so terribly!!
Flash forward to what we found out and know:
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED? After two separate EEG tests in the hospital, they confirmed that the “episodes” I was having prior to my seizure were indeed auras or some would call them mini localized seizures in my right frontal lobe. I had been having them for months and my brain couldn’t handle them anymore so what was localized in one area spread to the whole brain and generalized to the “grand mal” type seizure. (Sidenote: I am told these are antiquated terms and most doctors don’t use them anymore, but it’s what most people understand so that’s how I still describe them.)
WHY? Well we can’t obviously know 100 percent for certain, but we feel pretty sure we know why. I am a sufferer of migraines. I always have been. I can remember as a little girl, maybe 8 or 10 even, crying with pain so bad and thinking I was dying and my sweet daddy rubbing my head and talking me through it and helping me calm down and relax to give medicine time to work. Vivid memories. My neurologist says that migraines and seizures go hand in hand in women and that I was probably always prone to seizures but my body was able to fight them off. However, I began a new medicine around six months 8 months ago and thats the same time the auras started that had a side effect of seizures and since I had no history of seizures, no one knew. We feel like that medicine caused my threshold to fight off migraines/seizures to lower and I began having auras. Six months in to taking the medicine, my insurance stopped paying for it and it was on a Friday afternoon. I was out of the medicine, so I just quit taking it….which I should not have done. Don’t ever do that. That’s when the auras increased and that next Friday was the big seizure. Just like migraines, seizures have triggers…mine seem to be stress, lack of sleep, too much caffeine, etc. – all of which I was that week – hence the feeling of getting the flu/sick and then the seizure.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?? Well, I am on anti-seizure medication for at least 2 years. We can re-address after that. My doctor was very encouraging to say that since we feel like we have a “why” and that I had never had a seizure before, that she is hopeful I might never have one again. Also it is a very good sign that I had the auras before…I had warning signals which a lot of people don’t. I also know my triggers which is very helpful to be able to try and manage those. (Just don’t stress, get tired or drink too much coffee – so easy for this mom of 4! ha!)
- Can you drive? No I still can’t drive. In the state of MS the law is that after a seizure you can’t drive for 6 months. I’ll be able to drive again on August 1. This is the most frustrating part and most inconvenient part as well. I am so tired of being a burden to all my friends and family. I am tired of not being able to get my children where they need to go. I am tired of not getting to make a Target run by myself. Ha! But this too shall pass. It’s temporary and I am so grateful for all the people that have offered to help and have given us rides. Really. You have no ideal how you have blessed our family. And I do get it. I don’t remember the seizure at. all. I was in mid-sentence and it is only by the grace of God that I wasn’t driving my children somewhere when it happened. It is not fun and it is super frustrating, but I would rather keep everyone safe and be sure than risk it. (Keep reminding me of that when I am 5 months in…mmmk?)
- How do you feel? This question is so sweet and such a hard one to answer. Some days I feel great and completely back to normal, actually most days I feel back to normal. However, I don’t have the same endurance as I used to have. I have always been a night owl and could pull all nighters preparing for events or movie marathons or gab sessions with my sister. But I can’t hang now. My brain will NOT function. I can’t overdo it. If I do, I really pay for it. If we have extra long days with just our life, or if Matt is out of town or whatever, I might overdo it out of necessity, because sometimes being a momma you just have to do what needs to be done. So if I am having a recoup day, those days may be hard. I might be in a fog and probably can’t make complete sentences sound normal, but other than those days I usually am feeling pretty good. And every now and then I feel really dumb and feel like this new medicine has zapped all the intelligence I thought I once had. I don’t feel I can be very quick witted anymore – if I try it just all comes out wrong. But those are small prices to pay.
Biggest Lesson Of All – It was a traumatic and scary and not fun thing to go through and it super duper sucks to not be able to drive for 6 months and I hate being on medicine that makes me feel stupid and I wish I could still feel like super mom instead of take it easy mom and I am mad that I feel like I could have prevented this if it all came from a medicine. BUT. None of this was a surprise to the ONE who made me and none of this changes the course of my life from what it was already going to be. I am ever so grateful that it wasn’t worse. I could have been driving when it happened. It could have been a brain tumor. I could be figuring out how to say goodbye to my babies or worse it could have happened to one of them instead of me.
God is so good and so gracious and so merciful and so faithful and so kind. We are so thankful for His blessings through this and we are so thankful for our family and how they have helped us and for our beautiful friends for how they have loved on us. We had dinner delivered to our door for a solid month after this. Words will never be enough to thank you all.
And to you our Front Porch Family, thank you for being patient with us as we took a minute to recuperate.
But now grab a chair, we would like to welcome you back to the Front Porch…