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I am back in the world

After being a recluse for 18+ months due to seizures, being physically and mentally able to go places again feels absolutely phenomenal.

For over 18 months I only left the house for dog walks. I didn’t leave my village, I didn’t travel on public transport, go in supermarkets, or stay outside for long periods of time. I basically didn’t have a life.

Most of this period we were totally unaware I was having seizures, and were desperately trying to work out what was causing my odd behaviour, panic, zoning out etc. We were trying to manage it, live with it and understand it – my ex-social worker blamed my seizures on bipolar moods / psychosis, as dissociation, but otherwise left us alone to handle it ourselves. Shortly after we stopped going to appts, because we couldn’t manage and as ever they weren’t helping!!

Now that we’ve found ways to manage everything a bit better, and especially with the polarized goggles, I am actually able to get out and about in the world 😀

I’ve been able to go in shops!!! Actual well lit, big, supermarket shops! I can go on public transport. I can have longer periods of time out and enjoy things and just *be* a person with a life!!

One of the things I am now able to do is go and manage GP appts. We recently switched to a new GP surgery, as our previous surgery behaved disgustingly yet again…and the new surgery seems INCREDIBLE!

The Dr at the meet and greet was lovely; very friendly, polite, and the ‘negatives’ he listed about the surgery (that sometimes you might have to wait two days for an appt, or if you wanted one at a specific surgery the longest you might have to wait is six days) made us laugh…at our previous surgery we had to wait three weeks for an emergency appt!!!!

He asked if either of us were on any referrals, and I mentioned that I was waiting to be referred to a neurologist to investigate seizures, but needed a blood test first. He said as soon as my info had been swapped across we could get that done, and if the previous surgery dicked about and didn’t send it soon enough, we could phone them, ask what specific blood test it is, and get it done sooner 🙂

So I’m actually on the way to having my seizures looked at!

Overall a very positive post…and hopefully not because I’m manic hahaha!! No but really, having a life rocks. Of course days out the house still affect me more, with the result being exhaustion and increased seizures, but the fact I am able to do things just feels so incredibly wonderful 🙂

 

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Why must I be out in the world?!

We signed up to the new GP surgery today, the other one in our town.

We get there, and the receptionist says that although we’ll be signed to this surgery, most appts will be at the other surgery, a 25 minute bus ride away…whyyyyy?!

Apparently you can see Dr’s at our surgery, it’s just a longer wait as there are fewer appt slots there. We said that was fine as the previous surgery left you waiting 3 weeks for an emergency appt XD

Even so, apparently we have to have a ‘meet and greet’ appt with the GP before we will be registered, and that has to be at the far away surgery…this sucks because I’m already going to freaking out (I haven’t had a physical appt at a surgery in a few years, and this will be a new surgery with a new Dr!) and the bus will make me very sensitive seizures too. Add some stress and I’ll be fucked >__<

The receptionist said the lighting was dim at that surgery too, when I asked, but my bf still wants to try and get the meet and greet at the nearby one. Idk.

Filling the questionnaire in was fun, considering all the information they demanded from you, and I had no idea what to put for epilepsy…I’m 98% certain I have epilepsy (as my seizures are light triggers, no t tonic clonic, and I have auras – all are incredibly rare with NES), but as I’m not diagnosed I couldn’t circle it.

In the end I circled everything, and put seizures under investigation, which is what a previous Dr wrote on my fit note.

Whilst we were out I also goggled up and got to go in the second hand bookstore, where I haven’t been able to go for years due to seizures and lighting. I love this place, and found a very old interesting dog breed book 😀

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Bad bits and good bits

Today got off to a shit start, with my GP surgery being major dicks yet again!

My bf phoned up to ask if the surgery could legally do a blood test if I was having a seizure.  As far as we knew I was on the waiting list for a home test, but we’d been waiting for months and thought with my new polarized goggles I could get in and out fairly easily…we just wouldn’t want to get there, me to have a seizure, and them to say “we can’t legally do it now, come back another day!”…and it’d NEVER be done!!

The receptionist was actually disgusting. She treated my bf like shit. She told him he was wasting their time asking this question, that “there’d be Dr’s there” if I did have a seizure, and – the best bit! – snapped “You’re not having a home visit, if that’s what you’re after!”

Firstly, that IS NOT what we were after, secondly according to the previous receptionist we spoke to we were already on that list!!!

Thanks for letting us know we weren’t at all XD

After receiving no answer, we hung up. We then phoned Epilepsy Action’s advice line, who were almost as unhelpful and out of date in their information…according to them seizures cannot be triggered by fluorescent lighting?!?

Quick google search showed me many others were also triggered by fluorescent / LED lighting, and this post on an epilepsy forum hit home as I share a lot of these triggers!

Anyway.

The benefit of this was that we discovered a new GP surgery in our town. It’s in a small house, so has normal lighting, and means I don’t have to deal with the shitty staff anymore…yay!

Today I went out for 3 hours, which was really fun! It resulted in a high number of seizures (21 simple partial, and 3 complex partial), but without my polarized goggles it would have been much more, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near as much 🙂

Here’s me in a brightly lit shop!!

spoonie

And we even had a meal at a pub 😀

And an ice cream with a view for desert!!

Awesome day 🙂

A few hours after we got back home, my brain crashed and I had to take a codeine for a migraine…but it was worth it!

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Seizures aren’t all the same!

Did you know there are over 40 different type of seizures?

When people hear the word epilepsy, they think of people dropping to the floor and shaking…but that isn’t even the most common type of seizure!!

The most common type of seizure is complex partial (also called focal impaired) seizures; where the person looks conscious, and may move or wander, but in actual fact they have lost consciousness. Think of the phrase “the lights are on but nobody’s home”!

I have simple and complex partial seizures. I find on an almost daily basis that because my seizures don’t involve dropping to the ground, people don’t take it anywhere near as seriously. This pisses me off, because I deal with the following yet I have it ‘easy’?!

  1. Over a dozen seizures daily that last 1-2.5 minutes at a time
  2. Clusters, where I have half a dozen seizures in a 20 minute period
  3. A complete loss of control about where these seizures happen…it can be mid sentence, when I’m eating, surrounded by people, staring at someone etc
  4. Feeling exhausted afterwards
  5. Feeling spacey, slow-brained and confused
  6. After complex partial seizures I act erratic, and may shout swear words, burst into laughter, or gesticulate hugely with my hands. People have called me disgusting, because they assumed I was drunk / on drugs
  7. Before about 70% of my seizures I experience an aura, which lets me know a seizure is incoming. My auras vary from flashing white specks (the most common), to a panic aura. I feel flooded with panic, and often end up hyperventilating and crying, THEN having a seizure
  8. Losing large chunks of memory, hours at a time
  9. Not being able to go out without wearing gigantic ski goggles
  10. Having to avoid bright lights, flashing lights, arcades, the cinema, and bodies of water
  11. Having several migraines a week, because my brain is mush from all the seizures

Epilepsy is an invisible illness. There’s so much suffering going on under the surface that passers by don’t see.

For anyone interested, this is me during a simple partial seizure

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Thank you guys!

A huge thank you to all who voted for me in the art competition – I actually won!!

I’ve never entered or won a competition before, so that was really really cool 🙂

The $100 gift card had to be used on amazon.com, so finding things that would ship to the UK and where the shipping didn’t add $20+ was a little tricky, but we got some great things nonetheless.

For anybody interested, here’s what I got with my prize money!

Two kits for hand stamping, which is a new hobby I’m trying out. Currently I only have the alphabet, this was today’s attempt (the heart at the bottom was made using a Y!)

handstamp

The stamps I bought (I’ll be able to make my own dog tags with the numbers!)

A 6ft light dog lead and an easy clean treat bag for the pups.

A Pokemon cap for me, because I fell in love with it XD

prizes4

And I got my partner some t-shirts too…he’s an even bigger Pokemon fan than me, so yeah 😛

Today I have been floored by the worst cold.

My nose is a tap, my throat is covered in sand paper. I fought valiantly for less than four hours sleep last night, and exhaustion combined with being physically ill has lead to a high number of seizures today. Being a spoonie AND being ‘normally’ sick sucks XD

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CBD oil blues

CBD oil has not been good to me.

CBD oil is quoted as helping EVERYTHING, from anxiety disorders, depression, epilepsy, to stroke and cancer. It’s natural, and supposedly has no side effects. It starts working within a few days to a week, and the results are amazing.

Only that hasn’t been the case for me at all.

I’ve tried A LOT of different CBD oils, various strains, strengths and from various companies. In the UK the strength of an oil is measured in %, I’ve had oils vary as much as 3-30%. The 30% was one of the least effective!!

First thing to be aware of, dosing instructions from the companies can’t be trusted!

Second thing, you can indeed have side effects from CBD oil. For me, this was migraine. I also know somebody else who experienced migraines when starting CBD oil. It also messed with my sleep depending on the dose; low dose and I slept too little, with a higher dose my sleep was deep and peaceful.

The most effective oil for me has been a full spectrum 4% CBD oil with traces of THC. The company recommended 3-12 drops a day, which did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for me.

A friend told me most oils require a daily dose of around 30 drops, especially for seizure disorders. They are notoriously hard to treat. Sure enough we upped my dose to 18 drops a day, and saw a huge improvement.

It reduced my triggers (eg. cars going past with headlights on no longer caused seizures, in fact they barely made me feel spacey). It shortened the length of my seizures, and meant I bounced back / recovered from a seizure much faster. It also greatly reduced seizure rage, which was incredibly important to me, and I felt better in myself – more “me”!

However, after three days with less than a dozen seizures and feeling really good (for me 😉 ), I had to switch to a new CBD oil as mine had run out.

This one is an 8% CBD oil from the same company, but it’s an entirely different strain.

Because I had to switch, I fell right back down the epilepsy pit. Today has been fucking awful, I might as well have been taking nothing.

I’ve had a lot of LONG seizures, experienced a huge cluster, and was left feeling extremely physically unwell with a migraine. I haven’t noticed any triggers today, nothing that would usually cause seizures; no bright lights, missing sleep etc. It’s ridiculous.

We were going to start this oil at a low dose and gradually build it up, but fuck that I need relief!! Instead of a starting dose of 5 drops we’re doing 14, tomorrow will be 16 drops and the day after 18. We’ll see how I’m doing then.

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My life with seizures

Very bad day so not able to type much. Will copy this summary I typed elsewhere instead:

Welcome to my life with a seizure disorder.

Dozens of seizures a day and being able to do nothing to stop them; relying on your partner to stop you auto-walking, falling, or being hit by cars when having a seizure; not remembering ANY of your day (not even things you did five minutes ago); and looking like a prat in front of complete strangers, so choosing to hide away inside.

Just tried to say goodbye to [my partner and our friend], and instead my mouth said “no fucking”…which was at least humorous, but y’know’ not exactly great XD