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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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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 anย 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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Epilepsy success: Blue Tinted Polarized Goggles!

So today has been INCREDIBLE!!!

About a week ago someone told me that polarized sunglasses help them when they feel a migraine coming on, and they wondered if they might help me with seizures. I am hugely photosensitive, to the point that changes in lighting (eg going indoors from outside), strobes, bright lights and reflections all trigger seizures.

I live a life of gloom; our curtains are always pulled shut and in the evening we have to use lamps hidden partially behind curtains, rather than turn on a big light.

I did some research into polarized lenses and epilepsy, and found that blue tinted polarized glasses have been found to be helpful in individuals with photosensitive epilepsy. So I ordered some ski goggles in – in part because they’re comfortable and easy to wear over my glasses, and also because ski goggles keep the light out much better than ski goggles.

When they arrived, they were HUGE…but they work wonders ๐Ÿ˜€

iwentintoshops3

Today I went out for 3.5 hours (which is a massive deal for me). This involved two 45 minutes bus journeys (I normally have at least half a dozen seizures on a 20 minute journey) and I went into brightly lit shopsย for the first time in a year!!!

Before this the only shops I was able to go in were dingily lit shops, such as most charity shops. If I nipped in and was wearing a sunhat, I could cope with them. But I hadn’t been in any shop with bright lighting (eg. Waterstones, supermarkets, chain pet shops, shopping arcades etc) in a year.

Today, because the goggles were helping so much, we risked it…NO SEIZURES!!

To be in a supermarket, and able to look around and find things I wanted to buy, without worrying about seizures or feeling ill, was truly amazing. Me and my partner were just walking around with huge grins on our faces ๐Ÿ˜€

As soon as we realised that it was safe, I went into Waterstones too! I *love* Waterstones and could easily spend a good few hours in there, so getting to go in for twenty minutes was phenomenal. I even got a new dog book!

iwentintoshops

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Finally we went into a shopping centre, and got some macarons. The guy commented “wow, those are some serious glasses!” I explained what they were for and that this was my first time out somewhere so bright, and the guy was lovely – he was genuinely happy for me, and gave us four free macarons ๐Ÿ˜€

iwentintoshops2

On this trip I had seven seizures total (5 simple partial and two complex partial), but all but one was at the very end, when my brain had had to cope with too much and was shutting down. Other than the very end, I had just one seizure ๐Ÿ™‚

The downside to the goggles were all the rude stares, comments, and sniggers I got. Today alone over a dozen people commented on them (generally degrading, or simple “what the fuck?” type comments) and some people walked past gawping or stood uncomfortable close and just frowned at me.

The most hilarious comments were a kid asking his dad if they were VR glasses, and was I walking around in virtual reality (!!); and a group of teenagers sniggering “nice glasses!” as they passed – my bf then replied “they’re for epilepsy”, and their faces fell as one mumbled “oh…sorry…” XD

I’m going to write EPILEPSY on the band and try fathom a way to put it on the front, in hopes of stopping the rude morons commenting, but for now I’d rather deal with anxiety around arseholes than have constant seizures and not be able to go anywhere!

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Hobbies

Epilepsy stole many hobbies from me.

I can’t hike as much as I used to (and I certainly can’t go out alone, as I have seizures on most walks), I can’t play video games, enjoy handheld consoles, read, write, enjoy photography, or watch TV. Those were basically all the hobbies I have ever enjoyed.

So I had to branch out.

I discovered needle felting, which I enjoy, although if I have a simple partial seizure and automatically carry on with what I was doing, the fast-stabby needle can be somewhat dangerous ๐Ÿ˜›

More recently I tried hand stamping.

This isn’t really that good a hobby for me, as I get hugely frustrated when I make a mistake and have little patience. With needle felting, mistakes can be easily gone over or redone. With hand stamping the product is normally ruined.

I’ve definitely improved from when I first started, but the progress hasn’t quite been enough yet!

The samples that came with the kit are really soft, which means they’re super easy to stamp. I actually got pretty good with them, aside from goofing which way some letters sat ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since then I bought some brass tags in, which you have to hit a lot harder. This causes the letters to jump about a lot more. I’ve done about ten brass tags, and this is the best I have so far.

I was really pissed with the jumping letters on the top two, because I used the single strike method, where you hit the stamp once…so how it jumped enough to imprint the letters twice, far apart, beats me!

Does anyone have any spoonie-friendly hobbies, that don’t involve light? I’m always on the lookout for more ๐Ÿ™‚

So far I’ve tried:
– soap carving
– needle felting
– hand stamping
– (and I will be trying) paper folding!

I prefer hobbies that produce things that can be used for something, even if it’s just given as a gift.

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Out of spoons

Yesterday I had a day out.

Not much; 10 minute train to the seaside, hour and a half walking about, 10 minute train back. The rest of that day I was out of spoons though, I felt awful.

Today I am apparently still out of spoons, this day has been hell.

My seizures have all lasted longer than usual. They’ve affected me worse than usual. I’m struggling mentally, I feel low and hopeless. I had two outbursts of EDS. I’m just doing awful.

Filled with hate, filled with anger, don’t know why I bother.

Gonna cocoon and try regroup.

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), 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.ย 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 dropsย we’re doingย 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