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Still waiting

Not much to report, things are the same.

I still don’t have my MRI results. It was almost 4 weeks ago now 🙄

When we phoned PIP on the 6th week (originally we were told we’d have an updated decision in 3), the person we spoke to said “what I’d advise you do is call again at the end of March if you haven’t heard anything”…😱😱😱 That would be twelve weeks!!!! 😡 So I think we’re going to phone them weekly just to try to annoy them into acting faster 🙄

And I haven’t heard about an appt for my EEG yet, despite the two referrals my neurologist sent 🙄

So.

I continue to have way too many seizures everyday, alongside battling chronic pain and bipolar disorder. I’ve been hiding inside, either not going out at all, or going out for 15-30 minute walks to enjoy the snow🙂

Because I haven’t really been going out, my seizures have been sitting at an average of 15 a day, but a few days back I had my lowest seizure day in about 10 months: 8 seizures in an entire day 😃

And that’s pretty much where we’re at.

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Hiding indoors helps

Because my brain’s been so screwy and I’ve been having so many seizures lately, I barely left the house this past week. I had 4 days holed up inside.

Finally, my seizure total for the day lowered, so our plan to hide away & let it reset worked. Just over a week ago I was having on average 24 seizures a day, after hiding indoors this lowered to 14 🙂

It definitely helps that we’ve discovered the room upstairs doesn’t trigger my seizures much at all. We basically live in one room of our house (because why move about and have to deal with lighting triggers?!), we were originally downstairs as that’s the biggest room in the house, but even with blackout curtains and strategically placed lamps it triggered a lot of seizures. Upstairs is SO MUCH BETTER. And weirdly it’s lighter up here, but because of where the light is it’s not a trigger.

Today though I thought I’d better go outside, go for a short walk. Be in the world just a little. I got some nice photos!

We were out about 45 minutes; I had 3 seizures on the walk, and 3 within twenty minutes of getting back home…lighting is such a fucking shitty trigger to have.

It’s also one that’s denied constantly by professionals…and no, it doesn’t have to be flickering/flashing, bright lights or changes in lighting for me are just as bad as flashing lights. Like yeah okay, I’m a special case & this is uncommon, but you don’t know everything about the brain and you can’t claim to know everything that triggers seizures 🙄😑

It’s been nice staying indoors and having less seizures as a result though. I’d forgotten what it felt like!

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A quote

Every few weeks I am overwhelmed with how small and dark my life has become, because of seizures. I feel suffocated by all I have lost and all that I can no longer do. I spend a day crying and mourning for the life I once had. 

Today is one of those days. This is life with a disability. This is life with huge limitations. I’m not ashamed.

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Epilepsy Awareness Mouth

Epilepsy is hugely misunderstood, underfunded, and can easily go missed or untreated for many years.

When most people hear ‘epilepsy’ they think of convulsive (tonic clonic) seizures. This is actually just ONE TYPE of seizure, and there are around 40! Tonic clonic seizures are also not the most common type seizure in people with epilepsy, but they’re basically all you see/hear about in the media.

Here are some infographics on warning signs of seizures: 

There’s also a huge misconception that epilepsy is ‘just having seizures’, and other than that you’re fine…this is hugely false.

Most seizures involve a postictal phase (feeling different AFTER the seizure), and this can last minutes, hours, or days. Many people (including me) also experience auras BEFORE the seizure, which can include visual hallucinations, feeling spacey, numb, ‘dead’ or disconnected.

After long seizures (3+ minutes) or clusters of seizures (typically 8+ seizures in 25 minutes) I will be out of it for 1-2 hours, And even after that I may feel tired or have a migraine. By ‘out of it’ I mean my brain won’t be producing memories, I’ll be taking gibberish, confused, get lost even in places I know extremely well etc.

Finally there is the impact epilepsy has on your life. I have 10-30 seizures a day, and I can’t do many activities…I can’t cook without supervision, I can’t leave the house on my own, I can’t go to the toilet or shower alone, and when I have seizures in public people don’t understand as I’m not on the floor convulsing!! I’ve had people shout abuse at my partner before, as they thought I was drunk/on drugs due to the fact I couldn’t walk straight and was acting funny!!

Finally there is basically no funding for epilepsy research, no cure, and your average member of the public has no idea how to recognise seizures or respond appropriately (people with epilepsy have been arrested & beaten by the police because they were acting strange – ‘unco-operative’ – after seizures). Epilepsy kills more people than most types of cancer, yet there is no ‘war on epilepsy’…this needs to change.

2

Victorious yet anxious

Eight days ago I started using a new CBD oil, from CBD Brothers. 

I wasn’t feeling too hopeful, as I’ve tried five different CBD oils before and none have ever done that much.

Fast forward to this week, I’ve had THREE days with less than three seizures per day, and today (at 6:15pm) I’ve had just one seizure!!

This hasn’t happened in over 2 years!!!

Whilst I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s made me incredibly anxious too…will the NHS be even less interested in getting me diagnosed, if I’m having seizures less often and have found something myself that works? Seizures are the only thing the DWP seemed to take seriously – if I’m having less, will they reduce my benefit?Even though I’m still spending all day (other than an hour’s dog walk) hidden inside behind dark curtains, with the lights off…I can’t imagine they will listen.

I feel like such a dick, because here I am panicking about everything after one day of having just one seizure…but then I think hey, of course it’s going to feel strange and scary, for the last 2+ years you’ve been having dozens of seizures a day, and ANY type of big change can trigger anxiety.

So I’m just gonna have to treat myself gently, and focus on how INCREDIBLE it is that this CBD oil is helping my seizures. I could get a life back, and that is something to be celebrated, not feared.

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Too much, too much!!

We’ve had a few busy days recently, beginning with my parents visiting at the weekend and journeying to a zoo.

The busyness caught up with me, and for the last few days I’ve just felt so physically exhausted. One day I didn’t leave bed other than to go to the loo. I have been SO TIRED.

For years I would’ve fought against this, called myself lazy, and been filled with self-hatred. But I’ve learned that when you’re chronically ill / disabled, you HAVE to listen to your body. Self care is not selfish! If you need a day of rest, you need a day of rest. If you need an entire day in bed recovering, do it!!

Today I woke up feeling energised, but I pushed myself too much. I ended up having to come home from a day out early, I had a seizure and fell (and have a cracking bruise on my head now), and we had to cancel plans with family. I rushed back into activity too soon, but I’ll learn from this and take it slower next time.

Point of this post? I dunno. Listen to your body, fight the stigma of others thinking you’re lazy, and do what YOU need to do.

ouch

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Nervous – my first BIG day in years!

Today my parents are up for a visit to belatedly celebrate my dad’s birthday, and we have a big day out planned.

We’re going to a zoo. Not just our teeny-but-lovely local zoo that’s a 15 minute drive away, but a BIG zoo a 50 minute drive away. That’s a huge journey for me (travel being my biggest trigger) and the zoo will most likely be packed with visitors, as it’s free admission until the end of this month.

After that, we’re hoping I’ll be well enough to look around a few shops and handle a meal out at a pub.

This is the sort of day out I haven’t been able to do in years, and so obviously I am nervous. I’m also aware that MANY people will stare at the zoo, due to my goggles. But I need them, so fuck ’em 😉

With my wide-brimmed hat and my polarized goggles, I’m hoping we can enjoy a really good day out with not too many seizures. Nervous but excited!