the wrong side of the bed

Thursday, March 30, 2006

now that i have epilepsy, will i lose my faithful readers?

it seems that there are those out there who may reject me because i have epilepsy. are you among them? please say no...

from the epilepsy foundation: "Close relationships usually pose another question: At what point do I explain that I have epilepsy? There's no right answer for everybody, of course, but in general, disclosing the fact of having epilepsy seems to create the least difficulty when it happens after people have had a chance to get to know each other, rather than on the first date."

from epilepsy.com: "There is no reason to rush the disclosure of epilepsy. Unless the seizures are so frequent that one might occur on the first date, it is best to wait until the ice is broken and trust and openness have developed in the relationship. These positive developments may happen on the first date or the tenth date, or they may never happen. If the two persons are obviously incompatible, there is no reason to discuss the disorder. If the relationship is developing slowly but is promising, it is reasonable to discuss the epilepsy earlier rather than later. It is best to tell the other person face to face, not over the telephone or by letter."

an abstract from an article on the neurology india site: "Women in India are greatly discriminated against if they happen to have epilepsy. Engagements are often cancelled. The parents of epileptic girls have to give heavy dowry at the time of marriage, even if the boy is handicapped. As a result, many girls do not disclose their problem before marriage. They take the medicine secretly. Epilepsy may sometimes produce problems during pregnancy and delivery, otherwise epileptic women on anti epileptic drugs, can lead a normal married, professional and social life. The stigma of epilepsy should be done away with, as we enter the 21st century."
11:07 AM | link | (13) comments

note to zombies: steer clear of this one, it don't look so good

well, it is done. i've got my diagnosis. temporal lobe epilepsy. there is a region in my temporal lobe that is either underdeveloped* or a tumor. there is really no way to know if it is a tumor without cutting out a bit of it and taking a look-see. there is no plan to do that. anyway, the doc said that it would be treated the same way (medication) even if it is a tumor. but, they will give me an MRI every six months to monitor the region and make sure it isn't growing. yep. sounds good.

they are putting me on lamictal. fewer side effects than some of the other options. for example, he said they could put me on depakote, which is very effective, but only if i wanted to end up "fat, bald, and shaky." i guess i don't. lamictal has only one scary side effect, but it is a doozy: the possibility (very low) of developing a FATAL RASH. fatal? i didn't know that rashes could be fatal. they can. basically i would develop chemical burns on my body and my skin would slough off and i would, um, die... somehow. but, the chances of developing this rash are low. and if i notice a rash, i should call them immediately.

also, and this was the worst part, i asked him if having seizures does anything bad to me. you know, permanent damage and all. he said that the jury is still out on that one, but that there is some evidence that in the case of people who have been having seizures for a long time, there is more of a chance of damage. more damage means more seizures, which would be consistent with the increasing number of seizures i have been having since i was about 16. yep, a good 13 years worth of untreated seizures. he said that there is an old adage, "seizures beget seizures," which i have never, ever heard before. kind of pointless for old adages to be kept all secret and stuff. i might have started getting worried sooner if i had known of it. anyway, i'm going to start tossing that one around just so other people hear it. the other possible damage done by going untreated for so long is that i might not respond to medications, which would mean surgery, but that is a loooong way off.

* the doctor kept saying that there was a part of my brain that just didn't "mature" when i was developing. he said "mature" in a way that makes me shudder. i'm from the camp that says MAH-chur. he said mah-TOUR. and my skin crawled right off of my body.**

** possibly like it would if i get the FATAL rash.
7:04 AM | link | (7) comments

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

i'm run of the mill

from my sister:

"As it turns out, you are not so abnormal after all. It seems that temporal lobe seizures (right more so than left) often present as panic attacks.There were literally thousands of articles on medline and pub med (but noneof the interesting ones had PDFs)."

i really need to get some work done, but now i just want to research this. i'm seeing my neurologist at 3:30 today. then i will find out my exact diagnosis. before the MRI, from the results of the EEG, he said that i had abnormal activity in my right temporal lobe. i am really hoping that i get to see the MRI. it would be pretty cool, doncha think?

anyway, if you want to spend some time today looking for articles about misdiagnosing seizures as panic attacks, please do! send me citations and i will print them out!
8:39 AM | link | (1) comments

Friday, March 24, 2006

abnormalities

okay, so jeremy won't leave me alone about posting my results. fine, dude, here are the results. i will give them to you in the order they happened.

1. the EEG was abnormal. when they called me to schedule the appointment, the woman on the phone repeated it. ABNORMAL. she seemed put off by how cheerful i sounded. i wouldn't have gone in if i didn't think there was something abnormal. they moved my appointment with the neurologist up from april 27th to march 21st.

2. i met with my neurologist. he was a very nice man and he was actually carrying a black leather doctor's bag. hilarious! he told me that the results were normal except for unexpected activity in my right temporal lobe. above my right ear. since there is no history of epilepsy in my family and since i haven't had any serious head injuries, it is likely the result of 1) some kind of problem when i was developing in the womb* 2) a vascular problem of some sort, or 3) a tumor. a tumor seems unlikely because i have been having these episodes since i was in high school. it would have to be a slow-as-molasses-tumor. he scheduled an MRI.

3. i had my MRI yesterday. everyone told me it would be horrible. the claustrophobics said it was among the worst experiences of their lives. my dad said it was extremely boring. i actually enjoyed the experience. i don't know. it was fun listening to all of the clanging and trying to figure out patterns (which i couldn't). if you want to repeat the experience for yourself, jon suggests putting your head in a metal trashcan and banging on it. the part i did not like was that they had to inject me with a solution with some kind of metal in it for part of the MRI. the attendants had a difficult time finding a vein, so they stabbed me in three places. it hurt!

4. my follow up appointment was again scheduled for april 27th. a looooong time to wait for results. by the time i got home from school yesterday, they had called to tell me that my doctor had reviewed the MRI and that he wanted to see me next week and get me started on some medication. i called them back and set up an appointment. it is next wednesday, when i am supposed to be teaching. i'm hoping that someone will show a video in my class.

oh yeah! i forgot the punchline! it is illegal for me to drive for the next six months (the laws vary by state), and i only have 2 car payments left! hee, hee!

* when the doctor told me that it might have happened while my brain was developing, i shouted out, "i blame my mother!" he looked shocked, but when jon laughed, he realized i was joking. anyway, mom, if you are reading this, i don't blame you.
7:14 AM | link | (6) comments

Monday, March 20, 2006

where is my mind?

i have an appointment on tuesday to go over the EEG with my doctor. where is it? what time is it? i wrote the information down, but can't find it.

i looked in my dayplanner. i made it myself so that it will have a place for doodling and random note taking. weirdly, i left out tuesday, march 21st. it doesn't exist in my world. which again raises the question: where did i write the information down?

i have girl scouts this morning. i haven't planned it at all. what am i thinking? i'm returning tests to my students today. i lost two bluebooks. where are they?

i am not happy, when i think about it. when i don't think about it, i feel okay. when i don't think about things, i guess i don't write them down. when i don't think, i guess i lose things. but i am happy (happier - it is relative).

i need to shower. i hate to shower. i also need to get an oil change.
8:15 AM | link | (3) comments

Sunday, March 19, 2006

momma called the doctor and the doctor said,"NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!"

so, i was supposed to have my follow up appointment to the EEG on april 27th. when i went to the hospital on wednesday, it was just an EEG tech who did the procedure. but, the doctor reviewed the output, and it was abnormal. i get to come in earlier now. my appointment is this tuesday.

i don't know what abnormal means. when the receptionist called to schedule the appointment, i was polite and almost chipper. i think she thought i didn't quite grasp what was going on. she repeated it again. the results were abnormal.

i will let you know just how abnormal i am after my appointment.
11:04 AM | link | (1) comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

cheery english gentleman


henry sent me this picture of a monkey to cheer me up. he says, "do you know the patas monkey? they look like they have big white victorian gentleman mustaches..."
12:20 PM | link | (0) comments

grouch


jon sent me this picture to cheer me up. it is cute, but will it do the trick?
8:18 AM | link | (1) comments

Sunday, March 12, 2006

time for some super-sleuthing!

as you all know, i have a panic disorder.* in addition to your run of the mill paralyzing anxiety, i also have pretty regular panic attacks. in my case, panic attacks entail sort of losing awareness for awhile and then snapping out of it and not knowing where i am or anything. it is actually extraordinarily scary and horrible. the panic attacks happen pretty randomly, but sometimes they are more frequent.

weirdly, some of the symptoms of panic attacks are the same as those for seizures. i've decided to see if there is some other reason i have these momentary black outs other than my craziness. you know, what if it is a petit mal seizure?

anyway, it could also be a thyroid problem, but it isn't. those results came back fine. i'm having an EEG done this wednesday. should be fun.

* i initially wrote "i suffer from a panic disorder," but i decided that was too negative. see? i'm trying to make positive changes in my life! woot!
10:50 AM | link | (2) comments

Thursday, March 09, 2006

a time for strong language

i am soooooo tired of the post-oscars discussions of how "natural" salma hayek and jennifer lopez look with their "curves." do these women have a little more weight on them than some actresses? yes. undeniably. because everyone else is a fucking skeleton. using the word "curves" is just code for "fat." and i don't know what planet the media lives on, but these are not fat women. i don't even think they fall into the "healthy" category. shit.

also, let's not ignore the fact that these women are latinas. way to over sexualize them, media!
8:30 AM | link | (4) comments

henry stokes, you ruined my life

henry sent me a link to an evolution game. i cannot make it through the miocene. i want to evolve, but i can't! please, please, please can i just make it to the pliocene?

if only i knew what to eat.
8:12 AM | link | (2) comments

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

sometimes you might give up

so, my officemate and i are giving up chocolate for the month of march.* she's doing it for health reasons. i'm doing it because february was a month of too much chocolate, and i seem to be growing out of my pants. i don't have money for new pants! so, no chocolate. yes, i miss it. only about 9 hours in, and i miss chocolate.

i'm also going to try to significantly reduce my caffeine intake this month. the chocolate comes in here, too. the reason for this is that sugar and caffeine can trigger panic attacks for me. i need to be careful with these things. if i am to be serious about reducing anxiety in my life, some things have to go. so, i'm going down to one soda a day. i was going to wait until spring break to do this, but yesterday i had only one soda, and i lived through it, so maybe i will start today.

is there anything else i should give up for march?

* this has nothing to do with lent. i don't even know when lent begins and ends. i don't even know why a person is supposed to give stuff up. the things i don't know about religion could fill lots and lots of books.
8:50 AM | link | (7) comments