Thursday, August 11, 2016

Facing Epilepsy: In the Beginning

A Saturday, I think, at the end of March 1988. I was a junior in college, at a movie with my girlfriend when we noticed my left arm twitching every few seconds. I was concerned, but when it stopped after a few minutes I just made a note to go to the Student Health Center the next day. We went home, and I fell asleep.

The next thing I remember was my girlfriend putting my coat on. Tying my shoes. Crying. Leading me to a waiting university security squad car. After a few minutes, we were here:

University of Chicago Medical Center

For those of you without epilepsy, I'm not sure you can imagine what it's like to have your body start doing things without your realizing, or wanting it to. To feel like you might be about to totally lose control, at any moment and without warning. And losing consciousness? I'm never quite sure, when things go dark, that they'll come back again. Scary stuff.

Probably the worst thing for me, at the beginning, was not knowing why. They did a CT, and an MRI (which was new back then; they were still "NMRs"). They did a spinal tap. But no definite results, at least not that they told me. I'm sure that was frustrating to my parents. Me? I was just terrified, at least when I wasn't feeling woozy from whatever anti-seizure drugs I was on.

I got better, as they say. No, the seizures haven't stopped. But they've stopped scaring me as much. (I guess practice makes perfect? I've had a fair number by now.) And I know more than I did back then. If knowledge is power, welcome to the epilepsy power zone.

Welcome to me, facing epilepsy.

I want this blog to be a resource for everyone: a source of strength and friendship for those with epilepsy, of support for family and caregivers, of knowledge for everyone. Through my experiences i hope we can see that no one is alone in their struggle with epilepsy, and that everyone has the power to help

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