You know how in your life you go through lots of in-between stages. When you are a kid and you aren’t the baby anymore but you really aren’t a big kid. Then you are a big kid but not big enough to get to sit at the adult table at family get-togethers. You sit at the table with the little kids who still think threatening to put boogers on each other is funny, and so they squeal with delight, while you just feel nauseous. Pretty soon their exuberance results in spilled punch and the adults yell… at you.
I find myself in one of those in-between places. I’ve been a career woman for 18 years. A single mom for a good portion of that time. I had a clear picture of what I had to do, even when I had no energy to get it all done. I’d wake up in the morning and tell myself, “The buck stops here, Annie. There is no one else to do it, so get up!” Over and over I used the “buck stops here” speech to motivate myself.
I’ve had some health issues over the years that have set me back, but epilepsy is the one that took me off the track completely. I have temporal lobe epilepsy. So I don’t have the type of seizures that you might normally think of. I don’t fall to the ground and thrash around. I just check out. The real kicker is… I don’t know when I have done it.
My sister, Sue, was the first to tell me about the seizures. She would be talking to me on the phone and I would just stop talking. I told her that I was just watching TV. She told me that she thought I might be having partial complex seizures. (She nailed it by the way!) I really didn’t give it much thought.
My kids were the ones that got my attention. Two of my children who live in different states got together and discussed it. My son asked my daughter, “What’s up with mom?” It seems they were having the same problem in talking to me. I would just stop talking and they’d say, “Mom? Mom? Are you there?” and eventually I’d be like, “Yeah, I’m here. Can’t you hear me?” One day my son said, “I have been saying, “Mom are you there, for two minutes!” So anyhow, between the two of them they came to the conclusion that I was having mini strokes or something. My daughter talked to me about it and I went back to my friendly local neurologist. (I go there so often his nurse and I are on a first name basis)
So the conclusion was temporal lobe epilepsy. The sad thing is I was already on a couple of anti-seizure drugs for other issues. That was a year and a half ago. I haven’t driven since.
I’ve been through four different medications now, trying to get it right. I still have seizures. They hit the speech center of my brain. So I will start slurring my words like a drunk and I don’t even know I’m doing it until someone tells me. I get these horrendous headaches after a seizure and I’m exhausted for one or two days after a seizure as well.
So the career ended. I’m now waiting on disability determination. That feels like a cop out to me, but I really don’t know how I can work when I can’t predict when these seizures will hit. Before I quit my last job (I was there for almost 15 years) I found that I would have a seizure while I was typing and I’d just keep on typing. Later I’d go back over something I wrote and it was jibberish! So frustrating!
I am recently remarried to the most amazing guy! He puts up with this pretty well. Still there are days that I ask myself when he will say he’s had enough. He tells me, “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health.”
I live in a new place, new state, and I don’t work, I don’t drive, and I’m getting to know a few neighbors and people from church. Still, I feel like the teenager at the little kid table.
I have considered the positive side of epilepsy. If I do something stupid I can always say I was having a seizure.