Sometimes life throws you curveballs. I’ve had a few myself, the most recent being just a couple weeks ago. I’ve noticed that the key to surviving unexpected situations seems to be how well you can adapt to the new version of “normal.” Heck, even for surviving expected situations (bringing home a new baby, switching jobs), when it’s a significant change to what you were used to. It’s been about two and a half weeks now since Return of the Seizures, and we’ve had to make some changes at home in response. Most of them have been minor ones, but breaking old habits and forming new ones can be a little rough until the changes become routine.
The biggest issue for us is that I’m temporarily restricted from driving. Even though it does feel like we’ve got the seizures under control for now (they haven’t been back since I left the hospital), we’ve been abiding by the restriction for the time being. My husband and I carpool to work now, and he drops me off and then takes Kiddo to daycare himself, since daycare and my husband’s office are very close to each other. In the evening they pick me up. It’s been nice driving in as a family, even though it’s meant having to shift around some work hours and responsibilities.
I’ve also had to get back in the habit of taking medication twice a day. Thankfully, I’m no longer feeling the dizziness on it that I was experiencing the first couple days. I have a new neurologist now, and I like him a lot. My old doctor’s office was very far away, and they couldn’t see me until the end of May. This new one is closer, is associated with some of my other regular doctors, and was able to get me in for a visit much sooner. Switching doctors often means going through another round of tests, and I’m not thrilled about that, but since medical science continues to advance, perhaps they’ll find something helpful this time. The good news is that my new doctor was willing to switch me from the Keppra that I’m currently taking back to the Lamictal that I took several years ago with great results. It’s a multiple-week ramp-up process, so I’m sure there will be some emotional ups and downs over the next month or so, but I’m willing to suffer through that knowing that it has worked well for me before.
In my limited seizure experience, the only time there was a single contributing factor was when I was drinking heavily. In all other cases, it’s been an accumulation of multiple factors: insufficient sleep, high stress levels (often work- or school-related), and a slightly weaker physical state due to illness. The last one is difficult to avoid entirely, and the first one can also be a challenge with a young child in the household. But there are things I can do about my stress levels at work, and I’m taking steps in that direction.
Other than that, life at our house hasn’t been too affected by this event. In many ways that’s great, but it also makes it easy to forget sometimes why we made those changes in the first place. I get busy enough in the evenings that in between sorting laundry and cleaning up dinner leftovers, sometimes it slips my mind that I was supposed to take a pill until it’s overdue by a couple hours. If I had a severe enough seizure history that forgetting to take my pill on time almost always led to seizures, I’m sure it would be a top priority every night. But instead, sometimes the more immediate demands of life distract me from those tasks with less obvious results.
For all that I’m willing to talk about it and write about it, let me be clear about one thing:I hate having this diagnosis. I don’t like the practical and emotional impact it has on our family, and I don’t like the idea that my brain needs help to function properly. I just want to be normal again (or as close to it as I’ve ever managed to get.) But I’ve adapted to it before, and we can deal with this now.