Thursday, January 2, 2014

Me, Not Him

This afternoon, Sara and I are going to see my psychiatrist, (not to be confused with my therapist.) We're going to talk a little about my mix of seizure medication with the Abilify that he prescribed me.

I mentioned in my last post that I can feel the negative psychological side effects of my seizure medication starting to make their way back into my life, and I don't think that the Abilify (or even a stronger dose) is helping very much.

At the beginning of February, my Mom, Sara and I are making our way back to Mayo Clinic to talk about our options, which most likely will be a new medication mix. It may be putting the cart before the horse to talk to the psychiatrist first, but this is an issue that just can't wait. Plus, I know that at Mayo, they can look at ALL of my medications and make a proper judgement.

I had a seizure on Sunday afternoon, and I had another one last night. The Sunday seizure was very strong, while the one last night was a bit milder. The funny thing about last night's seizure is that I was praying for it since Sunday.

The time in between seizures is called the "interictal" period. During this time, I will notice a sharp difference in my normal personality, like increased depression, anxiety, etc. Basically, I can tell that I'm a different person. On Monday through yesterday night, I kept telling Sara that I wished the next seizure would come to knock me out of my funk. I was feeling very angry and irritable for no reason.

I can still tell that another seizure is coming, because my mood is a little "off." Writing is tough because I keep typing sentences that I then delete because I know that they're being written by another set of hands. This could be the medication problem that I mentioned above or (most likely) the interictal state.


In 2014, I don't really have any resolutions, just fears that I hope don't come into fruition. 2013 was a transition year, a year where we tried two different and extreme treatments that both failed. I learned that I have Diabetes, beyond the high blood sugar that the Steroid treatments cause. This was something I wasn't expecting, and a huge blow to my hopes of becoming healthier, even if the steroid or IVIG treatments worked in helping my seizures.

The fears that I have for this year are my body's ability to adjust to the new mix of medications that Mayo is most likely to prescribe. At first, we'll notice either an extreme drop in symptoms, or devastating rise. I'll see all the side effects of these new medications, because that has been my luck as of late, and I just pray that I can adjust swiftly.

I've been using Twitter to talk to other Epilepsy patients, and that has helped quite a bit. We talk about medications, and what kinds of seizures we all have. A lot of them are perscribed medications that I have already tried and have had problems with; most of them are on Keppra. Keppra is the medication where I basically lost my ability to think clearly; I was having severe psychological problems.

All I can do for 2014 is hope and pray that this year will be different than years past. That it is a year that I'll remember as a year of extreme change for the better. Whether that is finally seeing a dim light at the end of the tunnel, or being able to be the man that I truly am, instead of the strange person that makes his way to the surface and controls my personality in a negative way.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Change is Coming

I don't know if all Epilepsy patients have the same problem, but I can feel a change coming on the medication front.

Seizures are pretty steady, about three a week on average. This can be good, because Sara and I can somewhat predict that if I have one, then a couple more will come fairly soon after.

When I talk about a change coming, I mean that I'm starting to feel the physiological side-effects making their way back into my system. When I'm around a large group of people, I think at any moment I could stand up and scream, or have any number of other "fits." I don't think about hurting myself, just that I could, if I wanted to, lose control.

When you're on medication, there's a difference between "real" feelings and feelings brought on by these medications. I can't quite describe it, but you can feel inside that it's not really my personality, just a side-effect of the meds. It's like being drunk... you can't blame a man for some of his actions while he's been drinking, but you can blame the alcohol. This difference, of course, is he chose to drink too much, and I'm forced to take these medications to control seizures.

I've become pretty good at noticing these feelings, knowing that they're not really "me." I made Sara aware of how I feel, and we're in the process of finding a new psychiatrist. The one I have now is pretty heavy-handed when it comes to medication, and he really doesn't understand the interactions between psychological meds and seizure meds.

Right now, I'm on Abilify to counteract any psychological feelings I might be having, like depression and mood swings, but one of the big side-effects has been weight-gain. This, in itself, could be a major depression trigger. I guess too much weight-loss could also be depressing.

Ideally, what I'd like is to be able to understand my body a little better, and have a mix of medication that, not only helps with my seizures, but also helps with my ability to live a more productive life. Lately, I just don't care very much about the consequences of my actions. I eat something bad for me without thinking it will effect my health, I go to bed too early without understanding that I will wake up at 3am, and I ignore chores without thinking that I could be frustrating Sara when she gets home and sees that nothing has been done. These are some of the side-effects that I can't "feel;" side effects that are unlike the anger and depression that the medications cause. Moments of clarity, like right now, are few and far between.

I'll meet with the new psychiatrist, and see what he has to say, but I want to make it very clear to him that I need help with the chemicals in my body, and the pain they may be causing me, and the people who support me.