Sunday 31 August 2014

Seizure Triggers

I sometimes sit and wonder, what triggers my seizures?  I have come up with many concepts over the last 10 years but alas I feel maybe my seizures just highlight the fact that we as human beings find patterns within coincidences.

My first 4 seizures occurred on a Wednesday afternoon... the first 3 happened 4 weeks apart, the 4th was 8 weeks after that... I know what you are thinking, must be the full moon thing right?  (OK maybe you weren't thinking that but it was my theory at the time)

Then I have had a few during or shortly after running... so maybe they are exercise induced?  But then I have had one when I was just sitting down.

I also seem to have them in the worst places, on my horse, on a chair lift, on a treadmill, walking upstairs... so my latest theory is maybe they are brought on by worrying that I'm going to have a seizure.  So I shouldn't think about it... but then I'm thinking about it more...

It is all so confusing and our brains are so complicated I don’t think I’ll ever know what triggers my seizures.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Robin Williams

Usually when I hear a celebrity has died I think ‘that’s sad’ but then just get on with life.  But when I read Robin Williams died it made an impact, it made me stop and think.

So many of his films have had an impact on me: Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and most of all Patch Adams.

"You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person and I guarantee you win"

Depression is such an awful thing.  It holds such a stigma.  It can destroy a life.  People struggle and struggle and just about cope and then something small can tip the whole balance.

It is something which I was becoming acutely aware of even before Robin Williams death. 

Epilepsy medication affects your mind, at the end of the day it aims to control the activity going on in your brain. Some medications like Lamotrigine are mood stabilisers, some like Keppra are linked with depression and mood swings.  So during medication changes it is so important to be aware of how you are feeling and talk about it.

The drugs can make you tired which makes everything seem that much more difficult and the risk of having a seizure at any time hangs over you.

It can be so confusing; it’s difficult to remember how you felt before starting a medication.  All you can do is give it time and keep talking to your family and the doctors.  The psychological side effects of medication are so much more difficult to cope with than physical ones.

It’s not surprising that mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are higher in people with epilepsy than in the general population.

I hope that Robin Williams can be remembered for everything he gave to the world and not for the fact he took his own life.  Through his work he touched so many people’s lives, brought smiles and tears to so many.  And from everything that the people closest to him say he was a generous and truly lovely person fighting such a difficult challenge.

I will always remember him, he has changed the way I look at the world and made the world that little bit better by making people think outside the box.

Friday 15 August 2014

Epilepsy Weekend for All - Southend-on-Sea, Essex 2014

Yeap it's that time of year again!  I am so excited.  Really really looking forward to this :)

So what's happening this year?

Through workshops and discussion sessions, we will be looking at some of the many ways epilepsy can affect daily life. There will also be opportunities to chat with epilepsy professionals over a coffee. Topics will include:
  • Planning a family – pregnancy and parenting
  • Parents and carers – the challenges and joys of living with epilepsy
  • Adults – diagnosis and treatment, relationships, social life, achieving potential and managing risk
  • Ketogenic diet – find out more about this epilepsy treatment
  • Managing epilepsy – memory, mindfulness, coping with stress, sleeping well and medication issues
There's also loads going on for young people this year:

The challenge for young people over the weekend is to work together and support each other to create films, graphics, music and drama. Working with multi-media professionals you will learn new skills as you share your thoughts and feelings about epilepsy. You can choose from these options:
  • Drama – exploring living with epilepsy through performance
  • Podcasting – interviewing and recording
  • Graphics – designing and printing
  • Photography and videography – capturing your imagination
  • Editing for audio and video
  • DJ – mixing your choice of sounds
Information and discussion sessions:

  • For teenagers – relationships, alcohol, getting out and about safely, education, work...and play
  • Siblings – a chance to share experiences
Also happening:

  • Relax and enjoy a clothed massage
  • Family disco and karaoke (and we all know who the stars will be hehe!)
  • Keep in touch – photo wall and contact envelopes
  • Halloween fun – apple bobbing and snap apple
  • Creche
  • Face painting
This year the weekend is taking place at the Park Inn by Radisson Palace at Southend-on-Sea. Our special price includes your accommodation, meals and all of the Epilepsy Weekend for All activities. We hope you will join us - book today to be sure of your place!

Adult (18yrs and over): £60 each (day pass £25)
16yrs and 17yrs: £30 each (day pass £15)
Under 16yrs:  Free
Twin, double and family rooms are available. We also have a limited number of accessible rooms for those with mobility requirements. Single rooms are not available but we will pair single guests with another delegate of the same gender, or feel free to bring a friend.
Car parking is free but permits must be arranged in advance (residents only). There are excellent rail links, with Southend Victoria and Southend Central stations close by.
For more info and to book your place visit the Epilepsy Action website here

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Our Adoption Adventure

Rich and I have been thinking long and hard about having another baby.  We want Riley to have a little brother or sister and another child would complete our family.

All our friends are now having second babies and so it is becoming more of a topic of conversation.  At the moment with my medication changes it wouldn't be the right time for us to try for another baby.

So it got us thinking, do we want to go through pregnancy and the first few months of having a tiny baby?  I didn't enjoy the first few months, not from an epilepsy point of view, but I just found it so so hard.

I wouldn't change having had a baby for the world; it is something I think every woman should be able to experience whether or not they have epilepsy.  I don’t want it to seem like I am being a hypocrite in doing all this.  In fact in a way I want it to prove that there is another way to have a family if you have epilepsy.  The fact is pregnancy isn't for everyone (whether or not you have epilepsy) and I don’t think we want to do it again especially when there is another option.

That’s why we started thinking about adoption. It doesn't matter to us whether I give birth to our child, it doesn't matter at what age they join our family, they will be loved just as Riley is and I hope we have a lot to offer a child who hasn't had the easiest start in life.  It’s actually really exciting and something which I think will make our family complete. It's a whole new adventure for us as a family.

We know it could be a long process and I hope we don’t fall at the first hurdle.  I hope my epilepsy doesn't stop us.  So I guess this in a way is a new chapter in our journey.  We've just started contacting some agencies and looking into the process.  We hope we can start the process in the New Year.  So I guess watch this space.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Commonwealth Fun!

Riley doesn't watch a lot of TV but with the Commonwealth Games happening at the moment we've been watching some of the sports.  Riley has some favourites... her favourite is the swimming and it's funny because when she swims on a Sunday she's started touching her toes before she jumps in like doing a racing dive!

She also likes the running which is coming in handy as I can wear her out by saying run to the wall and back, ready steady go and off she goes with a huge grin on her face!

But the best bit is her forward roles... she loved watching the gymnastics and the next thing we knew she started doing forward roles and now she does them everywhere!!!