My Upcoming Video EEG…Have I Mentioned How Much I Love Tests?

I love tests. It’s a nerd thing. Possibly also an arrogant / competitive thing. Well, I’m both excited and terrified for this next one. (Which is how I feel approaching all the best kinds of tests. Without the terror, acing the test is not nearly as satisfying.)

It’s a Video EEG. It’s an inpatient procedure that lasts between 2 and 10 days. I go in on September 16th to Abbott Northwestern Hospital here in Minneapolis.

So what’s involved? A lot, as it turns out. They hook me up to a bunch of electrodes and monitor the electrical activity in my brain. I already had the short (40 minute) version of this test several months ago after the first big seizure (read about that test in “So This One Time, When I Thought I Was Dying…“). Continue reading

Seizure Update #2

I’ll start this off by saying that-for the record-I’m finally tired of talking about seizures. Which is strange, because I talk about them compulsively. Even when I want to stop, sometimes I can’t. But in the back of my mind, there’s this growing exhaustion at just the thought of talking about them. So I probably won’t for a while (at least on the blog unless it is particularly relevant to something else I’m writing about), but I wanted to give you guys a quick update before I stop because I know I left you hanging last time with the promise of MRI #2 results.

So… According to MRI #2, Continue reading

In The Beginning: The “BIG” Seizure

So the other day I had a seizure. The unconscious, on-the-ground-twitching, scary kind. Scary for the people watching me, at least. I don’t remember any of it. One of many seemingly small things that I’ve become very grateful for in the last four weeks.

For those of you possessed by a morbid curiosity (like myself), here’s a brief recap:

I was at the gym. No, not working out yet. As much as I like to think I go hard at the gym, I did not exercise myself into a seizure. It was much more boring than that. I was showing someone how to do a ring row. If you don’t know what that is, you should google it. And then you should go read my future post on Crossfit and get with the program.

Anyway, basically I was coming down from a pull up. Kind of. And then my eyes went up and to the right and my head went with them. It’s really weird to try to pull your head back to the center and not be able to. Don’t worry–I wasn’t afraid. I was just confused. Why wasn’t my head doing what I told it to do? So I went down to one knee on the floor. The rubber-covered floor, by the way, which is really the best possible kind of floor to be on if you’re going to have a seizure.

I don’t remember the rest of this, but apparently I said something to the girl next to me about vertigo and then rolled to my side on the floor and started seizing. Not polite, twitchy seizing. Full body, all muscles locked, thrashing. Sweet. Everyone watched me. I swear I can remember hearing someone yell to someone else to call 911, but logically it’s unlikely that this was an actual memory.

There’s not much you can do for someone who is seizing if they’re already in an open area (aka they’re not going to hit their head on anything) and they’re breathing. Apparently I was drooling. Gross. After about a minute or two of that nonsense, I went still. And stopped breathing. And turned blue. Which is when people started to freak out a little more. They waited for a minute or two and just when they’d decided that someone needed to do CPR, I started making these deep growly noises. Again, sweet. Not embarrassing at all. But apparently very common when you start breathing again after a seizure.

So I started breathing again. They rolled me to my back and waited and I eventually regained consciousness. The paramedics got there and asked me some questions, none of which I remember and none of which I could answer. So they loaded me up and put me in the ambulance. That’s the first thing I remember–waking up in the ambulance.

It was a very surreal experience. The EMT asked me some questions… where was I, what day was it, how old was I. And I knew that I should know the answers, but I didn’t. It’s very weird. If I ever have another one (let’s hope not), I’ll try to better observe and articulate that particular feeling.

We went to the ER. I was pretty out of it still, but took the time to call my parents and let them know where I was going. The gym had already called them (again–where better to have a seizure than somewhere that has your emergency contact information on file?). Then I texted three of my best friends and told them I was on the way to the ER and asked for prayer. And because I have the best friends ever, their only response was “what hospital” and they showed up 20 minutes later. Pretty freaking awesome. It’s way easier not to freak out when you are busy trying not to freak other people out. It occurred to me several times that I was wearing the perfect outfit for the hospital–workout gear and my sweet Crossfit shoes. I mean, how sick could I be while wearing by Reeboks and a Nike Drifit shirt? Clearly this would be no big deal.

And it wasn’t really a big deal. All my scans came back clean. No heart problem. No obvious brain problem on my CT. Nothing weird in my blood work. No answers, just a referral to a neurologist to get some additional testing done.

So I went to the neurologist (which is almost impossible to do because they are so freakishly hard to get appointments with… very disturbing when you think you might have brain cancer or something and they offer you an appointment in three months… at which point crying uncontrollably on the phone with the nurse/scheduler is a very effective strategy, in my limited experience). And in the process of talking to her we realized that I’ve been having seizures.

TWIST. I know. Not big seizures like the one at the gym. Little, tiny, baby seizures. I call them “reading” seizures. Sometimes when I’m reading something, I suddenly won’t be able to read at all for about two minutes. If you held a flash card up in front of me with the word “red” on it, I literally would not be able to tell you what it said. I just switch tasks to something not reading-related and come back to the reading in a few minutes. Yeah, apparently not something that happens to everyone, much to my surprise.

In seizure math, one seizure is good and more than one seizure is bad. One seizure = unlikely to have another (around 15%). Multiple seizures (even of different kinds) = highly likely to have more seizures (of various kinds). Sweet. So my neuro ordered more scans (MRI, EEG) and blood work. And put me on Keppra (more on that interesting little beastie of a drug later), an anticonvulsant. And told me I can’t drive for three months (a restriction that sucks less on the surface than in actuality; more on that later too).

And that is literally all the time I can spend talking about that right now… You’ll have to tune in to my next “seizure” post to get the next update in which our heroine gets the results of her MRI back and thinks she’s going to die…