Peace and light, friends,
Since I last posted, I’ve had a lot to learn. I have had to accept and adjust to my generalized epilepsy – the hardest part so far. I’ve had to come to terms with who to tell about the diagnosis, and when, and how. I’ve dealt with learning about what my triggers are and I’m still trying to figure them out. That seems to be “on-the-job training, in a sense; you don’t know until you know. I’ve had a visit to a nutritionist, who has really opened my eyes to plant-based, organic, non-processed eating. I’m already a vegetarian with a serious carb addiction, and having to make some changes was another adjustment. It’s surprising and shocking at just how much food in the grocery store is processed in some way, and when your first assignment is to go shopping under new guidelines, you stand in the store like a deer in the headlights asking yourself, “Now what? Besides the produce section, where else do I go?”
And then, there are the follow-up appointments with the neurologist to check on how you are doing with seizure activity, medications and any questions, symptoms or side effects you may have experienced in the past 30 days. Well, at my last appointment, I learned that some of my “experiences” were due to side effects to the medication, and some were descriptions of seizure activity. So, I’m on medication and I’m still having breakthrough seizures? I thought the meds were supposed to control them? It’s a matter of trial and error. If at first you don’t succeed…
On top of all of that, I’ve had my first anxiety attack while on my way to work one day, and was scared to tell my neurologist. I wasn’t sure if I would make it to work. I kept thinking that something bad would happen (like an accident) and don’t get on the freeway. I thought I could handle it and got on anyway. I didn’t have an accident, but I did go into panic mode. I literally had to talk my way through the commute, exit ramp by exit ramp. I kept telling myself to hurry and get off, but at the same time telling myself that I can make it, just keep going. By the time I parked the car, all I could do was sit there and cry. It was so emotionally wrecking until I felt I had no strength left.
At my follow-up appointment, I told some of my symptoms/experiences (not the anxiety attack) to my doctor. She was attentive and compassionate. Then she told me what I did not want to hear – that I had to stop driving, temporarily. For three months, I couldn’t be behind the wheel. “What!!!! But I have to drive! How will I get to work? How will I get around? How will I get my son to school?”, I thought to myself. Once again, quietly, I panicked. I sat there, mind reeling, car in the neurologist’s parking lot, and on my way to work. Now what? I carefully go on to work, and go directly to HR (Human Resources). I explained my situation, and asked many questions, in between sobs. They were very sympathetic and and took the time to help me process the information, and gave me my options. I knew then that it was time to speak with my boss about it, and ask if my work schedule could be changed to accommodate whoever would be my driver. It all worked out. My husband had offered to get me to all of my future appointments until I can drive again. My daughter has been taking me to work and picking me up since she works close by. We have used this opportunity to spend time together and talk about our day, which is nice.
I’ve had mixed emotions about not driving – from shock, to embarrassment, to dependency, to gratitude. And I am dealing with all of it, in my own way.
When your world changes, when your routine changes, when your sense of what “normal” is changes, you change.