Friday, January 11, 2013
I started falling over a year ago. Cursor blinking as I type “I started falling over a year ago” it sounds like a chapter heading or the first sentence of a love story, but this is not my love story, this is the first sentence of my story of living with seizures, living my new normal of epilepsy and all it entails. So as stated, I started falling. Not a blissful fall into flowers in a meadow or bedding or on the trampoline with my kids, but falling into walls onto sidewalks, curbs, gravel and the all-too-often asphalt of parking lots. The first time or two I chalked it off to clumsiness and would be the first person to tell on myself for doing so and laughing it off. The thing about falling is not that it can be embarrassing and hurt your ego, but falling hurts. Falling causes bruises. Falling causes scrapes and cuts and pain. Falling or tripping every now and then can happen, but my falls had progressed to a point of every couple weeks. Just as one bruise or scrape would heal to a point of disappearing, another fall would create another wound to replace it. Laughing it off was no longer possible as I pushed back the pain to hold my tears, as I pretended that I was okay. As the falls kept happening, my laughing turned to fear, tears and wonderment of what was causing what I knew was not clumsiness.
My last fall was my breaking point. I fell on a sidewalk in front of family and friends. Immediately my husband was asking me if I was okay as my children waited for my reply too. Once again, I said I was okay, but my hands burned as breaking my fall had skid the skin on my palms and I knew my foot was scraped again. I got into the car and as we sat later in the booth of a fast food restaurant, I recoiled in my thoughts, replayed every fall I had encountered and knew that this was not clumsiness, this was wrong. A few days later I told my chiropractor that I had fallen again and he referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist ordered the normal workup for someone having balance issues: MRI and EEG with what is apparently the normal waiting time for any test that can tell you if you have something wrong with your brain, 2 weeks and another 2 weeks to wait for your result appointment. A month after my initial appointment, I sit across from my neurologist in his stereotypical monotone voice and listen as he tells me that my MRI was normal, but my EEG is abnormal. He goes onto say the EEG reading shows an “underlying seizure disorder” and basically it’s these misfirings, these mini seizures that are causing my balance issues and the falls while I am walking. I will have to slow down, start anti-seizure medications and try some physical therapy to see if it will help my balance issues. I leave his office with medication samples, a prescription, my EEG report and a phrase that will not escape my thoughts “underlying seizure disorder.”
I go to work, go about my day with “underlying seizure disorder” repeating in my head…and then the questions come: Will this progress? What if I’m driving? What if I’m alone? What if I’m alone with my kids? What IF…what IF…what IF? It’s amazing how big of a word “if” really is. Amazing how we can let it take over a situation. What if I turn it around? What if I start the protocol my doctor gave me? What if I start the medicine, go to therapy? What if I take it step-by-step?