As mentioned in a previous post, I decided to go into nursing. I was an A student all through school and looked forward to the challenges and variety of a career in nursing.
I went to a local community college and started my Associate Degree Nursing program. I loved it- my prerequisite classes were so easy! I remained seizure free my first year of college.
When the nursing program started I definitely noticed a gradual increase in my stress levels. I would stay up all night studying, and then totally space out and not remember anything when it came time to the take the exam. I dealt with this on my own, foolishly thinking I had suddently developed test anxiety, though I was always an excellent test taker prior.
We had a test that I was particularly nervous for, so I had studied very hard over the weekend and was SO prepared to Ace. I sat down in my seat, the teacher handed me the test, and thats all I remember. I dont even think I wrote my name on it. At the end of class I was still at my desk, slumped forward, asleep. I just remember my professor waking me up and I immediately started bawling. I didnt know what to do, I didn’t know what to say- but if I didn’t say something I would fail out of my program (yes, with a zero on 1 test). Luckily I had a very understanding professor; I told her that I must have fallen asleep because I took a Xanax before my test because I had been having really bad anxiety. She let me retake my test the next morning in a proctored exam room.
Looking back through my college notebooks (because yes, I kept some) there were several times where my writing would list off the page, or my sentences wouldn’t make sense. I even wrote a paper and in several places my professor would circle things that didnt make sesne; as in my sentences werent even logical; or I would write random song lyrics in the middle of my papers. Was this enough for me to contact anyone for help? Nope.
Dedication, passion, and perseverenve won; I graduated nursing school with honors.
After much deliberation I’ve decided to share my life stories with the intention of being a positive light for those also affected by epilepsy; family members and patients alike.
I joined a few support groups in hopes of connecting with people also looking to share stories, ask questions, and generally have a network of people to encourage and motive each other on a bad day. What I found was that while support groups are helpful for lots of people, it wasn’t what I was looking for. There were also a handful of people who had mentioned leaving because it wasn’t what they were looking for either. I searched for books to read on living with epilepsy, hoping to find just one that was encouraging and inspirational. My searches came up empty, though there are lots of clinical books, that wasn’t what I was looking for.
I felt depressed after checking out the support groups, and I imagine that those who’ve left have felt the same. I didn’t want to see someone’s bloody bitten tongue, surgical wounds, or injuries. I wasn’t looking for a place to complain about my neurologist. I didn’t want to spend my time feeling sorry for myself, or anyone else for that matter. I definitely didn’t want to watch graphic videos of other people experiencing grand Mal seizures, and to tell the truth, I can’t really figure out why anyone would want to watch that. I live that already. Every. Day.
What I hope that I can do is help anyone feeling alone or depressed by being a positive voice for those with epilepsy. Yes, depression comes with the diagnosis and/or the medications. Yes, being postictal is draining and makes you feel sooo tired and sore. Yes, I have missed events. Yes, I’ve argued with my husband after a seizure; and hey, sometimes we argue and it has nothing to do with my epilepsy! I’ve felt frustrated, sad, angry, and depressed but I refuse to let epilepsy and all that comes with it be the definition characteristic of who I am.
Join me on my journey! I promise to keep it real, but also positive and hopefully inspiring.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
In my senior year of high school I was struck by lightning. Not a direct hit, but enough that it knocked me on my butt. I remember thinking “Oh my Gosh. I’ve been shot!”. As I felt my body for gunshot wounds or blood and came up with clean hands, I turned to ask my boyfriend what had happened. And that’s when I realized that I was lying on the ground.
I thought I was ok. Enough so that I went with my boyfriend to a farm supply store shortly after that. I don’t remember if I started throwing up, or if I just felt like I was going to throw up at this store, my memory is totally gone, except that I ended up in the hospital. I don’t remember getting there, I don’t recall a single thing about the ER or being admitted to the Cardiac Unit. I DO remember being put on a cardiac monitor (which kept going off and waking me up in the middle of the night), and I remember lots and lots of tests. My current neurologist thinks that this was my triggering event and that I had a seizure at some point during my ER stay.
I ended up in the hospital for 3 days, I have a strange feeling that my boyfriend took me to Chinese when I got out of the hospital, but then I’m pretty sure the hospital would have only released me to my parents? I have no clue… I should ask my mother now that I’m thinking about it 🙂 .
I lost function of my right arm and went through physical therapy to learn how to write again. It did get me out of finals (all except one), and I was able to graduate with my class.
Because of my experience in the hospital and one particular amazing nurse, her name is Sunny; I chose to go into nursing. I was a 17-year-old girl in the hospital after a traumatic event and she was incredibly kind and patient. She was everything that a nurse should have been. Can I also just state the irony that I was struck by lightning and my nurse’s name was Sunny?
Fast forward 13 years and I have full use of my right arm, except for after a really bad seizure; and then it can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days to regain function of that arm again. So weird, right?
Also, my neurologist at the time (I have moved several times and no longer see the same neurologist) said that my odds of getting struck by lightning again are 100x. In case you’re curious: I stay inside during thunder storms 🙂