Monday, March 26, 2018

INTERNATIONAL EPILEPSY DAY

      This is a topic I know about. I had juvenile epilepsy and now have senior epilepsy. Juvenile epilepsy disappears with the onset of puberty. Other epilepsy will stay with you for a life time. Senior epilepsy shows up in seniors and is completely under diagnosed.

      As a child I had epilepsy which hit me when I was about 8. I had grand mals which took place just after bedtime. I'm sure that my parents were terrified  as they probably knew nothing about epilepsy. The old country doctor knew exactly what my condition was and prescribed medication to control it. Once diagnosed, medication kept me relatively free of seizures. However , in the late 40's and early 50's there was much stigmitism regarding epilepsy. I would not tell anybody I had epilepsy and I don't think my parents went out of their way to tell people either. I also didn't understand what epilepsy was and as a child I thought I was going to die. I knew that there were health risks due to epilepsy. Epileptics were feared and shunned because of their seizures.

     Most years of my teaching career, I had kids with epilepsy that was not well controlled so there were seizures in class.

     Senior epilepsy is much more surprising because I'm at an age when I understand things much better.

     I went to emergency in 2008 because my wife thought I had a TIA. I had spent about 2 1/2 hours and did not remember anything that happened. A multitude of tests were given and there was no evidence of a TIA. A neat little term was given to my condition...trans global amnesia. The medical profession could describe what happened but they didn't know what was going on.

     Three years later I had another incident of global amnesia. This time the Neurologist said, "It's no use doing all the tests over again as they won't show anything." But, she said, "There's one test I haven't done yet."

     She ordered an EEG (Electroencephalogical)  with sleep deprivation. I had to stay up all night and go in at 9: 00 AM for the test. This test showed a section of the brain with faster than normal activity. It indicates epilepsy. So the neurologist cheerfully told me that I had senior epilepsy and that it could be controlled with medication.

   I happened to get a top notch neurologist who's bright, knowledgeable and with it. She's an awesome specialist.

     I didn't say anything, but I thought , I've had epilepsy and that's not what this is. As soon as I got home I went to the computer and googled senior epilepsy. The first thing I found was all kinds of information on senior epilepsy.

     There's much research being done on senior epilepsy. It's under diagnosed so many seniors live in a dozy state and their behavior is classed as senior moments.

     So here's my contribution to publicize epilepsy on International Epilepsy Day.  I hope that with more information epileptics receive better medical attention and supportive association from the community.

26 comments:

  1. I'm glad you were diagnosed and it's all under control. When I was growing up we had friends whose daughter had severe epilepsy. She had been quite brain damaged so there was no way of hiding that she had something wrong but I never saw her have a grand mal

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    1. In most cases they don't know what causes epilepsy but injury is one known cause.

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  2. I think you had told me long ago about your history with epilepsy. I know it was not well understood for a long time and people thought someone with it was possessed by demons. Glad to know yours in under control. And glad to know you have a good doctor you like. :-)

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    1. I did post on my epilepsy before but for the special day I thought I would post again.

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  3. You have taught me things today Red. Epilepsy is something I have very rarely contemplated. It must be both a strange and frightening condition to live with. Thank heavens for modern medication.

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    1. The making no new memories was a bit upsetting. The medications do have some unpleasant side effects.

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  4. Wow. This is good information, as I'm sure many go undiagnosed. Take care. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. I had a very sharp neurologist.

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  5. My father got it in childhood after an accident. Medication has kept seizures away ever since.

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    1. That's a long sentence for medication. It's good that things were controlled.

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  6. My son was diagnosed with epilepsy in his 20's. His was the type where he would simply "phase out" and not remember anything much like you describe the senior epilepsy. He was treated with medication and not allowed to drive for a year and has not been bothered by it since. It is a frightening illness. I am glad you are doing well.

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    1. Your son's condition would be called petite mall. It seems that these people just tune out. Good that medication did it's trick.

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  7. This is very important information. I'm glad you are bringing up awareness of this. I'm also glad that the stigma surrounding this is in the past.

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    1. Now if they could come with medications that have fewer side effects it would be appreciated. Bi polar and schizophrenics get the same medications.

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  8. As we have more knowledge of disease there is less stigma. And as the medical profession gains knowledge, and better tests, more correct diagnosis can be made and treatment applied.
    Kudos to your doctor for catching yours.

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    1. As I told Martha, the medications could be better with fewer side effects.

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  9. Good information and something I didn't know happened as a senior issue. I will keep it in mind for our family and extended family, as we aren't getting any younger and you just never know . . .

    I'm glad you have a good doctor. That's half the battle.

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  10. Interesting! I've never heard of epilepsy that reappears in seniors and takes that form. So it's basically just amnesia -- no visible seizures? I hope the meds aren't too terrible.

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  11. I have never heard of senior epilepsy. I learn something new every day. Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you got a great doctor who knew a thing or two about what was really going on!

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  12. Knowledge is important and your personal experience adds weight to the info that you share. You never know who this will help but it is great that you shared this post on your blog for all to see and read.

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  13. I hadn't heard of senior epilepsy but I'm familiar with the junior version as I grew up with a friend who had it. Hers wasn't so easily controlled with medication and she always felt bad because she was told she would never be able to drive a car. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  14. Wow! I've never heard of this either. The weird thing is my son's dog has epilepsy that has to be controlled with medication. He said they were really surprised when Mungo had his first seizure, but he's fine now... with medication.

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  15. I am so glad you have medication that helps! I remember in High School in the 1960's that a couple of gals had it and the seizures always looked so horrible. I am thankful that you had a good neurologist:)

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  16. Back in my village when i was child i remember a woman with this disease and worst about it that everybody was running away from her as they thought some jenie has took over her body because she was making weird noise while puffing through her mouth!
    i can't forget that scene ever .People took her to an old mysterious looking man who was hitting her with stick while saying that " Hey impure jenie leave the lady alone , leave her body immediately "

    i never ever could sense that you can suffer with such disease dear Red!

    this is satisfactory that your neurologist diagnosed the disease and put you on right meds

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  17. Glad to hear that it can be somewhat controlled with medication now. You are mucho macho my friend.

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  18. Hi Red, I did not know all this about epilepsy. Thanks for giving us all the info. It does sound like you’ve got a very good Neurologist. In this business of getting older it does seem like there are burdens to go around to just about everyone and lots of times we don’t know what folks are dealing with. Excellent post for International Epilepsy Day.

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