Friday, April 24, 2015

We have a winner

I have been dealing with these fainting seizure issues for YEARS.  They happen infrequently (so grateful for that) and were really hard to diagnose because every test came back normal.

Which is great, I mean no one wants to have a bad test result, but at the same time I am not imagining these episodes and I wanted to know what they were.   I have gotten a few misdiagnoses along the way; meniere's disease; salt intake issues; heat intolerance.....

But in March, I had an EEG as a formality to getting my license fully reinstated (I have a conditional license right now).  Yesterday I got a call from my neurologist's receptionist that my test results were ready and she made an appointment to for me to come in.  As we were on the phone she puts me on hold because she had to answer another call.  When she comes back on the line, she asked if I wanted to come in today because they had a cancellation.  Yes.  Yes I do.

Got to the appointment; Dr opened my file on the computer and began reading up to familiarize himself with my situation. He does this every appointment and prefers that his patients not talk during this time. I'm used to it now, so I get in and just zip the lip.

For the first time since I had been seeing this guy, he went all "Sciency" on me.  He started explaining sinusoidal waves (which I already knew - thank you Math degree) and the different ranges of normal waves vs waves that are out of the spectrum including higher frequency waves and slower frequency waves.

It was about this point that I realized he was gearing up to tell me something.

My left temporal lobe (above mt left ear, give or take a few inches in any direction) has a slower frequency with spikes.  Now I am not a neurologist, but that doesn't sound like it would would fit in the standard definition of normal.  It doesn't.

I have Epilepsy.

Initially he referred to the spikes as epileptic in nature, but I flat out asked him to clarify, I needed something more tangible than epileptic adjacent, so he did.  It's an epilepsy diagnosis.  Period.

I forced my brain to slow down and ask questions because my initial reaction would have had me say "Ok then, thanks very much" and walk out as if somehow I only had epilepsy in the confines of this room and if I leave then it isn't real.

But I didn't.  I stayed and asked questions:

1. Does my kind of epilepsy respond to medication? - Yes.
2. Will I be able to drive? - Yes, with medication and 6 months free of seizures (I am currently going on 5 months with no seizure right now)
3. Is there a chance of Celiac/Gluten interaction? - Not likely, although some epileptics have noted that they have IBS symptoms.
4. Any dietary restrictions or things that could help the condition? - None specifically, other than eating a healthy diet.
5. Can I still drink wine?  Yes, in moderation.

We are now going to wait until I have the MRI done in June to see if anything shows up there.  Perhaps a scar or lesion on my temporal lobe is causing the issue, who knows.  But we'll deal with it when we get those results.

Once all results are in, he is going to contact MPI.  My licence returning in January was conditional on a providing EEG results within a year.  So we are going to wait until I have been 6 months without a seizure and been on meds, so he can write to them and say, "I recommend that this individual continue to have their license as she has been seizure free for 6 months and is on medication to prevent any future occurences... blah blah blah ".

I walked out of his office with a mixed bag of emotions.  I was happy to finally get a diagnosis, scared and a little shell shocked at getting said diagnosis and uncertain of what it really all meant.

I was holding it together until I got on the bus to go home and I texted Brad and Debbie. I fell apart and started to cry.  Crying on public transit is never ideal, so I did try and reign it in somewhat.

In a weird twist, this day was also filled with irony.  Brad and I have been toiling with the idea of selling our Rav4.  I haven't really been driving since March of 2014.  Brad can't drive two vehicles at once, so we thought it might be a good idea to sell the Rav rather than letting it sit and pay insurance on it.

We made the decision Wednesday to sell it.  Brad took the photos and I made the Kijiji ad.  Post went live about 10:30 pm Wed night.  That night and all Thursday, Brad's phone just blew up.  There was more interest in the Rav than we ever could have hoped.  I wasn't even convinced that it would sell on Kijiji, but I knew that we could get more for it there than if we sold it to a dealership.

As I walked home all puffy eyed from my doctor visit, Brad was at the door holding a pen.  The Rav had sold to the first guy who contacted him, less than 24 hrs from when we first put up the ad.

The irony of selling the Rav on the very day I get my official diagnosis (which allows me to drive) is not lost on me.Honestly, what are the chances of that happening?

The good thing I suppose is that we can use the money from selling it to pay off some debt, landscape the house, put in a deck/fence and then look at getting a new SUV in the fall. I'm secretly leaning towards a Chevy Tahoe.

I'm actually quite grateful to Zach for this diagnosis.  Up until January, we thought I was fainting, as we could only go on my description because no one else had witnessed it.  All the tests we were doing were trying to determine the cause of the fainting and nothing was showing up.  But in January Zach saw me have one and said I didn't faint, but rather stared into space for 10 seconds, which is very different than how I perceived the event.  Bringing that to my doctor led us down a different path of testing and 4 months later, I have a diagnosis.

So there you have it.  Epilepsy. Right now, I just feel grateful. Grateful we figured it out; grateful it's treatable; grateful I never had a seizure driving and hurt anyone; grateful I will be able to drive and more than anything else, grateful for an extremely supportive loving husband who said and did all the right things last night and made me feel loved and safe.

Life is good.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Celiac?

I realized this weekend that Spring is one year since my license was taken away the first time due to seizures. While I now have it back (technically), we are no closer to finding out what is causing them.

Sigh.

This weekend I was talking to my cousin Jill, she was telling me how she was diagnosed with Celiac.  Both my uncle and cousin now have it.  It's weird, Jill and I have been talking about this for years and we both have very similar symptoms and were both told we had IBS.

But now Jill's is Celiac.  I have never been tested specifically for it, although it was surmised that I was gluten intolerant.  This thinking goes back as far as 2010.

Now however, I'm thinking it's probably a good idea that I get tested for Celiac.  Why?  I did a little research on the symptoms.  Outside of the IBS type symptoms (which I have), I also noticed the following:

1. Seizures
2. Low B12
3. Gallbladder issues
4. Nosebleeds

Uh....that is me to a tee.

I have been taking B12 supplements for a long time because I am always told I'm low.  I had my gallbladder out due to gallstones in 2013 and well seizures are the issue that started this whole thing.

Wouldn't that be crazy if Celiac is at the root of all of this.  Who knows though right?  At the very least I can get tested and either rule it out or finally figure out the problem.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Birthday Shenanigans

My nephews birthdays are in March and May  and my boys are in June and August respectively.

Everyone is always busy, so it's hard finding a time to get everyone together.  The past few years they combined the parties into one family one (the boys still get their individual birthday parties with friends etc).

That one was Saturday afternoon.  I love my brother and sister in law.  They are just awesome.  Brett is also a major pusher.  You would be hard pressed at Brett's to not have a drink in your hand.  You will also remember sipping your drink but never actually going empty at any point during the evening. Always fun.

It was nice visiting with everyone.  George, my father in law,  is still fighting cancer.   He's stage 4, but is doing well.  He is on a trial program of liquid radiation in Edmonton.  So far the doctors are pleased with the progress he's making on the program which is really great to hear.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the party because I threw my neck out Friday.  Every couple of months the muscles in my neck go completely haywire. I'll wake up and can't turn my head and the muscles will be in spasm.

Friday morning was just that.  I called my chiro, busy.  I called my regular massage therapist, busy.

Crud.

So instead I went to see the chiro in the mall close to my office.  Chiro's make me nervous, but I can't argue with the results.  After seeing a chiro, my neck is always better.  But still, trusting a new chiro, that makes me sweat.

This guy was ok, but his method was different.  My regular guy has me lie down on the table and "Hugs" to get the neck back into place.  THis guy had me sit in a chair and came up behind me and adjusted my neck mortal kombat style which was ever so terrifying.

After he made the epic adjustment, I tried to inconspicuously wiggle my toes and hands. All good. Whew.

Now everything was back into place, but the muscles were all out of whack because they had been fighting the joints. I needed a massage.

I dislike massages, I don't find them relaxing.  But I needed one, but my regular therapist doesn't have any opening until the end of May. MAY!

That is the beauty of having a husband who spends his days working at a medical supply store.  All of his contacts are therapists, doctors, specialists.

Brad made a phone call and got me into see Zach at Woseley Wellness on Friday night.  Zach beat me up, went to town working the disobedient muscle in my neck.  I was sore Friday night after the massage, but I could turn my head.   PROGRESS!

Saturday I felt just bruised, but my neck felt orders of magnitude better. So grateful for Zach at Woselely Wellness.  Amazing.

I still have a little residual stiffness, but I am feeling so much better.   This week is going to be a ball buster at work, so I'm glad I'm feeling better.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Off the beaten track

Everytime Brad goes away.... something happens.  It's inevitable.

See here...

or here

sigh... or here












Brad was at the cabin with the boys for the remainder of Spring Break, but I had to work.  This weekend, I decided to clean the house.  Give a it good top to bottom Mary Poppins-esque scrub down.

I started upstairs in my ensuite.  At some point, I started cleaning the shower doors.  But I guess I was cleaning somewhat too vigorously and the glass shower doors came off their tracks.

No problem.  You're talking to a woman who renovated a bathroom single handed, I think I am capable of putting shower doors back on.


Sweet mother of pearl that was easier said than done.

At one point, I was standing in the shower, holding the three doors together trying to connect them in all at once.  Looking back, I realize this was an asinine  thought, but in my defense I was desperate.

As I was trying to click all three glass doors into their respective tracks, the doors slipped and fell squarely on my big toe.  I swore.  Loud.

But I didn't have time to fuss about it because I was still holding the glass doors and I didn't want them to fall and shatter.

After stabilizing the doors (still weren't back in their tracks), I looked down.











It was a scene from Psycho.  The entire shower floor was covered in blood.  I looked down at my mangled toe and saw a deep "L" shaped gash.  Awesome.

My predicament was now as follows:
1) I need the first aid kit
2) The first aid kit is in the boys bathroom
3) The boys bathroom and my ensuite are separated by a rather large expanse of light grey carpeting
4) FML

I rinsed off both feet and made a sacrificial lamb of one of Brad's shirts from the laundry basket and hobbled over to the first aid kit.   I was pretty sure I needed stitches and wasn't sure if I had broken my toe.

However, in my infinite wisdom, I was more concerned with getting the shower doors back on (and I still had to finish cleaning the rest of the house!).    I did some battlefield first aid on my toe, popped an Advil and got back to it.

After calling out to a divine power for assistance, I was able to figure out how the doors went back on. The three doors nest in on each other, but what I didn't realize was that they click into the bottom track on two different levels.  That little gem of knowledge would have saved a good hour of struggling.  But they were back on, Hallelujah.

I know had a throbbing toe and had to decide if I needed stitches.  I can't drive at the moment, or shouldn't I should say as I do still have my license.  I knew that it didn't matter if the toe was broken because they don't do anything for that.  So I made an executive decision to use some skin glue to close up the deep gash.  Skip over the photo below if you're squeamish...












In retrospect, I really should have got stitches.  The stitches would have closed the wound up whereas now I have a big gap, which means it's going to be a ugly scar, but whatever, it's a toe and it's still attached which is the main thing.

Thankfully, I don't think I broke it.  Although it's sore, once the swelling went down I was able to bend my toe without excruciating pain which means I didn't break it. I've broken a toe before (incidentally when Brad was away hunting) and this time it isn't nearly as painful, so I think I'm in the clear.

Sometimes you just have to laugh at how things turn out, life is constantly keeping me in stitches.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Elk Beans

The cabin is our escape.  Not only from the city, but from the chaotic schedules and day to day monotony.












We arrived Saturday morning, Saturday evening was filled with some *ahem* well mannered frivolity.












Sunday called for relaxation. I decided to find some "LOVE" at the cabin.  I went around and looked for the letters, L,O,V,E, in nature around the cabin.  The result:
























While I was getting my amateur photographer on, Brad, Zach, Logan, Dale and Dawson all went ice fishing.  The rivers have broken up, but the lakes are still pretty solid because they do not have running water underneath.  They took the quad down to the ice and set up shop.

 You need 2 inches of ice to walk on it and I think 4 or 6 inches to drive on.  Where the boys were fishing they were measuring the ice in feet, so they weren't worried.  All was going well despite the fact that the fish weren't biting.  Upon leaving, they got on the quad to drive off, Zach was walking on the ice and Dawson (who was on the quad) could hear the ice cracking.

Zach made it to the shore no problem, but Dawson and the quad went in.  Logan, riding on the back on the quad fell in as well.  They were close to the shore and Brad and Dale were right there so everyone was safe.  Still, they now had the quad submerged in the water and had to pull it out.

I have begun to realize that everything at the cabin is an adventure.

They went back to the farm and got a tractor.  Hooked it up to the submerged quad, thanks to Brad who volunteered to wade into the frosty water to connect it up. THey got it out, no worse for the wear.  Surprisingly, the quad started right up.

Monday it was gorgeous weather, so we went on a hike.  There is always interesting finds in the woods.  We found a couple deer skulls.













We also found an abundance of Elk scat.  There is a pretty big Elk herd that wanders around the cabin.

I have to take you on an aside here.  I love the reality show, Alaska the Last Frontier.  I just identify with it for some reason.  On one episode, the patriarch of the family makes Moose Beans, which are fire starters made from moose poop aka scat,

Moose and Elk have very similar poop, so I figured, that we should try it.  That singular idea turned into a whole day event. Zach got into it collecting all the elk scat he could find.  Logan was less than enthusiastic about spending the day collecting poop. Where is your sense of adventure kid??

After collecting a fair amount. we then dried it out over the fire, although it is pretty dry to begin with.  It's almost like picking up acorns.












After drying it out,  you have to soak them in paraffin.  Upon looking we didn't have any handy, so I texted my friend Courtney to see if she had any at the farm.   Courtney had never heard of our little craft idea, but it is a testament to my friend that she didn't even question it.  Brad drove into town  to find some wax. We melted it over the fire and soaked the newly labeled "Elk Beans" and laid them out to dry.

Who would have thought, but it actually works!  It takes a little bit to get them lit, but once they do, they burn quite well.












If we had just the one tray it wouldn't have been a large undertaking, but Zach found bucketfuls and wanted to do them all.  We have enough Elk Beans to start campfires until 2020.

It was a great long weekend.  Wish I could have stayed longer.





Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Shrink

27.2 pounds GONE since January.

I was starting to get discouraged because things were going really slow in March despite any effort I was making.  I know I am supposed to drink lots of water, but I'd fallen off the wagon, because I really hate drinking water.

Yes, I know it has a whole myriad of health benefits, but to me, it's a chore. Regardless, I started back up again.  It helps.  As of today, I am down 4.8lbs which isn't a huge amount, but hey... it's something.

I am looking forward to hitting a 30lbs loss.  That seems significant somehow.  Maybe it's because I am still waiting for people to notice.  I mean how much am I going to have to drop before you can tell?  I have noticed in the mirror lately and I have been able to tell in my clothes for awhile.  As my friend Debbie pointed out though, my clothes aren't fitted, they are loose and flowy.

That is great if you are trying to hide your size as it camouflages things, but it also hides if you are losing weight as well. So perhaps that is why no one has noticed.

At some point they will though.  But I have to keep reminding myself why I started, for the health benefits and to feel good.

With that in mind, the Spring Shrink moves onward!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

EEG

Had my EEG this morning.

As they prepare you for the test, you begin to feel a little bionic because they connect endless wires and electrodes to your head.  In order to connect the electrodes, they rub a combination of sandpaper/sulfuric acid (lovely tingle that is) to your skin to make the electrodes stick.  To complete the circuit, they slather on copious amounts of what looks pomade circa 1952.  When the set up is done, you kind of look something like this;



















But no where near as happy as this woman. I can't for the life of me imagine a situation where you would be sporting such elaborate headgear and still be smiling like that, but that's a tangent for another day...




















The process takes an hour or so.  It began with simple instructions followed by reassurance that I had done it correctly:
 - Open your eyes.
Good.
 - Close your eyes.
Good.

I won't subject you to further play by play because that went on for awhile.

Next up was the hyperventilating portion of the morning.  Deep Breathe in/out, fast, over and over for 3 minutes. I was getting pretty lightheaded by the time he told me to breathe normal again.

Good.

After all that hard work, I suppose they felt you needed a rest, because the next segment just had you lying quietly and even trying to sleep.  I made a valiant effort to sleep, but it was no use.  I was just lying there thinking the most endless array of weird thoughts.

 - "How still does lie "STILL" mean?  Will the test be a bust if I scratch my nose?"
 - "Now my right toe itches"
 - "Should I be making conversation?"

It's impossible to keep track of time and determine how long had passed. 10 minutes? 20 minutes" It felt like forever and I really did have to scratch my nose.

He then informed me we will be moving on to the strobe light portion of the test.  Up until this point I have been lying in darkness with my eyes closed.  He then rolls this strobe light in front of my face, flicks it on and tells me to open my eyes and stare at it.








The light began to blink slowly only to pick up speed.  Trying to keep my eyes open was really difficult when the light was so bright, especially after lying in the dark for a half hour.

After the impromptu rave for one, we now reached the end of the test.  Hurrah...cue nose scratching.

He flicked on the lights and without looking up informed me that the electrode gel, aka pomade, rinses off in water. He then took off all the electrodes, which released at the slightest yank of the wires.   As I got off the stretcher, he looked at me and said "Uh, we have a mirror on the back of the door if you'd like to fix your hair"

That was my first indication that I had hobo chic going on. Still squinting from the dark to light transition, I walked over to the mirror and took a glance.












Staring back at me was some form of sea witch... My hair was completely punked out with globs of this pomade concoction dotted throughout it.  I went to wipe some of it off and it slicked my hair back like Elvis.

So while I was planning on heading in to work straight after this appointment, I made a gmae time decision to go home and wash my hair.  I'm not vain or anything, but there was just no way I could go to work like that, the "wet look" is not one that I can ever hope to pull off.

Thankfully it all washed out with no problem and I was back looking like my regular non-electrocuted-Crystal-Gayle self in no time.  Speaking of which I have an appointment at Sets on Corydon this Saturday. Bye Bye Crystal.

Will hopefully get the EEG results in 2 weeks time and then we'll go from there.




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