Monday, January 16, 2012


In which our Heroine goes off the Deep-end.

A week and a half ago—on Wednesday, January fourth at about 11:30 A.M., to be exact—I had what I believe is a tonic-clonic seizure.  I have avoided writing about the incident, because I am frankly so bummed about it.  The day it happened ended up being a bad, bad day because I could only focus on the worst of all the reasons it might have happened.  In other words, I thought for sure that I had some nasty tumor growing back.  

The fear was compounded by the fact that I have been tired lately.  This could be for any number of reasons: Christmas stress, bad sleep patterns, my child—who has stopped taking naps, meaning that I get no rest during the day, unhealthy foods that always seem to creep into my house, the 4 pieces of delicious See’s candy I ate the night before…etc…

In retrospect, I believe my somewhat hysterical reaction a symptom of my nearly complete lack of knowledge about seizures.  Other than a few weird, little eye-twitches that occasionally reached down to the mouth on the left side of my face, my first seizure was the biggie that sent me to the ER.  Naturally, I have no recollection of this event, and so cannot compare it with my latest.  After surgery, I had some odd numbing and loss of feeling that extended down the left side of my body.  That’s what landed me with a prescription for the anti-convulsant Keppra (aka Levetiracetum).  But this seizure—oh, it was different.

So, there I was, doing leg-lifts in time with the most grandma of all work-out videos (seriously, I have scoured our local library’s collection in search of the workout that I can do at home even on the yuckiest-feeling days).  I was on the beginning marches of the cool-down phase (barely sweaty at all) when my muscles tensed oddly.  The perky woman with big hair on screen changed to a new set of steps, and I tried too, but the muscles on either sides of my body wouldn’t obey.  For a couple of counts, my limbs were following the old routine.  That’s when I knew something was wrong.  My thoughts were incredibly slow.  I had to deliberately try to stop lifting my arms in the air (my legs were already down).  Now I was shaking uncontrollably—huge jerky movements that made no sense to my slow-as-molasses thoughts. 

In normal circumstances, what would I do if interrupted?  Why, push the stop button on the blue-ray of course.  So that’s what I tried to do.  Do you know how hard it is to press a finger to a tiny touch-screen symbol when you’re jerking all over the place?  Just use your imagination.  My whole body was racking with spasms, my legs shaking under me when I finally realized that this goal of mine was useless and I needed to do something else.  Ironically, it was the downward motion of being done that got the work-out video turned off.  I turned around and found myself in a slow-minded struggle between looking at the clock and realizing I’d forgotten to take the Keppra, and also knowing that the couch would be a good place to ride this thing out—whatever it was.  It was like one of those I-can’t-run-fast-and-get-away nightmares.

It took me a really long time to get to the door of the kitchen—too long.  But by then I had learned that my mind could only handle one simple task at a time.  So I focused on the water glass by the sink.  Then on my right hand picking it up.  Then shuffling sideways two small steps to the faucet.  That’s when I had the crystal- clear thought that if I took a deep breath, I would be able to calm down enough to stop shaking and take my medicine.  It worked, and by the time I was fishing my medicine bottle out of the cupboard, I was down to only a slight shakiness.    Then I went to lay on the couch. 

In answer to the questions, no I did not call the doctor.  I already had appointments set up for an MRI (last week) and on Wednesday the 18th, the neurosurgeon’s PA.  I felt good about the decision at the time and still do.

All things considered, I think I handled myself very, very well.  Knowing my personality as drama queen extraordinaire, and the extreme depression I tend to feel whenever I think of my chronically cancerous self—I am quite certain that I had a little extra help from God.  He calmed me and put thoughts in my nearly-useless mind that got me where I needed to go.   Directly afterward, I had a hard time recognizing this, and really lost it for the rest of the day.  I have also had my down moments on occasion since then.  The only thing that shakes me out of this is listening to good old MOTAB and reading my scriptures and patriarchal blessing. 

Mainly, I have been depressed about the idea of dealing with any kind of possible future treatment.  Why can’t the miracle of being kind-of-well just continue, I think to myself.  But there may be other reasons.  I read online about how sometimes Keppra induces tonic-clonic seizures when taken over a course of time.  Could this be it?  I hope so, even though it brings up a host of new issues (especially since I want to have another child someday soon).  Medication + pregnancy = suckiness.  I have a friend who took “safe” anti-convulsants when pregnant and now has children with learning disabilities.  I would really like to not have ANY weird chemicals in my system.  Well.  Another goal I have no real control over.

Thankfully, I have largely regained my composure over the last week—finally remembering what I had to learn back when I was first diagnosed with cancer: that what happens, happens—and all I can do is deal with it with patience and grace (in such small amounts as I have).


  1. Well, crap! That sucks! I hope your latest MRI was good. I guess we will keep you in our prayers a bit longer... Hahaha. Love you, Tara.

  2. That is terrible! I am so sorry Tara! I'll be thinking of you and praying for you. And I think you have lots of grace!

  3. Sorry Tara! I hope your week gets better. My 6 year old started having seizures this year, and we've been learning as we go. She will most likely be on meds until puberty, when they think she will out grow them. Getting a call from the school saying your kindergartener had collapsed on the playground and is now with the paramedics was not fun, but things are good and under control! I agree with Melinda, you do have a lot of grace and an amazing attitude! We will keep you in our prayers.