Monday, April 8, 2013

What is Epilepsy and the Affects

What is Epilepsy and the affects

In medical terms, Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system, which is also known as a seizure disorder. Many people have never heard of Epilepsy which causes seizures, for that reason I am going to spend a few brief moments explaining what a seizure is both medically and non-medically.
Medically speaking, Seizures occur when the electrical system of the brain malfunctions. In another sense, the instead of discharging electrical energy in a controlled way the brain cells keep firing. If only part of the brain is affected, it may cloud awareness, block normal communications, and produce a variety of undirected, uncontrolled, and unorganized movements.
Simply put a seizure is when a person is jerking or moving with no control what so ever, this typically happens suddenly with little to no warning. The jerking can affect all of the body, some of the body, or be very localized, a arm, leg, head, etc. There are even cases where the person has no jerking at all they just stare off into space and once they come back to normal forget everything.
Seizures have many different names that specialists have given them some of which are, Generalized Seizures names: Absence, Atonic, tonic-clonic, myoclonic. Partial names: Simple and Complex seizures, gelastic seizures, dacrystic seizures, non-epileptic seizures, and status epilepticus.
Medical Information was provided today by the Epilepsy Foundation. To read more please Click Here!

Some more Background Information:

As you all have read previously, my husband was diagnosed at the age of 16 with seizures; however, because there has been no Epileptic Specialist on his case we only know he has seizures. My husband and I met way back in 2004, dated on and off, and made it very serious by the very beginning of 2006. By March we married. I was very uneducated about seizures, what they were, what it looked like while a person had a seizure, what to expect afterwards, and honestly had no clue to nothing then. It was a few weeks after we married and Buddy began having seizures. At first it was just during the nights it stormed. I was able to realize that these seizures occurred after it stormed typically if the storm produced bad lightening. So, I connected lightening with causing a seizure.
One day I found the nerve to ask him about lightening and seizures, just to see if I was crazy and he admitted that any flashes of light could trigger a seizure. Immediately I ran out and bought the heaviest curtains and if I couldn’t find any heavy enough I used comforters and sewed them together to cover every window in our small apartment. From that day on no more seizures from lighting. Open-mouthed smile Thank goodness for learning that.
A month after we married, we bought our first home and moved in, again came the having to close out the outside to prevent lightening from coming in. Neighbors looked at us like we were crazy and honestly thought we were doing something illegal. As a matter of fact, the landlord where we had our mobile home at stopped in one day and asked us why we had it so blocked off from everything with our windows. I kindly asked him to sit down, and I began to explain the complications. “My husband has Epilepsy, if a storm comes through producing lightening he will have seizures, because of never knowing when a storm will hit here, its more simple just to keep it up all year round and protect him as much as possible.” The landlord asked if he could share our story with the neighbors as they were all concerned we had something illegal going on (quite shocking), but I agreed so people would not have police at our door steps every day questioning us and so forth.
For the longest time in 2006 Buddy was able to work and hold a job quite well. He was actually a Farm Hand for one of the local farmers as he had experience in this field it was easier for him to work it. When mid-Summer hit everything went down the drain and fast. Our bedroom floor fell in and we had to replace it ourselves. I only knew how to handle a hammer, had no idea how to use a saw, or what to do about measuring. I left all of that up to Buddy. At this time he was working long hours upwards to 12 and 16 hour days at the farm. Then he would come home and try and work on the floor some before passing out. That week became the worst in June. Buddy began having seizures every night, no matter what. Every night it was like clock work, wake up by 2am, wait for seizure to stop, get him dressed, help him walk to the car, put him in, drive the 15 minutes to the hospital and stay for 4 to 8 hours for testing, EEG’s, Cat Scans, MRI’s, and blood work.
By that Friday, he had lost his job, our floor was not getting fixed, and worse of all Buddy forgot almost everything. Buddy had forgotten how to: shave, feed himself, cook, get a drink of water, shower, how to dress himself, tie his shoes, everything. At that moment I went from being a wife to being a caregiver. Some things came naturally to me as I had always helped my grandparents out, other things were second nature, while others were down right terrifying.
Loss of memory was not uncommon for him, but to have lost so much in just a few seizures I was terrified. I had no idea if his memory would ever come back, if he would remember how to do anything again, top those fears off with knowing our bedroom floor needed to get done. I was only 19 years old and barely knew a thing about living or being married, but I learned real fast.
Buddy looked at me one day and said, “I need to shave but I don’t remember how”, instead of thinking I said “its okay baby, I know how to shave you, I will teach you”. I sat him down at my level and gently shaved him. I slowly taught him how to shave, to cut his food up, tie his shoes, and how to dress himself, I did everything a wife should. As I did all of this I remembered the vows we took, “For better or For Worse, In Sickness and In Health” well this was definitely worse and in sickness.
Sometimes the problem is with people they only see what it does to the person who has Epilepsy but they don’t see what it does to those people that have to take care of them. I had to have a crash course in how to handle the daily needs of both the house, animals, and my husband. If that wasn’t enough I had to figure out how to use a circular saw and cut board, measure to the correct size, and fix a bedroom floor myself.
Did I feel tired? Angry? Hurt? Upset? Lost? Hopeless? Definitely. I will tell you though through all of this the one thing that kept me pushing on was remembering that I married this man because I love him with all my heart. I gave him my heart and soul he gave me a home for my heart. A place to feel safe, warm, loved, and comforted. Even though at night, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep I constantly remembered I loved him and he loved me. Though we hadn’t even been married 6 months I knew that no matter what we would get through it.
Having fears, anger, frustration, anxiety, panic attacks, and moments of wanting to scream was just some things I had to deal with regularly during this week. I know that someone somewhere has felt like this too, maybe you have felt like this. I strongly believe that had it not been for those moments of worse, sickness, trying, and prevailing we would not be as strong as we are now.
Remember as you come back to read more, your not alone that I too have felt like you many times. That I have struggled not only as a person but with a marriage, and my husband. I have struggled to understand why such a good guy could be struck down with such a disease, I have questioned the unthinkable like you have. I have worried about what tomorrow would bring, and I have fought to keep going. Remember “Your Not Alone”.

Come back tomorrow for another series of blog posts and learn more about us and Epilepsy.

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