I had another seizure Saturday night (Oct. 10th, 2009) and this one nearly scared me to death. I have wanted to set some things straight about our situation. This is a good opportunity to do just that. Our church had a Fall Festival planned and we were supposed to go out to a country home for hay rides, bon fire,etc. But when it snowed nearly three inches it behooved us to move the festivities indoors.
As the evening was winding down Benj and one of his friends waited in the car (I was planning to take Benj’s friend home momentarily) I found myself engaged in one of those last second…minute…fifteen minutes conversations. In retr0spect this was a smiling Providence of God that it happened when it did.
While I have come to appreciate and even admire the volunteers who make up the Earlham First Responders Unit I am tired of being at the center of attention! God bless the men and women who selflessly serve on this crew.
If you live in a big city then you can’t even comprehend what I mean as I try to express my thanks. When a 911 call goes in I believe that an ambulance is immediately dispatched, along with the First Responders in the Earlham area.
The ambulance can always be called back if it proves not to be urgent. But the Earlham First Responders are always the first to arrive on the scene….taking vital signs in my case. I don’t know what their average response time is but it has to be near to NASCAR Pit Stop times. I was then taken by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa about 8:30 p.m.
Top Five Questions From The Hypothetical Peanut Gallery
1. Question: Why did you have another seizure? Is this thing growing back?
Answer: This mass of tangled blood vessels and arteries is gone and it can’t grow back. I will die someday…at my appointed time…but not from this AVM…which no longer exists. I am at peace with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and am ready to leave this body behind. Are you?
2. Question: You were just at Mayo Clinic and had an EEG which showed no seizure activity in the brain. What gives?
Answer: Though the EEG produced scientific proof that my brain still functions, and though there was no apparent seizure activity occurring in those tests….as the doctor warned us so I have proven: “…that just because there is no obvious seizure activity in the brain does not mean that seizures will not occur.”
A good friend keeps reminding me over and over that this is a marathon, not a sprint. And he is encouraged, as I am as well, at the progress made thus far. There is a whole host of complicated factors that could account for this seizure. Swelling in the brain from surgery can take up to a year to go down to normal.
Then there is always the very real possibility that during some of the darkest hours of this ordeal that other areas of my brain were damaged as well. But again, the brain is the most amazing organ in the human body and it is capable of re-wiring itself to an extraordinary degree.
3. Question: Did it scare you to have another seizure?
Answer: Uh….Yes! It lasted for roughly two-and-a-half minutes. It began while I was talking to a woman and her husband…trying to swat a fly is how they described my actions…and as this dear woman continued to talk on I tried with all my might to pull myself out of it but could not.
My last thought before I momentarily blacked out was this: “This is it. I’m going to die right now because I cannot even breathe!!” So yes, it was terrifying! I would happily remain on seizure medications the rest of my life if only to avoid another one like this. After all we have been through in the past eight months I wasn’t expecting any more excitement…or rides to the hospital in ambulances.
4. Question: What are you taking for seizure medication and have you made any recent adjustments?
Answer: Three months ago I was taking 600 mg of Dilantin and 1500 mg of Keppra. In the past months the Dilantin has not even been at a therapeutic level so that has been eliminated altogether . Per Dr. Meyer’s recent instructions we adjusted the Keppra downward by half (to 750 mg/ day). Thus, the most likely reason for this seizure was because of the medication adjustment made just 10 days ago.
My body and brain responded to this change with an emphatic, “NO!” Or, if not a permanent “NO” at a minimum it was an emphatic “NOT YET!”
5. Question: What do you plan to do now?
Answer: Eat a Snickers bar…I haven’t had one for awhile and increase the Keppra back to 1,500 mg/day.