Miss Part 1? Read it here.
I felt pretty normal for the next month, never experiencing any more strange feelings (which I later learned are called “auras”) and passing all my medical tests with flying colors. Here is a list of the tests I underwent:
- EEG: electroencephalogram, measures brain waves. My test lasted 45 minutes and included a strobe light (party!) to check if I was sensitive to them, but I wasn’t. The test indicated nothing out of the ordinary, and aside from leaving a yucky glue in my hair, wasn’t bad at all.
- Neurology tests: the basic ones- follow an object with your eyes, walk in a straight line, etc.
St. Patrick’s day, 2009:
I was running with my track team when I had another aura. I immediately stopped running, shut my eyes, and sat down on the ground. I didn’t have a seizure, but my team was very concerned about me. We were running through a forest preserve, and one of the coaches stayed with me until I felt better. I was able to run-walk back to the school. My mom was concerned, however, so she took me to the ER after practice. They drew blood and monitored my vitals for a while, then declared I was fine and sent me home.
May 1st, 2009:
Again, I was running with my track team. Again, an aura. But this time it was much more sudden and severe. My friends told me I’d yelled “I’m going to have a seizure!” then dropped to the ground and started to shake. It was all very scary for my teammates and coach and I really don’t like thinking about it. I was taken to the local hospital in an ambulance, and received an MRI of my brain. I remember a nurse handing me a large, oblong white pill. An anti-convulsant. The second seizure made it official: I had epilepsy.
But my doctors weren’t so sure. There was absolutely nothing wrong with my brain or nervous system, which suggested that my seizures may not be brain-related at all. I saw a cardiologist, who did some more tests.
- Echocardiogram: an ultrasound of my heart. Pretty cool to watch my heart actually beating on a screen! I asked for a photo or video of my heart to take home (as you would get for a baby ultrasound), but didn’t get one. Oh well.
- Stress test: the treadmill test. I was hooked up to a blood pressure cuff and EKG electrodes, then told to walk on a treadmill. The incline increased every few minutes, and I stayed on the treadmill for 17 minutes until the doctor administering the test told me he had enough information. I was determined to break the hospital record, haha.
But still no answer. I continued to take the anti-convulsant medicine twice a day, and it made me very tired and forgetful. The side effects, however, were not as bad as they could have been. Anti-convulsants are notorious for their horrible side effects, which is why even though I don’t actually have epilepsy (nor did I ever have it, more info on that soon), I still have donated money to the Epilepsy Foundation to help fund research. Epilepsy is a pretty sucky illness, and it can be life-threatening. If you’re so inclined, I encourage you to donate too!