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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!