It’s been a lightbulb moment

Yesterday and today there have been some tears shed, actually today there were a LOT of tears shed, which became highly embarrassing – except for the fact that I escaped before many people noticed! 

Why tears? I hear you ask. I felt EXHAUSTED, by this I mean that I felt drained of any energy AT ALL! Slightly problematic when you are one of the chief minions at a church holiday club! I was exhausted which meant that I wasn’t able to do my best at church, which then led to me feel deflated – one of those joyous vicious circle moments! 

Yesterday I put it down to the fact that I’d barely slept the night before. Today I’d slept better, so felt energised until a couple of people pointed out I looked exhausted – then I was! 

I couldn’t work it out! Maybe it was because I’d not fully rested after my seizure like I normally do, I’d kept going and my body and brain weren’t entirely happy about it? Maybe it was because I’d not had much ‘me’ time as I’d been in Birmingham with family and friends, then come straight back to holiday club madness?

Whatever it was, I didn’t like the way I was feeling. Mainly as it was reminding me of the previous existence of Helen. No! I am not going back there!

I’d been thinking through things, when my thoughts were seconded by my dear friend ‘E’ who had received texts from me and who responded with ‘remember how much this is not you! Keep going but pace yourself – although I wonder bizarrely if your body is missing exercise and the endorphins released by it?’

I decided at that point that I was going to be going for a run. I have since done my first run and my first real exercise since my seizure last Sunday, and I feel so much better already!

All week I have kept going, which I thought was progress, but I was holding back on the exercise, this was partly as I had a swollen ankle at the beginning of the week, and bruising all over my body; partly as I was in Birmingham so was out of my routine; but partly because I felt I needed to take it slow as I’d had a seizure and needed to recover. 

I’m now starting to think maybe I just needed to ‘snap out of it’! From the point where I had decided that I was going for a run, I found it easier to work and I felt happier. During the run I enjoyed the time it gave me to think and reflect over the last week! After the run I have felt happier and more energised than I have all week!

I don’t think it is as easy as just snapping out of it, I’m also hoping I won’t have enough experience of how to respond to seizures to discover what is best! But I think I definitely need to approach the recovery different from now on.

The lightbulb moment really was how much better I have felt since I have been exercising! The endorphins really do make a difference! Just knowing I was going to go for a run made me feel better!

 Today was the first time this week that my Fitbit has vibrated – meaning I met my goal of 10000 steps. Usually I am well over that goal, or I go out of my way to ensure I do. And yet this week has been more active than most of my weeks in my previous life! This is how much I have changed, I’m still in shock that this is me writing it! I enjoy exercise, and exercise helps me enjoy life! Lightbulb moment!

Bouncing over the barriers

As we approach September I prepare myself for ‘the epilepsy talk’, this is the talk I give to all my classes at the beginning of the year, to explain what epilepsy is, how it affects me, and most importantly what they need to do should I have a seizure. This talk usually consists of me telling the pupils to leave me alone and let me sleep; and that I’m normally out of it for about 48 hours, and in pain for much longer. Basically, if I have a seizure you will find me on the sofa asleep for at least 2 days if not longer, with barely any of this time awake!

However, I think I may need to make changes to this talk! I really didn’t realise what an effect the exercise/weight loss has had on my life. Yesterday morning I had my first seizure in nearly 14 months. Gutted – yes; but actually unlike any seizure I’ve had before. There were a few highlights

  1. I didn’t bite my tongue – I ALWAYS bite my tongue, that’s how I normally know that I’ve had a seizure – I was happier just to be told by my husband
  2. I wasn’t particularly post-dictal (really ridiculously confused, spaced out, not aware of anything that has happened or is happening)
  3. I didn’t go straight to sleep, I sat for a bit, got a bit weepy, then got ready!

Since the seizure Sunday morning I have travelled to Birmingham on the train on my own; gone for a meal with the family; played board games with my mum and niece; taken my niece bowling, for lunch and shopping; visited my aunty; had dinner and will be shortly going out to the pub!!!!! Previously I probably wouldn’t have managed all that in a week, let alone 36 hours after a seizure!

As I travelled on the train I gradually noticed bruises/lumps and bumps including: a lump on my eye which is gradually going black, a painful swollen ankle, a bruise on my chin. But I haven’t let it hold me back. I had decided I was going to Birmingham, I had promised my niece that I was taking her for a day out. My brain was NOT going to stop me.

My first text this morning was to my friend saying ‘the worst thing about going over a year without a seizure is that when you have one you forget the horrific pain of waking up in the morning and not being able to move anything’ the response I got, and needed was ‘yes I am actually really pleased you have forgotten but remember how is the “today” Helen going to deal with the aftermath of the seizure’

The “today” Helen has just got on with it, I’ve not been stupid about it, and will not be going running/gym until the ankle is stronger. But I was not going to let it get in the way of my plans with my niece, or family in general. Most importantly, in the same way that I didn’t feel guilty having my mums home made lemon meringue pie, I have often been annoyed with my brain, or even myself when I’ve had seizures, especially when I’ve been ages without having one. But this time I honestly haven’t – such a relief not to feel guilty and not to let it take over! 

I’m getting more and more amazed by how widespread this lifestyle has become! Which other barriers will I be able to jump over?