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Epilepsy and the Job Seeker's Dilemma

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There’s a great deal we agree on when it comes to our epilepsy.We need to get regular sleep.Taking meds on schedule is a must.It’s better for us to be open with others about our condition.Back up.Open with others?Here’s where the arguments begin.There are some people who have been traumatized by others’ reactions to their letting people without epilepsy know about their troubles and argue unequivocally for keeping silent.Others, such as I, fight to be open. A more complex situation arises, however, when thinking about whether or not to tell prospective employers about one’s epilepsy during the interview.It’s a tricky one.
On the one hand, we know that employers legally can’t let a disability such as epilepsy influence their hiring decisions. The only point they can consider is whether or not possible seizures will get in the way of performing assigned duties.
But it’s not a perfect world with managers and HR professionals bringing completely dispassionate thinking to the hiring pro…

Why I'm Going to Stop Apologizing for My Epilepsy

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I look up into all the faces – the concerned, the horrified, and the ones rushing to lift the stretcher. “I’m sorry,” I mumble.And then I lose consciousness again.
I’ve just had a tonic clonic seizure, and I’m embarrassed and overwhelmed by the fact that I’ve caused so much trouble.I know.I know.It’s not my fault that I have epilepsy, though the “I deserve its” of adolescence still creep in from time to time.Nonetheless, I feel I must apologize.
But what am I apologizing for?Is it that I have epilepsy or something else? Here’s where I squint, trying to find the source.My seizure definitely has been an inconvenience, both for others and me, and it’s scary, especially for those who don’t know I have epilepsy.I forgot to take my meds, which is what led to all of this trouble.I need to apologize for that, but I also should apologize for not having told some of the others that I have epilepsy and instructed them on how to deal with it.
Rationally, I’m clear on what should be the bases of t…

5 Ways to Make Med Toxicity a Memory

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By far, one of my greatest challenges is keeping my med toxicity at bay.I take varied doses four times a day, and the ones in the morning and evening are doozies.The one first thing in the a.m. (300 mg of carbamazepine and 200 mg of lamotrigine) is especially tough to tame, and it can literally leave me flat on my back for two to three hours.  Needless to say, excuses for being late to appointments in the morning can wear thin!
Over time, I’ve found five tactics to lessen the toxicity and keep me alert.They’re not rocket science, but maybe one or two of them will help you:
ØCaveat: I hope this goes without saying, but, on the off chance it isn’t obvious, make sure your doctor is bought into this idea before you do it.Do not do it on your own.If you haven’t evaluated your meds and/or titrated your doses with your doctor for a long time, it might be a good place to start.When I was pregnant and had gained serious weight, we had upped my daily doses pretty darn high.After having my son, o…

Guest Post by Shan O'Meara: Side Effects

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I had a tumultuous life throughout my time spent at George Mason University and after graduation in the spring of 1998. Since the early 90’s, my life became further complicated by epilepsy due to a traumatic brain injury (also called a TBI) I had at the age of 10 in 1983. Those of you who know anything about epilepsy, know that it makes life more than challenging.
Not only does one have to deal with the side effects of each medicine, but there are also side effects of  the epilepsy itself, and in my case, the traumatic brain injury, as well. I had to deal with depression coming from three different angles. I thought all these side effects were going to be with me for life. What a joy!
Further compounding the epilepsy were the side effects of the anti seizure drug (AED)  I was on. To name a few, they were, depression, weight gain, tremor, stuttering, and being in a constant haze. There are too many more to mention, so let’s stick with those five. All this changed about the time I turned …

Finding Meaning in Your Life -- Especially When You're Housebound

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This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from June 1 through June 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

A dear friend of mine whose daughter’s epilepsy first struck when she was 14 left me speechless. She told me that I, unknowingly, had saved her from hopelessness, simply by existing.I had meaning.She saw that I had a good life despite my condition and could envision a future for her daughter filled with happiness and achievement.(Flash forward: In college now, her child just got all As and is a varsity athlete.) Her daughter’s life has been affected, no doubt, but her epilepsy never stopped her.
She’s one of the lucky ones, though.Her epilepsy is controlled and she lives with relatively few barriers.With no choice but to stay at home, though, many with uncontrolled epilepsy can't work in traditional jobs and struggle to find meaning in their lives. But what is meaning?
Starting at the beginning, here's the definition according to T…