Good article on epilepsy in Newsweek
This is a pretty good overview of current research and treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy is such a complex and idiosyncratic condition that any overview will be thin, but this article covers a lot – advances in diagnosis, medication, surgery, lots of personal anecdotes.
I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1977, at age 25. I don’t have grand mal – blackout – seizures, but lose my speech and control of my limbs in a bad one. My seizures were pretty out of control from 1997-2003, until we found the right combination of anti-seizure meds.
I’ve spent weeks hooked up to EEGs and I’ve tried most of the meds listed in the article.
I haven’t had a big seizure in over 2 years but I live with brain damage caused by seizures during my 6 hellish years. I feel constant neuropathic pain and lost some cognitive skills: complexity, which I used to revel in, is now kryptonite to me. Having an intense brainstorming conversation, which I love to do, lights up my symptoms like a pinball machine.
Seizure medications have improved immensely in the last 30 years. My first longterm med was Phenobarbitol – it felt like living inside a baggy, muffling the world. My current meds, Keppra and Lamictal, are pretty gentle.
Six years ago when I was looking for a dog I saw an online post about an abandoned epileptic Husky. I drove over 1,000 miles to Saskatoon, Canada to adopt her. Mika’s seizures are spectacular but she hasn’t had one in years because I give her 4 pills of Phenobarbitol every day.
Back to rewriting Hel’s Bet, which I hope inspires people to figure out how brains work.