Mercury is Retrograding

It has just been one of those couple of weeks… The stress level is high. Communication has been on the fritz. Every time Mohawk and I speak it ends with one of us wishing the other had no vocal chords.

Then it all came to a crescendo last night. That was it. I had to look it up. And the answer was YES. yes this insane year is ending, quite literally, with Mercury in Retrograde. Poor 2016, it is like the ugly stepchild. 

Anyhow, I digress. Last night, we realized that we had no idea where Dave’s cell phone was, so we turned the entire house upside down searching, to NO avail. It is still MIA.

But in the fruitless search, more technology disaster struck…

I was getting ready to move the couch, when I felt and heard the ominous, unmistakable crunch of an LED screen. Yep, my Chromebook had ended up underfoot in the turning over of the living room. 

I would have taken photos, but my heart was just as crushed. So I did what any angry person on Keppra does, and used it as an excuse to toss it across the room. What? It was already a goner, might as well satisfy a bit of the angst. 

So, we march forward through the bitter cold, final hours of 2016, without a computer, and one less cell phone in tow. Mercury will grade, or whatever it is it does…and 2017 will begin. And in all likelihood a phone will mysteriously reappear. But this is certainly a year for the books!

Getting Ready

Here we go! Just a few days away from a new beginning. I know, I know, we don’t actually have to wait for the first of the year to set intentions, or roll out some goals and take action. And believe me, we don’t. But this year in particular, it is just going to be so symbolic and meaningful to begin the New Year.

2016 has been rough. We’ve lost some of the people closest to us. My mom, Dave’s best friend, and so very many more. It is going to be nice to have  a clean slate and move forward into this new year with their love and support behind us. We know they would want that for us.

The thing that I’ve realized about 2016 is that, while it has been sad and difficult to get through, it has been all about making room. Sometimes in order for change to happen, or for new flowers to bloom, you have to have an overhaul. You have to till the soil and start fresh if you want your new crops to be abundant. In order to ensure the access to water, air and nutrients as needed, it is important to till the soil every few years. So 2016 has been a tilling year. And we are the soil. It doesn’t feel fantastic, and it has required a great amount of strength and growth for us to adjust to new changes and the lack of so many wonderful people, but sometimes you must make room.

Sometimes, in order for a new light to shine, an old, bright light must dim. 2017 will be a year when many new people get to shine and light the way for the world. They will follow in the footsteps of the many wonderful people the world lost this year. They will pick up the torch and carry on. They will have the tools necessary, and they will shine.

Shine on you crazy diamond. Shine on.

Adjustments

December 1, 2016. My first birthday without my mom, my first seizure. I was at a restaurant with my dad, getting ready to head to a special viewing of a movie. The last thing I remember was him pulling out his credit card. Apparently I continued to talk after that, until I was on the floor.

Eventually, 911 was called, and a woman who was a nurse came and walked my dad through what was happening. I came to in the ambulance. Confused, I told the EMT I thought it was 2009. Perhaps that is because I suspected I was in the ambulance with my mom. I don’t know. But either way, the confusion took about a good 30 minutes to an hour to really wear off.

They took me in for a CAT scan, and sent me on my way. Confused, tired, and very sore. I was aware that I had a grand mal seizure, lasting approximately 4-5 minutes. Luckily, I didn’t urinate, or bite my tongue, or severely injure my head when I fell. The soreness lasted about 2 days. The day after I was weak, and so sore I could barely walk. My jaw… well that is still sore, two weeks later.

That seizure, in my mind, was brought on by lack of sleep and nothing else. I had woke up at 3 am that day, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I then went to work in the morning, traveled three hours to get to my dad, and went out to dinner. The week before I had gotten many lousy nights of sleep, so I was really exhausted.

When I got home I found myself a primary care physician, who referred me for an MRI and to a neurologist. She also prescribed me Ativan. She said she was giving it to me for anxiety, but I am curious if her real reasoning was she thought my seizure was related to alcohol withdrawal. That is how the neurologist treated it as well. Nobody else seemed to believe that it was going to end with a diagnosis of epilepsy.

I, on the other hand, knew that it would. My grandfather was an epileptic. I had never considered this a genetic disorder, nor concerned myself with the possibility that I might have it. But sure enough, my grandfather’s first seizure was when he was 28; mine was on my 29th birthday.

My MRI came back completely clear. But then the EEG results came in. Clear, unmistakably, Left Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Immediately, my neurologist prescribed me 500 mg of Keppra, twice a day. I was disheartened, to say the least. My doctor seemed, well, surprised. I was not. Disappointed, sure, but from the moment I heard I had a seizure, I knew what it was.

So, here come the adjustments… Keppra. This medication is supposedly the least offensive of all of the AED’s (antiepileptic drugs). It isn’t safe for women to take if they are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. So I guess that is something I won’t be worrying about for a while. It wasn’t really on the agenda anyhow, but it stings to hear that it will be complicated if it ever does become something we can afford, or desire.

But the massive, huge, glaring side effect of Keppra is the “Keppra rage.” It is so common it has a nickname. And there are streams of conversations about it online. At first, my reaction to the Keppra was a giddy feeling. I’d have fits of giggles and feel very floaty and tired. But then, on day 4 of this medication, I fell into a funk. A Massive Black Hole Funk. I was irritable, depressed, angry, frustrated, and every little thing made me feel like I needed to punch someone.

Today is much better. But I didn’t do anything differently, or significantly. So I’m not sure if I’m just in for a roller coaster, or if there is something that seems insignificant that made a big difference? Or, will it just settle down? Some people say after about a month, the side effects mellow out and you’ll be okay… Some people don’t ever get used to it and just suffer with the rage, or have their doctor change their medication.

Today is day 5. All I can tell you is that I will certainly keep an eye on it, track how I’m doing day to day, and see about what I can do to ease things. It doesn’t help that there are a few major issues I have to tackle this month. My stress levels are through the roof… there will be a lot of playing of mantras in my brain.

I have to say, I’m so grateful to have a partner that is sticking with me through it all, and trying his best to remember that I may not be in control of my moods at all time (talk about frustrating to be around!)

Changes

We’ve been away again… we’re sorry! We miss writing for you all and staying connected, but lives have been busy, and we’ve been going through so many changes.

A new school year to say the least, has required a lot of adaptation! Early alarms buzzing, trying to balance working out and eating right (still haven’t gotten the workouts down yet!), and being present in our personal lives. Despite the fact that teaching middle school is a very natural fit for me, it is definitely a new beginning, which means a lot of learning!

We’re also just adjusting to life in a small town – it is so different living in a rural area, when both of of us have spent our entire lives living in the urban hubs of the Bay Area. When we first got here in April it wasn’t so obvious because we spent most of our time on Dave’s family’s land and exploring the natural wonders we are so lucky to live near. But now, we are integrated into the community, and it definitely comes with its own personality! I don’t think we’d ever go back, small town life is for us!

Adjusting to grief in its many forms has also been consuming. Time has definitely eased the pain, though everyday brings its own feelings and its own challenges. While time eases certain feelings, it also seems to dig a little deeper into my psyche in certain respects.

To further add to the many changes we have gone through, I’m currently dealing with a new medical venture. On my 29th birthday I experience my first grand mal seizure. I want to share this new adventure with you. It isn’t fun. It certainly was NOT how I planned to spend my birthday… but I think there are important stories to share in this. Perhaps lessons I can share, so you don’t have to learn the hard way. So stay posted – I’ll be sharing my journey through doctors visits, medical tests, and life after a seizure, soon!

Much love to our dear community. Thanks for all of your support in our ever changing ventures!