When I was 16, I woke up one morning at the hospital. The rush of cold air when the ambulances’ back door opened made me “come to” and I remember sitting up on the gurney and needing to throw up. The paramedic gave me some sort of tray and the whole arrival emergency crew at the hospital had a front row view of my vomit. I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I was in my pyjamas with no bra or underwear. I didn’t care that my makeup from the day before was most likely smudged all over my face, with the worst bed head possible. I didn’t know at the time, but if I had realized, I wouldn’t have cared that I had wet myself. All I knew, was that I had an INCREDIBLE headache, every muscle in my body hurt, even ones I didn’t know I had at the time were sore, and that I was exhausted. I just wanted to sleep. Forever if possible.
There was a huge bustle around me and multiple doctors kept coming and going from my room. I’m sure lots of tests and procedures were preformed, but I hardly remember any of them. At this point I still didn’t even know what happened to me, I was just trying to sleep.
My mom was at the hospital with me and I was discharged the same day I came in. We drove home and I slept straight through until the next day, when I finally felt a little more like myself. That’s when my family explained what had happened to me, at least as best as they could since the doctors had sent us home with little answers.
N had woken up to get ready for school and since I had my Biology diploma that day, she knew I wouldn’t be up at the same time. While she was brushing her teeth, she heard some strange noises coming from my room, and came to check. That’s when my 12 year old sister walked in on me having my first (that I know of) Grand Mal seizure. She freaked out (rightfully so) and ran to get my mom who was still asleep. Once my mom came down and saw me, she had an idea of what to do, since she has some experience working with special needs children who would often seize. She turned me on my side (so I didn’t swallow my tongue, which wasn’t as issue since it was clamped firmly between my teeth) and 911 was called.
Apparently the firefighters were the first to arrive a couple minutes later and according to my mother (who I assume is exaggerating) it took 5, VERY hot firefighters to hold me somewhat still and inject an anticonvulsants to try to control the seizure, which at this point had been going on for at least 15 minutes, plus however long before N heard me. Once the “very hot” firefighters got the seizure under control, the ambulance arrived and I was taken to the hospital.
My only memory of this whole thing? Going to sleep after reviewing for my diploma, and then puking when we arrived at the hospital. Followed by two days of a liquid diet because I had chewed up my tongue so badly, and a week of such stiff muscles. I felt like I was gonna be buff just from that one seizure lol.
Then my life consisted of doctor after doctor after doctor. Test after test. Years of this, each one saying the same thing… We don’t know what caused your seizures, we can only attempt to control them. In the meantime, I’m continuing to seize, while the doctors try this medication and that medication. But of course there’s different side effects to each one. Sure, this one was depression, this one was something else, then, as my luck would have it, the medication that works the best? Weight gain. Story of my life hey lol. Weight gain as well as trouble perspiring. What even? Something about the sweat glands being affected, I dunno I wasn’t paying attention all the time. Either way, now we’ve found a pill that will slow down the seizures, at the cost of my weight. Which I learned to be ok with, because hey, seizures kill and I’m lucky to be alive right. Besides, I can always work out and keep the weight off.
Wrong. Working out was ridiculous. I could hardly do anything I used to because I would overheat in 2 minutes. My body doesn’t sweat because of the medication now so I can’t cool down and every time I tried working out, I almost passed out instead. So, like I said, I’ve learned to be ok with my weight, because the alternative could be my life.
My mom tried so many other things to try to “cure” my epilepsy. I’ve done the chiropractor, acupuncture, some colonoscopy (no idea how that was supposed to help but my mom was trying) a naturopath, both in my city and the next one over in case he was better. We started going on a road trip once a month to the naturopath and my parents spent so much time and money on trying to solve my “medical mystery” but the biggest investment came when my mom found a specialist in the states she wanted me to try.
At this point I’m almost 20, living on my own, and my mom is still trying to make this go away. She found some clinic in Wisconsin or something like that, that had a new trial they were doing, and she thought it had potential. So she asked if I would fly to Chicago with her to try it out. I figured that, at this point, I would give it a shot, but I told my mom it would be the last experiment I would try in regards to my epilepsy. I had it reasonably under control with my meds and didn’t want it to consume my life by way of always trying to fix it. The meds for me, were solution enough, and I’d learned to live with it at this point.
My mom thought that was a fair deal, and booked our mom/daughter trip to Chicago.
Oh the Windy City. We were literally only there for 3 days. Most of which were spent in Milwaukee or something close by. But after all the test were done at the hospital, we did manage to go to the Blue Man group and the Chicago Art Institute (remember this trip was planned by my mom) . Which I’ll always remember, because I saw some real life paintings that I had been studying in University and I felt real posh being able to recognize them 😂. But, the end result of our trip, were just the memories. Because the doctors there, just like in Canada, were unable to figure out my issue.
Maybe my mind is just too advanced for modern technology lol. Or maybe I’m just built wrong. Either way, I never ended up having to write my Biology diploma, so that’s one good thing I can take from all this!Although, I’m pretty sure I would’ve aced it.
Since then I’ve done more research and studies on my own. Trying to figure out my own solution to a problem I’ve had for over a dozen years.
I’m sure you will all have your own opinions on this and I expect nothing less, but I’m going to share anyways.
I’ve been fairly interested in the whole field of medical marijuana for about 2-3 years now. I had never tried smoking/eating/vaping weed/shatter/oil in any form before, because I never felt any need. I could easily turn it down at any event. Same reason that I don’t drink much. I just don’t feel the desire to. But after reading through many studies about the benefits (and some about the harm) of marijuana for medical purposes, especially for people with epilepsy, I decided to try it out.
Looking back, I probably should’ve gone through a doctor first hand, instead of how I did it. But the end result would have been the same. I asked a friend that I knew smoked fairly often if I could have some from them. Mainly because I wasn’t sure how to bring it up in casual conversation with an actual doctor. The friend was shocked I’d never done it before and took the time to explain a few of the basic details to me, before handing some over.
I did the responsible thing and waited until my kids were at my parents for the night, and then carefully followed the ‘instructions’ I had received, and for the first time in a dozen years, I went to bed without a headache, and woke up actually feeling refreshed.
It’s hard to explain when I’d been living so long with a headache that was about a 6/10, it had become my new normal. I had no longer realized that I ALWAYS had a headache, until that night after smoking my first joint ever and the headache went away, that it was possible to live a better standard of life. That I didn’t have to suffer EVERY DAY any more.
It was an eye opener for sure.
I didn’t take part again right away, and slowly my headache returned, so one night I finished the joint I had been given and again woke up feeling amazing. Then I knew that there was definitely something to this marijuana as far as medical purposes.
Since this literal life changing discovery of mine (for me at least) I’ve made some adjustments to how I “medicate.” I’ve been working with Dr. K to get an actual prescription for myself, as well as moved more exclusively towards edibles to avoid the harm (and smell) that smoking it can cause.
But man, just knowing that I have not had a single headache (or seizure) since starting, is actually unbelievable for myself. I’m smiling as I write at the relief of it all.