As instructed to Nicole Audrey Spector
November is Nationwide Epilepsy Consciousness Month.
It occurred whereas I used to be sleeping. I woke as much as my then-husband, Duane, sobbing over me in mattress. I snapped again into consciousness.
“What are you doing, crying?” I requested.
Duane was not one to interrupt down in tears.
“You had been having a seizure!” he cried.
I bolted up in terror — not a lot for me, however for my child. I used to be 20 weeks pregnant with my second little one.
Instantly, I known as my OB-GYN, who match me in for an appointment in just a few days.
I went again to sleep and had one other (presumably grand mal) seizure later that evening. Then I began having little episodes in the course of the day the place I’d fully clean on the place I used to be and what I used to be doing.
My OB-GYN didn’t have any solutions about my seizures or no matter else was happening in my mind — in actual fact, she didn’t appear notably interested by what was the reason for them.
She was largely involved with how the newborn was doing. She checked for a heartbeat, which was sturdy, instructed me I had epilepsy and prescribed anti-seizure treatment for me — and that was that.
The anti-seizure treatment labored for some time. However quickly the seizures returned. I used to be a stay-at-home mother and had all the time devoted myself to caring for my son. However now I wanted my very own caregiver as a result of I used to be having a number of seizures a day. Duane wasn’t in a position — and even really prepared — to deal with the job, so I went to stick with my mom, who works within the medical subject and has all the time been a strongly advocate for me.
My mother took me to see an OB-GYN who specialised in high-risk pregnancies.
Once we had been there, she revealed completely surprising info to the physician: I’d had a seizure throughout a fever as a baby.
This was information to me! Did this imply I’d all the time had epilepsy? Finally I’d be taught that it in all probability did.
However on that day there have been extra pressing worries. The OB-GYN found that I used to be heading towards early labor. As she defined it, everytime I had a seizure, my physique skilled contractions and I received nearer and nearer to delivering my child.
I used to be already 3 centimeters dilated.
My physician ordered strict mattress relaxation — so strict that I couldn’t do it at dwelling. She had me admitted to the hospital, the place I remained for 3 and a half excruciatingly lengthy months, unable to do something by or for myself.
The worst half was that one of many many medical doctors who floated in my room sooner or later instructed me that it wasn’t the newborn they had been attempting to avoid wasting. It was me.
“The newborn received’t make it,” the physician mentioned in a medical, indifferent tone. “She can be stillborn.”
I used to be devastated.
It was robust for me to get by throughout these bedridden months. The gloom and disappointment was as thick as smog. To push via it, I relied on the love for my son, my relationship with God, and making artwork, which is my career. I’m legally blind and drawing and portray have lengthy been a approach for me to seize the visible fantastic thing about the world round me — even when I can’t all the time see it.
Stephanie Gowdy with certainly one of her work.
One of many solely issues I used to be capable of do within the hospital was draw. So I sketched portraits of my buddies utilizing photos on social media.
Once I was 38 weeks pregnant, I used to be induced into labor — and lo and behold, my daughter got here out alive and completely wholesome. It was a miracle.
However I used to be removed from out of the woods.
The seizures got here again after a number of months, and I’ve not been capable of hold them at bay with any treatment, regardless of how excessive the dose.
I discovered that I’ve been experiencing epilepsy auras, a kind of seizure, all my life. And I nonetheless have them.
For me, an epilepsy aura is sort of a very unhealthy, ominous feeling that takes root within the pit of my abdomen after which branches out over my complete being. It could occur wherever and at any time, however the violent episodes — the grand mal seizures — nonetheless happen at evening, sometimes when I’m already asleep.
Stephanie Gowdy and her youngsters, March 2022 (Photograph/Sonia Rodney)
It’s been six years since my daughter was born, and my epilepsy stays a drive to be reckoned with. I additionally get horrendous migraine assaults that final weeks at a time. I’m unable to get off the bed on some days. My reminiscence is fuzzy — a lot in order that my son has to ask his academics to write down down any messages for me.
“In any other case Mommy will overlook,” he says.
Quite a few medical doctors have instructed me that they simply don’t know what’s unsuitable with me — that there’s nothing they’ll do. That, roughly, I’m alone.
There’s no approach to sugarcoat it: My journey with epilepsy has been hellish. And but it’s not ever with out hope — not even for a second.
I not solely passionately imagine I’ll discover solutions as I proceed to demand them, however that I’m going via all this for a motive that’s larger than me.
There has already been one silver lining due to my epilepsy: Duane and I divorced. That sounds unhappy, however belief me, it’s a blessing. Had I not gotten sick, we’d not have ever realized that we had been incompatible.
And I by no means cease looking for solutions. I advocate tirelessly for myself, as do my mom and my buddies. I do know that if I don’t uncover a remedy for my epilepsy, I’ll discover a therapy that retains it below management.
Regardless of the overwhelming ache and fatigue, artwork flows out from my arms, filling up pages and pages. I could also be unable to completely see, however my creative imaginative and prescient is targeted. I’ll tremble and ache from the seizures, however my hand is regular.
And I’m assured that sooner or later, I can be properly.
Our Actual Ladies, Actual Tales are the genuine experiences of real-life girls. The views, opinions and experiences shared in these tales aren’t endorsed by HealthyWomen and don’t essentially mirror the official coverage or place of HealthyWomen.
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