by Lee Outlaw, PhD
It’s been quite a while, since I’ve wrote anything concerning epilepsy, but considering the fact that my own journey with epilepsy delayed my writing and brought me to this point, I felt the need to share this fact with you.
On December 26th, 2018, I was riding in the car with my daughter driving (thank God) on our way to have lunch with my wife but less than 10 blocks from our home, I had a grand maul seizure. My son was in the back seat and called for the paramedics. Neither of my 2 children accompanying me had ever witnessed me having a major seizure and was frightened terribly. When the paramedics got me to the hospital, the ER doctor had difficulty waking me up. When I finally woke up, they performed a CAT scan and found me normal but when I was returned to my room, I had a second seizure and the doctors were considering inducing a coma; thank God they did not. They simply put me on two additional anti-seizure meds and released me 24 hours later and told to see my neurologist ASAP; which I did.
Epilepsy not only causes seizures but can cause drastic changes in a person’s life; for those of us that have had this dreaded condition since birth.
I have experienced physically the most changes ever since that dreadful day in 2018: my family will no longer let me drive(although I am legal to do so), or leave me at home alone, I was left with difficulty in using my left leg (although I can walk but often with the assistance of a cane),I must wear light weight shoes, I have lost some strength in my left arm and hand and I was also left partially incontinent and if that wasn’t bad enough, I can now easily experience photo sensitive seizures from prolonged use of artificial light, and using the computer or watching TV without the use of anti-blue light glasses.
I hope this explains a bit more why I have written articles in a while.
This article came about by accident as a reader sent in a comment about an article I wrote over a year ago; and not really about mental health but rather a neurological condition, namely, epilepsy which I have lived with since birth and mostly without medication.
Mind you I know the stigma. My grandfather suffered, with this dreaded condition; while running a farm and being the father to eight children.
None of my aunts or uncles would discuss it and tried to hide it from me. My father was told I needed help from a neurologist when I was a child. He refused to do so and told me just before he passed that he refused to let our family doctor label me as “crazy”. That was the “stigma” associated with epilepsy during the “50’s and 60’s”. If you had epilepsy; you were “crazy” at the least and “demon possessed” at best. Either way, parents of such children were seen as the problem and not the child themselves. Parents were concerned about their social status in their church, their business, their lodges or clubs.
Those such as my father were afraid that people might think there was some sordid deed in his past life before he became a Christian that God was holding him accountable through his son. Fortunately that is not how God works. Jesus came to Earth to forgive human beings of their sin and to heal people spiritually and physically.
There are those that want to make epilepsy or any discussion of such as something which must be discussed from within the social, medical and political correct verb age of the day; In other words if you and your Neurologist have always referred to you as “epileptic”, yet suddenly one day, one of the many Epilepsy Foundations ( last I read there were 2 major foundations and at least 32 regional foundations in Texas alone) decides that particular term is offensive and you now have to refer to yourself as a person with epilepsy rather than an epileptic; it does nothing to help the person or treat the condition. In fact, changing the verb age actually damages our ability to get proper treatment, financial assistance and even the correct medication for your type of epilepsy.
Epilepsy has over the past several decades has experienced many changes in doctors moving from epilepsy specialist to Epileptologist that treat only epilepsy, dozens of new time released medications, DNA testing, new surgical procedures and much more on the way.
If we start moving the goal post of verbal discussion, it will simply preclude treatment for those that need our help.
I apologize to anyone I might have offended by referring to myself as an epileptic. I do have EPILEPSY and I don’t mind being referred to as an “Epileptic”. In my opinion, it makes no difference how you identify yourself, just be sure to get regular neuro checks, take your meds on time and get at least 8 hours sleep nightly.
I hope this will explain and clarify my stance on Epilepsy.
BTW, I do NOT receive any financial remuneration from Big Pharma but I do accept private donations via Pay Pal of any amount via Dr. Lee Outlaw Drtruthman@live.com
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This article will be moved to “Epilepsy in Plain Sight” in two weeks in order to conserve space.