Tag Archives: epilepsy

organising under stress

Life can be stressful. But this week proved to be more stress that even I could have bargained for. 
Ive been manically organising and preparing for the fundraiser I am doing for Epilepsy Action. 
Its called Jo’s Epilepsy Awareness tea party. I am doing it as part of epilepsy actions tea break however I thought the idea of a coffee morning was too boring and while I was laying in my hospital bed in July thinking what I could do I came up with what ive ended up with!  

I am having craft stalls bric a brac and sales tables, tombola, glitter tattoos, name the bear, quiz, sweepstake, tea coffee refreshments and cake and live music. its all a lot to organise and plan. Despite it all being written on a piece of paper looking all neat and tidy with coloured pencils I have a conservatory full of untidy boxes, tables, epilepsy table, raffle prizes, tickets and all sorts of things i didn’t plan for!. 
Ive been working so so hard i’m exhausted which makes emotions run ragged and then the events that have happened this week were just enough to make the tears run. Anyway let me tell you about the fundraiser. 
My friends and family and neighbours have been amazing. They have been turning out their draws and cupboards to find things for me to sell and raffle and use that is why I  have boxes everywhere ! when we started mum said to me… we don’t have enough to sell ( id started collecting things and i knew we would have enough) however by the end of sorting through bags of stuff from my lovely neighbours we had plenty… in fact we had 2 tables, one book case and a clothes rail full of things to sell ! 

My other neighbour was doing the tombola and her mum the teas and coffees. My friend Sue from band was lovely enough to offer her glitter tattoo services and make all the willing crowds be glittered for the occasion ! i ended up having three myself ! 
Unfortunately my other friend couldnt make it as she was unwell.. that was one reason my emotions were high. Shes my best friend and i miss her loads. Get Well soon T XXX 

It was all worth it in the end though all the hard work, preparations and organising. We had crowds of people turn up despite the yucky weather and it was a happy day had by all. I was literally run ragged by the end of it feeling quite unwell but I enjoyed every minute.

I thank everyone who came and everyone who helped out. 


THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME RAISE MONEY AND AWARENESS FOR EPILEPSY 

The whole reason i started fundraising and raising awareness was I went to America in May – June 2009 and out there my life was totally different. Everyone knew what epilepsy was and how to deal with it. they all knew i wasn’t drunk or a lunatic and they helped instead of running away. 
This is what awareness can do. 

I want to keep raising awareness of epilepsy until everyone in England knows what it is. I want people not to be afraid of me if i fall. I will not stop raising awareness. I want to make a difference in the world of epilepsy awareness. I also want to help find a cure and to do that research they need money. This is why I’m fundraising Im fundraising for a cure. 

At the fundraiser there was also a epilepsy awareness stall. it had information, photos and info on from when i was in hospital. it had teddy bears with EEG wires and all sorts of info and leaflets for people to read, take and learn. 

I really hope that on Saturday I made a difference to a few people, the way they think of epilepsy and maybe taught people something. I hope i raised a little more awareness. I know I raised some more money for the cure…. so far we are nearly at £300  ! and im still counting. 


So was there anything I was disappointed about? just one.  The people who I support in whatever they do did not come. not even a sorry couldn’t make it on my FB page. Also my mums side of the family didn’t support, not one of them. it just shows that there is so much more work to do ! 

for now id like to just leave you with 2 words. 

Thank You !

Heartbeat

This is just a quick entry to explain what happened today and why I’ve not really spoken to anyone and said yeah drs fine, 1) because i’m too exhausted and 2) because I don’t know whats what yet. 


Well today after a night of head pain and added noise of a cold and windy night and out back gate banging in the wind and hence very little sleep I toke to a day at the dr.’s…. little did I know this at the time. The 1hour job ended up taking 4 hours! A lot of waiting was involved and Im now typing this after having a sleep and I still feel exhausted!
I left the house at 8:45 and managed to get my appointment with the dr, We just went over what had happened over the past couple of weeks and made some minor medication adjustments and then was sent for a ECG. Last time I had a ECG my heart rate was slow and as I am now on the new drug which can cause problems with the heart they are keeping and eye on it. I was really pleased when I asked the nurse from behind the curtain if my heart rate had gone up and she said yes… I thought this was going to be far better than my last appointment. How wrong could I be. 
I got dressed and the nurse said she would show the dr. Well it turns out there was something wrong with the ECG this time… I was ready for it though as Id been given a copy of the ECG which read “abnormal ECG”. I was tired, cold, my head and feet hurt and I was fed up with waiting ! 
An hour nearly passed in which time all things wonder through your head. Finally the nurse came back and blurted some stuff which I have no idea what it meant “A Junctional rhythm with non-specific ST and T wave abnormality – Abnormal ECG”which was pointed out to me on this paper followed by a the doctor wants you to book another ECG friday afternoon with an appointment to see her afterwards. Well i though i’d never get an appointment for that soon and for both at the same time… well actually I did which is unheard of at our surgery… normally I’ve been booking my ECG’s a week and a half beforehand. So mum was standing looking kinda freaked out… to be honest Im not overtly worried, Yes I’ve had some chest pain but this isn’t anything new from my last ECG and nothing bad has happened yet so why worry what a few lines on a bit of paper say!. Friday is just 2 days away so we will find out more then. For now i’m not thinking about it. 
Needless to say being at the dr’s for that long was exhausting, I’ve had a little sleep and now plan a long hot soak in the bath. 

Other than the escapades of today things have been slowing down a bit. The headaches are easing although still getting on average 3 attacks a day. Im now able to concentrate a bit more on the fundraiser and am making awareness ribbons and other things ready for 19th October. Its all quite exciting as i’ve never done anything this big and organised the lot before. Its going to be really good though and Im really hoping people turn up so we can raise lots! 

Well Friday I had my repeat ECG. It was a bit of a nightmare and I’m putting it down to being Friday 13th even though I’m not really supersticious. The surgery computers had crashed and that included 
the ECG machine. They finally got half of it up and running so I was able to have the test done. The dr came in while I was having it done as she wanted to see it. It turns out that the on previously had shown I had first degree heart block. The dr was hoping that the heart would recover and only do this occasionally and recover in between which it looks like it does. At least I know know why I get my chest pain every now and then however good news is that so far I can still stay on the pills but need close monitoring. 


Thursday Thought

I was really surprised this morning when I woke up to a link I was mentioned in on twitter. I am still relatively new to twitter and don’t know many people on there I don’t have many tweeters? or followers? It really is all a big adventure at the moment. Anyway I followed the link to find that what Myself and the lovely reporter were talking about last night was already done and live online! 

I had been asked to do the Thursday thought for the this is kent online column, Its part of the Herne bay, whitstable and faversham times newspaper group. I was really touched when Liz said my writing was good. I still find it hard to believe that anyone does read my blog. So this was very touching. 

Anyway the entry “stop and smell the roses” was used for this particular column. 

Its something that I think everyone will take something from wether you are a high flying businessman with no health problems or someone like me who doesn’t have their health and is struggling. This is an article I like because it gets over the point that we are all special. 

If you want to have a look at the column online please Click Here.

Also if you go on twitter, drop me a line. I dont bite and will talk to anyone if they want to talk about anything that my blog mentions. Whatever your situation, however bad you think things are… you are NOT alone. 



"Epilepsy never makes me shy away from life"

A few days ago I got contacted by a lovely lady called Liz. She is a reporter and done the previous articles on me  and my awareness videos and doing my abseil (if you’ve not read them they can be found by clicking here Abseil article and here Awareness video articles).

In our paper there is a section about people in the town. I always thought people in this section were prominent people of the town though now i have been asked i’m not so sure what their criteria is.
Anyway I was asked and I agreed. I got sent some questions and replied and this is the result.

Click here to read the article online

Planning a Fundraiser

While I lay awake with pain from the tip of my toes to my head after a severe seizure, what do you think I think about? how unfair life is? how I wish things were different? oh boy how depressed am I?

No … I think about what Im going to do next. I think about what I can do to make a difference. How can I raise more money for epilepsy action next. I think about events, ideas, purple things (the colour for epilepsy is purple). 
Well a couple of weeks ago I was doing just this. I had suffered 3 seizures that day and was laying in bed with a cat by my feet and I had a idea pop into my head. Id read the latest epilepsy action magazine which had a advert for the “epilepsy tea break” I decided I would do a fundraiser around this idea but expand it. I wasn’t content enough with just a plain ld coffee morning.. i needed something more, something that would need organisation and planning. A fundraiser was the perfect idea. 
I broached the subject to mum… knowing she hates events, crowds and anything that needs such organisation people I wasn’t expecting the positive reaction I got however that was it then… Note pad and pen out and I’d started planning. 

The plans  are still in the process of being organised but the event called:

“Jo’s Epilepsy Awareness Tea Party” 

will be taking place on Saturday 19th October 

between: 1pm – 5pm GMT

At: my house…. 4 Mill View Road, Herne, Herne Bay. CT6 7JE

Please come along 

There will be craft stalls including “dream a little dream”: by Lara Simpson
who makes stunning dream catchers 

Epilepsy awareness stall

Crafts by Claire 

Glitter Lining crafts 

Tombola

Refreshments and Cake 

Competitions 

A quiz

Glitter Tattoo’s 

Nail art 

and more. 


More details will be given in due course 

Epilepsy Today Issue 19, September 2013.

Today I became a published epilepsy advocate. After an interview I gave to epilepsy action they wrote an article and it is published in this months issue 



Epilepsy Today Magazine, Issue 19, September 2013, Page 20 & 21.


Holding my magazine ! 
I am so proud of myself for getting this far in the world of epilepsy awareness in 6 short months of actually speaking out about it. There is a lot further I want to go but for now I leave you with some happy images of me and my magazine article. 


FRONT COVER 



Page 20
                                        
Page 21 
                                       


Pushing boundaries

It was amazing to see my friends from Australia yesterday. I really enjoyed the catching up we did and it was lovely to see them well and hear all about their travels. However I am paying for having a good fun day yesterday. I didn’t go mad yesterday, I was really very slow in what I did as my head was still in quite alot of pain as were my joints. However I pushed a little and made it to talk and have a cuppa coffee. 
Despite this and being careful and mum doing the preparations and still taking my medication today I am in agony. The pain in my head is much worse, i ache from head to toe and Ive already had 2 seizures today and I think its pain induced. The cluster attacks are more than yesterday and the day before. Im really struggling. Im tired too as last night I was woken many times in pain. After taking my pain meds the sleep is not what I call real – its forced and drug induced and i can still feel the odd stabbing of pain despite being asleep. Its hard to describe.

However was it worth it? Yes. I cannot stay locked away in a darkened room all my life. If i have to live the next however many years of my life like this then Id rather push the boundaries every now and then to do something great than not.

Fun in my life seems to have a price. No matter if  it be having a seizure at the titanic ball or being in more pain than usual because I did more walking or more of whatever. The price is normally paid by mum moaning about how I shouldn’t have done (fill in the blank here) and me saying I would rather live my life and push the limits and pay the price than not have the life or experiences at all.

I think mum can see both sides of the story – or I hope she can. I hope she knows that I don’t do any of these things to annoy her or cause her trouble and Just because I do something she doesn’t agree with it doesn’t mean I think any less of her or do not love her. its not. It because i want to try to be “normal” (whatever that is). I want to live life rather than spend it locked away. 

I love mum dearly. 

You only get one chance at life though and I plan to live it to the fullest I can, and yes I will push the boundaries the next time I want to experience life. 

Don’t loose out on life, you only get one chance and it’s too short for if’s, but’s and maybe’s. 
go enjoy what life has to offer. 


Home at last.

We arrived home. that night pain levels were obviously still high. Higher i think as I’m sure the morphine i had was not as strong as the hospitals however i was home.. i was happier. 
In the end i think its things like comfort, family and friends that help the healing process. My friends are amazing – they come to my hospital bed and they come to my home but when I’m at home its so much nicer and for my friends who are far away I can FaceTime them at home and seeing them makes me happy. basically life was really bad but better at home.



The next morning I woke to severe pain. I had the morphine and we managed to see the GP. It was a real struggle to get up there but we needed to. The GP prescribed something called M.S.T and was told to take one straight away and then use the oramorph when the pain was really bad. 
I continued to do this for the next 24 hours – i began to itch though – it must be a side effect of the medicine. i managed to sleep again but it was restless sleep. 
I dont know if anyone else has felt like this but i was asleep yet i could still feel the pain – i tried to wake up but couldn’t. i call this Kruger sleep cos its a nightmare ! 

The next few days this all continued – with one change of the GP swapping the MST and oramorph for oxycontin and oxynorm. 
This wasn’t a good change though. The new meds made me feel terrible ill and sick and we had to get the GP to come out again –  gave me an injection and we went back to just the oramorph as the other meds were not agreeing with me. Shame as the pain had been less on the oxynorm. 

The next few days I slept on and off – my oxygen levels occasionally dropping and me still having seizures almost every day on top of this. 


Hospital hell.


Well Ive not blogged in a couple of weeks because Ive been in and out of hospital. It has not been a nice few weeks either… not that any time in hospital is nice but this couple of weeks experience has been exceedingly bad. Ive had everything from poor care to route staff and being discharged from hospital in severe (and i mean severe climbing walls pain!). Thats where I am at the moment. 


It all started Tuesday 29th July. I had a really bad day trying to keep my headache pain down, I had taken several doses of oramorph and had been on the oxygen a lot. It was helping to keep the pain down but the pain was not cope’able.  I finally managed to go to sleep in the late evening. I was so tired because pain is so draining. Id also had many seizures that day which in themselves are draining to a great degree. The next day (30th July) I woke with the pain again, Struggling through with the oramorph, oxygen and still having seizures I couldn’t go on any longer. The seizures got worse and mum called the ambulance. I was given morphine through a cannula in my hand and taken to hospital. By now the hour was late and we were into Thursday morning. 
The pain started to build up again, all i had done was move a couple of steps!. I was given more morphine through my drip. A nice Dr also managed to get blood from my other hand…. so this point I had 2 needles in ! 



I stayed in the CDU for a few hours where I was given drips to keep my blood pressure up and medication for the seizures and pain through the drip too. 
After I was moved to treble ward (the neurology ward). I was put in a side room and given oramorph when the pain was bad. However things were not all that easy. It was really difficult because the nurses were not all nice and happy and easy going.  The pain relief was also slow… Id have to wait up to half an hour in screaming pain before the nurse finally administered pain relief. It was hard. 
Friday the neuro team came and I was prescribes codeine. Varapamil (a strong heart drug that is supoes to help cluster headaches too) was discussed and prescribed. I was also put on the video telemetry for a few hours to see if they could see if the seizures came from a different area when I was in pain to not in pain…. I never did hear the result of that. 



The Next day the weekend dr came and he was lovely (really explained things and took his time to help). He prescribes Naproxin to try and sumatriptain. Id tried sumatriptain before and I wasn’t really happy about trying it again as It sent me into seizures but with the pain this bad I was out to try anything and everything. 
The naproxin was taking too long to kick in – i was spending up to one hour in severe pain before it would help by which time id either had to have oramorph or had started having seizures. 
Later the Dr came back and suggested I try a sumatriptain injection. I agreed. The nurse hadn’t done one of these injections before (i had) so I let her do it as I talked her through the self injecting gadget ! The drug kicked in pretty fast as I get a tingling sensation all over my head and my arms felt heavy…. But then it all went black as the seizures started. The drug made me feel very very ill. It was the exact same effect it had taken on me almost 10 months ago. The next day I just went from one attack to another. I was weak, not eating and very down. Pain is exhausting. 
Dr Wan had written on my notes that if i was having a bad attack oxygen was to be given and then Naproxin within 15 minutes then or if longer than 15 minutes…. Morphine was to be given. 3am in the morning and the nurse took such a long time (45minutes ) in administering the naproxin it had gone beyond that stage and I needed oramorph.  
I was in agony, I got angry that it was taking such a long time to get any pain relief and i demanded to see dr wan (who had said to call on him any time while he was on duty. The  nurse refused to call the dr and insisted on the night manager who never did come until 4am when the nurse did call Dr wan and he happily came. 
Naproxin was withdrawn as the benefits we nil because it didn’t kick in soon enough. Oxygen and morphine was all that was left. My notes now said oxygen for 15 minutes then if ineffective morphine to be given immediately. This way i was only enduring 30 minutes of pain rather than over 1 and a half hours. 


The next day i encountered a serious bad judgement of the staff of me and my condition. I suffered a cluster attack so grabbed the oxygen mask and started using the oxygen as dr wan had told me to. within 5 minutes the sister of the ward (who i had not even been introduced to) came into the room and told me to get off the oxygen. Shouting that its toxic and i shouldn’t be having oxygen. Not what you want to hear when your in screaming agony and doing exactly what the dr had told you too. I told the sister the treatment plan but it did not stop her. I was in tears as the pain was so bad and the situation was not good. Thank god for mum being with me. I love her to bits. 
The dr came at lunchtime and things were discussed. He admitted the treatments were trial and error due to the two conditions clashing. we were willing to go along with the plan  – we needed help.
Since being in hospital sleeping and rest was a big problem, i was getting very little and was exhausted. the noise levels we really high and 2 nights running a screaming patient had been put into the room next to me. 

One night I had a sudden pain in my chest. It was sharp and crushing. The nurse done my observations my oxygen level was 82%. My blood pressure 154/78 ! this for me was not normal yet they didn’t seem bothered. Mum and I were both concerned as i was on Verapamil (for my clusterheadaches yet was a heart drug). She did a ECG and sent for the on call dr to see. The dr then came up and suspected something called costrocondraditis – confirmed by an xray that i was sent for later that night. 
When I came back from xray the nurse was asked by the dr to take bloods. When the nurse came she looked at my arms. I asked her to go in the back of my hand as my veins in my arms were sore and rarely if at all in the past 4 years have managed to give blood. She refused and went in my arm. She kept prodding the needle in and out (it was extremely painful), still not able to get blood she kept trying… it had been over 10 minutes and i asked her to remove the needle – she refused. I was in too much pain asked a further 3 times and finally she did. I said try the back of my hand cos people can get blood from there…. the nurse threw the needle into the bowl and stormed out…. I never did get my blood test. 

The next day I had, had enough. I wanted to go home – i was exhausted , no sleep and staff being less than caring was not helping my situation. 
I have oxygen and morphine at home and could do the same care there and have sleep. we spoke to the dr who obviously didn’t want me to leave but understood it was the only way for me to rest.

I self discharged and came home – i felt like i could sleep for a week.
the dr had told me the treatment plan so i could continue that at home.