Tag Archive | epilepsy

Furry Friends – Names From the Heart

Best Friends. Yes, your best, truest friend is your pet. For me it has been dogs.

When I was 3 – 4 Mom talked Dad in to getting a dog and somehow that poor dog was named Princess. Princess was a Spitz (back then not a recognized AKC breed – now they’re know as American Eskimo Dogs), and was – so the story goes – meant for me. Well, Princess had other ideas. She decided that her main “love” was my little brother. She would wiggle her way in to his playpen just to be with him. When it was his nap time, Mom had to pick up BOTH of them. Princess insisted that she couldn’t get out.

Our next dog was a Doberman/Lab mix. It was decided that her name should be peace – in some language – because it was felt that she would take a piece out of someone while defending us. So, she was named Pax. Pax was Mom’s dog, well mostly anyway. Yes, there was a time that if she could have gotten to the intruder she would have gotten a piece!

My next dog was while my husband and I were living in Colorado. A co-worker’s ex-husband brought two male Samoyed puppies for his daughters (and to make life hard for her). Well, since they couldn’t keep them I was asked if I would want one of them. Fortunately we got first choice and picked the puppy that came to us. He was adorable. I insisted that he should be named Sam. Of course my husband said but everyone names Samoyeds SAM. I didn’t care, that was his name and he liked it. Sam was a smart, tough guy. He went to work with Kim and always listened to both of us, and he was very lovable. It turned out (after about six months) that both of the puppies had been stolen. According to Colorado law, we could have kept Sam, it broke my heart but, we decided to return him to his rightful owners. It turned out his registered name (yes, he was a purebred) was Sam Spade.

Kim-96It took years for us to get our next dog, most apartments don’t allow them. But when we got our house (in 1996), we got a dog. One of my husband’s co-workers had a dog who had just had a litter of puppies. Shepherd/Lab mix. The puppy that walked up to him was mostly black with a bit of white on her chest. It took a bit of thinking, but it hit me – Kodi! Like a Kodiak bear (because at the time – 2am – I honestly thought that bear was black with white markings on the chest). Well, she seemed to like that name. Kodi also had epilepsy. She would come to me when she had seizures. She would get in the way to be there for me when I had seizures. Oh, in the way meant that it was hard for Kim to get to me so he could be there thru my seizure then get me to bed. Fortunately all the neighbors loved her – no fenced yard so she roamed a bit. When she died Kim dug a deep enough grave for her so that she wouldn’t be disturbed. She rests with her favorite blanket and toy. Yes, I still get teary eyed when I think of her.

Now it seems that every other dog is solid white with the other two being black/brown/white mixes. So, does that mean our next dog will be white? Who knows.

As of this writing one of our nieces has a new puppy and is trying to decide on his name. I told her it would come to her and that it would come from the heart – I know that’s how it worked for at least three of my dogs!

We haven’t gotten another dog yet, I guess we’ll know when “our” dog will come. Just wish it will hurry up and get here!

Finding the Positive in My Experiences

There are times in a person’s life when they’re just not sure of themselves. You know, sometimes not comfortable being in their own skin. I was told/taught at an early age (three) that I’m not pretty; Mom wasn’t sure how to make sure I wouldn’t grow up to be vain. But that slap across the face and telling me that I wasn’t pretty took care of that concern. Mom wasn’t sure how to reverse that teaching (that’s what Dad told me after Mom died). So, over the years I had a lousy self-image and low self-esteem.

I’ve gotten better.

Then I became a person with a chronic condition (I’m not nearly as bad as others) and I didn’t want to admit I have epilepsy. I rationalized that I perhaps had a mild seizure disorder that wasn’t serious and would go away. I mean when you have one seizure, then a couple of years would go by… of course I wouldn’t (willingly) believe that I have epilepsy.

This morning I was thinking about how special today is; you see 32 years ago today (Valentine’s Day) was the first time my husband said “I love you.” I remember this because I had tried to say it the night before. He gently put his hand over my mouth and wouldn’t let me say anything. Well, that hurt. But in the morning he fixed me breakfast and said those three wonderful words. Then the silliest thing, we went to the store, looked at Valentine’s cards handed one to each other (the one we would have bought) and hugged and kissed in the store. Silly yes, but definitely a memory that has stayed with me all these years.

You see with my seizures I have gotten to a point where there are a lot of things in my life I’ve seem to have forgotten.

So, while I was reminiscing about 32 years ago, I was going thru some cards and letters I’ve kept over the years. I have the first letter he wrote me – he went out of state for work. It took him a while because he’s not the greatest at writing, but he wrote me. Don’t misinterpret, we talked every other day. As I got further into the stack of cards I found the cards from co-workers from my days at HDS (that job that I would still be working at today if they hadn’t merged, or at least I like to think so). I was in the first group to be laid-off, we had a farewell celebration. One of those “goodbye, we’ll miss you we wish you (those of us leaving) the best of luck.” I still have the gifts I was given and the cards. I was reading the cards. I truly liked working with all my former co-workers, I still like them and miss them, but you know with that self-esteem thing I didn’t really think they liked me all that well. I had always thought they simply tolerated me.

As I sit here thinking of all that’s happened since 2005, I think that perhaps being forced to go to the higher stressed job was a good thing. Because you see that job, was where I had my record amount of seizures – even two in one day. That job is where the co-workers were afraid of me, my seizures, so they did their best to drive me away and forced my leave of absence. If I hadn’t gone thru all the massive stress of that job I truly believe that I would not have had all of those seizures. I wouldn’t have had the tests (including surgical test) I did in 2007. I believe that I wouldn’t be seizure-free since August 2007.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will always miss working at HDS. I do miss all my co-workers (I do still keep in touch with some, even if it is only via facebook and we have gotten together for dinner). But I do know that re-reading those cards, does remind me that I have made a positive impact in my life. They tell me that yes; I am a good person, that people found a positive value in me and truly wished me well. While yes, I need to know that for myself (I’m still learning), it is good to know that others have felt that way about me.

The Little Things That Make You Happy

Those of us with medical conditions (of various types), whether it’s serious allergies to medications like penicillin or those with heart conditions should wear a Medical ID tag of some sort. Should you ever be in an emergency situation this is one of the first things emergency responders look for. The site to order your bracelet is: http://www.americanmedical-id.com

As I have mentioned before, I have epilepsy (notice I did not say I am epileptic – but that’s a different post) and hypoglycemia. So yes, I wear a Medical ID bracelet, I have since 1995.

The first one was stainless steel, nothing fancy, but it listed both conditions, my medication allergies and the one medication I was taking. In 2007, I had another medication added and found a new medication allergy. Because I was depressed about the new medication and was post surgery I decided to get a pretty bracelet. That one (I wear currently) is sterling silver and has a nice link for the chain. So yes, this cheered me; I had a nice/pretty piece of jewelry. Since I’m going to be wearing one of these for the rest of my life, I wanted something nice.

But there’s one thing wrong with sterling silver. While the bracelet chain is still beautiful, the tag isn’t doing well. You see, sterling silver tags for the bracelet don’t hold up well. Last year the scratches started showing, to the point where you can’t really read the thing. (I’m sure the necklace tags hold up much better.)

Crud! Now what? I still want something that looks nice, actually different from what “everyone else” is wearing. (Never have been big on conformity.) Then it dawned on me, a friend of mine makes jewelry. Kris’ business is called Peacock and Lime and she creates wonderful items. Of course what triggered my thought to contact Kris was the fact that the American Medical ID site has one of her bracelet designs. So why not go directly to the source and get a design (stones/beads) that I would like best?

custom bracelet-2So, my friend designed a wonderful bracelet for me (pictured) based on the beads I wanted, something more ME. I’ll receive it in the mail within a week or two. Yes, this is another little thing that brings a smile to my face and helps me to feel good. Remember, seizure medications can cause depression and as we all know in life little things make a person feel better. I do always remember that on the up side I haven’t had a seizure since August 28, 2007, it was five days after the surgery to remove the electrodes from my brain.

My neurologist tells me that I will have to take medication for the rest of my life, even though I don’t have seizures. I guess that’s OK because I do on occasion worry that the seizures will return.

So, share with me, what are the little things that make you happy? I have two other bracelets from Kris and this one will add to my collection. I will always look at them and be happy that I have such a gifted friend and that she made me such a bracelet that speaks more to my nature.

Oh for the record, YES I feel that a Medical ID of some sort is important!! While I normally share e-magazine links (because the blog is also in the magazine) and don’t advertise, I also feel it is important to share the love and brag about friends and family.

Frustration – a Real Pain in the Heart

frustration-babyOK, there are many reasons to be/feel frustrated. I acknowledge that. But I’m going to be selfish here and write about what’s been going on with me, perhaps you can relate to part of this. I know that I have written about “generic” frustration, I’ve talked about depression, but never from my own view, what I am truly experiencing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have epilepsy, its onset was in 1991. To explain part of my current frustration, I feel the need to explain what I had/how often I had seizures. You see, my first seizure was in 1991. That was it, one seizure. It was felt that my blood sugar had dropped drastically and an unusual amount of stress was piled on top. A couple of years went by, (I wasn’t on any medication, not seeing a neurologist) and WHAM, I had my second seizure two years later.

Long story short, this one seizure then a couple of years go by then one seizure routine went on for years and all of my seizures are full-blown grand-mal. While yes, this was frustrating, it wasn’t enough to affect my daily thoughts/life. In 2005 my favorite job (of all time) went away. The company merged with another and I was no longer needed. The next job I found I enjoyed, but the stress that went with it was overwhelming. Then in 2006 I had my record number of seizures – eleven with days when I had multiple in one day. Now while this is nothing to many serious cases of epilepsy, this drastic of a change in my condition made my neurologist concerned. I made the employees of the company I was working for at the time very nervous; to the point where they finally got me to leave. In 2007 I underwent in hospital testing for a month at a time. The first was with electrodes on my skull. The second was with electrodes on my brain (obviously required 2 surgeries), and a lot of pain.

OK. On to my “current” frustration (and being completely honest – about everything).

I haven’t had a job since 2007. Well, I did work part-time for a local store for a short time but like many retail situations, the income wasn’t enough. It being a union store and I was getting a form of insurance, the company was taking around 40-45% of my check. That’s not enough to help with the bills. There’s a major source of depression/frustration just in that alone. I have been an administrative assistant for years, and at the urging of people I trust, I officially started my business of being a virtual assistant in 2009. I enjoy working with my clients, but there isn’t enough to do to keep me busy – busy enough to make money. I’ve discovered that I’m more of a “worker bee” and not really an entrepreneur. There’s nothing wrong with that, many businesses need on-site support staff.

Since 2011, about the time my biggest client re-vamped her business and cut back on a lot of things – like virtual staff – I have been looking for a full-time job. The idea was to be working, having a stable income then build my business from a different angle.

Then WHAM! My husband was diagnosed with tonsil cancer in 2011. He was treated and, thank God, has been cancer-free since September of 2011! Since then I have been looking for full-time work, although I have dropped the search once in a while. But this year I started in earnest looking for work. I’d get interviews for jobs that I really wanted, but then I’d get the “thank you for your interest, but we’ve chosen to go with a different candidate.” Or the “While your credentials are excellent, we’ve chosen a…” I even had a client that had the potential to be a permanent job; the company owner changed his mind – over the objection of the department and department head I was working with.

Am I asking for too much???

While there have been many highs and lows since 2005 (seemingly more lows), I do thank God for the positives:

  • count blessingsI have been seizure-free since 2007
  • My husband does not have cancer
  • Even though we had to file for bankruptcy, we still have our home
  • I am physically able to hold a job – and I truly want one
  • Family and Friends
  • That I’m alive

I am doing my utmost to not scream at God/the Universe. For you see, I have been positive (for the most part) that what I want is mine. The job I want, (which by the way allows for me to be the main income and my husband can go to part-time something) with worries down to a minimum.

So, as I typically answer people, because I really believe I’m going with: the Sun is shining, Life is good.

(A BIG winning lottery ticket wouldn’t hurt either.)

I’m Chronologically How Old????

Dang, people’s kids are making me old!!!!

A friend of mine’s first child is going into the SIXTH GRADE. I worked with Jennifer while she was pregnant with her daughter and wondered how anyone could be sooooooooo sick during a pregnancy.

My Grand-Neighborette (GN) started PRE-SCHOOL today. I knew her Mom was pregnant before she would admit it. (Don’t ask me how I knew, I just did)

Nat-Bee 1Yesterday I walked over to visit my GN and her Mommy. I had to check out her hair cut – well OK, it was just a trim. After a couple a few minutes she ran to her room and came out with a gift for me. Simply saying “here Grand-Neighbor, this is for you.” It was that little bumblebee in the picture. I told her that I would put it on the frame on my desk that has her picture.

Over the years I have occasionally given her things from my heart (aside from her birthday) that I thought were important/great for her to have. Before her Christening I gave her the rosary my Great-Uncle brought from Jerusalem for my Christening (it’s made of rough pearls). When she was a few months old she was intrigued by the ceiling fan, so I bought a “gauzy” butterfly with beads hanging from it. (Still in her room) Recently, since she’ll be starting dance lessons, I bought her a ballerina. She took it to her room to hang on a hook by her bed. That night when Daddy got home she told him where to move the hook.

Her Mommy – like a few parents I know – calls her “my little monster.” Well, GN does have a definite way about her and like most small children has no problem speaking her mind. I hope she keeps that, it could be a challenge for her in life, but honesty is a good quality. And GN is very sweet when she sees my husband and/or me and comes running up to give us a hug. Is it because she knows she’ll be scooped up and tickled/spun around? No, not completely.

So, when did this age thing happen? I mean really, when did I become of an age I could be a grand mother??? I sure don’t feel I could be that old…well OK my knees do ache, but then since I was a kid I’ve had issues with them, so what do they know?

It doesn’t seem like it’s been 22 years since I was diagnosed with epilepsy – my first seizure. Then again, it really doesn’t seem like it’s only been six years since my last seizure either. Telling people how old I am (chronologically) really doesn’t bother me – no one believes me anyway (I’m 54). But I don’t feel I’m that age, which by the way when I was a kid in school I didn’t think that number was old – honest! Other kids thought it was really old to be 54. I mean some of my classmates panicked about how old we’d be when the new millennium arrived. I mean really, for some of the kids (like me) our grand parents were that old!

To both of those little girls – I wish them a wonderful life and that positive things go their way. Just what is 54 suppose to feel like anyway???

Will the REAL You Please Step Forward?

How about it? Is the YOU that you are for you? Or is that YOU what you think someone expects?

Someone recently asked me why I didn’t put up with his crap (everyone else does). I told him that I’m at a point in my life where I’ve learned that I don’t need to do that.

who are youIt is so very important to go thru life being ourselves and not what we think others want us to be. It’s exhausting being one person for Group A, someone else for Group B, another for your spouse and one for yourself! Is the real you in there? Is the real you shared with anyone?

My first seizure was caused by a group of triggers: my blood sugar dramatically dropped and I was under a lot of family/work stress. Thinking back, that family/work stress thing was largely part my own fault. I was taking on a lot of things, and there were stresses I had no control over, but I thought I could take on everything and didn’t ask for help. I didn’t think anyone would understand, I didn’t think anyone would help. So I decided that I had to be some sort of wonder woman. Sure I can do it all.

Not so much.

Then when things calmed down I figured I could have different stresses to handle. I just knew I’d be OK.

Not so much that time either.

Then the third time (apparently I’m a slow learner) the stress was way more than I could handle, that wonder woman person just wasn’t willing to come out and play anymore. So, I had that record year of seizures.

Have I learned anything this time? God I hope so!

Even though my business isn’t doing as well as I’d like, I’m currently doing the job shopping thing. This time I’m looking for the right fit. Somewhere I can have some fun and still work hard. That is my work ethic – working hard. I have learned that I need to do this for ME! Yes, there will be side benefits for others, but I need to help me feel good about me. I need to be the best me I can be – and be happy in the process.

Let the REAL you come out and play! You can’t be anyone else – you are YOU for a reason.

So, how about YOU? Are you being the best YOU? Are you going thru life knowing that the best way to be good to yourself and others is to be the best YOU, you can be? I truly hope the answer is Yes, of course I am – and that it doesn’t take you as many times as it has me. Oh and for the record, no matter how much my Mom and Grandmother tried – I don’t like ruffles, many floral prints or many of the other “girly” things they thought I was suppose to like. So, why didn’t that non-conformity continue thru my life?

real you

Have You Hugged a Nurse Lately?

doctors and nursesOK, a simple question posted on facebook really got me wondering: Do you think nurses have a love hate relationship with nursing?

My first comment: I’m not a nurse, but I have been around nurses who do have a love/hate relationship with their career. Then there are the nurses who spend some time working in a hospital then (seem to) run for a desk job – in nursing.

The reply: Great observation – it is true! Thanks for your comment!

My second comment: I do have to say: nurses have a thankless job. When I was in the hospital, I thanked and joked with every nurse that came in my room. One nurse told me she was amazed that I would do that “I can imagine the pain you’re in, how can you have such a great personality and ask how I’M doing?” Hearing that made me feel bad – why weren’t more patients being nice to their nurses?

The reply: Liz LaClair this says a lot about you! You let your light shine!

In 2007, I was in Henry Ford Hospital and tested (twice – about a month each time) for my epilepsy, with the second test having the electrodes directly on my brain – the pain part. I was always nice to my nurses and techs. It’s a simple life belief: life’s too short, have to joke and have fun with others. My husband would bake goodies for me, like banana bread mini loaves. I made sure he brought enough so I could share with my nurses. I apologized to one of my nurses after she told me I scared her. She told me she’d never been around a patient who stopped breathing during a seizure. After I calmed her down – she said she was embarrassed about her reaction – she finally laughed, shook her finger at me and told me to never do that to her again!!

When my husband was in Beaumont for both of his cancer surgeries, the nurses all loved him. Even though he was in pain after surgery, he was joking with his nurses. One of his male nurses was a (tad) embarrassed to be awarded The Daisy – it’s a top award for nurses at Beaumont. His embarrassment dealt with his being called a Daisy. I told him that in French (William Beaumont – founder – was French) daisy is marguerite. He laughed and said that wouldn’t be any better, then explained what DAISY meant.

Nurses have a LOT of work to do, they don’t always get their breaks when they should and we all expect a lot from them. When you’re sick and in the hospital (the last place you really want to be), nurses are the ones (of the medical staff) who spend the most time with you. So, why wouldn’t you be good to them?

Oh, as for that hugging a nurse question. There is one nurse I’d like to hug (she’s a new nurse – she passed her NCLEX just yesterday – 7/25/13). My great-niece Tiffany lives on the other side of the state and I haven’t seen her in a while, but I do check on her via her facebook posts!