Broken Brained

One seizure at a time.

Christmas cheer December 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — koshti @ 9:49 pm

Look, the seizures are better. Waaay better. Like can’t avoid the fact that this is working better. They last maybe half as long as they used to and I don’t have even a quarter as many as I used to.

Its amazing.

The diet sucks. Truly. Today was Christmas and I did not have any cookies. I did not have any ice cream. I had no stuffing. I had no gravy. I had some onion dip stuff, but that was a mistake. I had no blueberry cobbler. I had no lasagna. I had no eggplant dish. I had no tangerines. I wiped the tomato sauce off of my sausage.

Which was a bit sucky.

But none of it is worth having seizures.  Life is sweet. Merry Christmas.



Bongs and rashes December 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — koshti @ 5:27 pm

I used to know a girl who had been born with part of her arm missing. Watching her smoke a bong was amazing. Having never had the arm she was fluid in her movements and she looked fluid in all of her movements. She told me of an abortion she had had, and of what an asshole the doctor was. She said that as she laid on the table, in the emotional throes and physical discomfort that an abortion can bring, he began to question her about her arm. As she tried to prepare herself for what was about to come, he wanted to know about prosthetics…there are some great new ones on the market you know.  Her natural reaction was to want to hurt him, but she managed to control herself.

I thought of her often yesterday. Not that my situation was that extreme, but I did want to shake my idiot doctor often. Actually, no, I wanted to shake the idiot 4th year medical student who was assigned my case. Why, oh why, oh why, did I go to the shittiest hospital in Caguas? Well, because I study there, and I was told it would be cheap. Blah.

I was in the ER for super duper antihistamines. (As I write this, the urge to throw a shoe is only overcome by my deep and abiding laziness.) My rash has spread, it has changed to a mottled brown, and then parts have gone back to its regular angry pink again. Did I mention parts have turned into acne. I look AMAZING.

Mr. 4th year had the benefit of having “post-traumatic seizures”. This made him a tad obsessed with my “condition” as he kept referring to it. When I told him I was on Atkins he said, “That won’t work”. And proceeded to tell me what works for him. He thought the rash might be due to my medication. When I told him I’d been on this particular combination for 3 years, he said, “it could be a delayed reaction”. When I told him I’d been on the main one for 22 years he shut the fuck up. Next he wanted to check my liver functions.  I didn’t argue that one. He then told me HIS neurologist went to school here in PR, and did a residency at John Hopkins, he wanted to talk to her about my “case”. I told him my epileptologist TEACHES at the Mayo Clinic. He still thought I’d been prescribed the wrong drugs.

His attending looked like Jason Alexander, and though he wasn’t obsessed with epilepsy, he was pissy as all hell about my all my questions and I ended up walking out after he left me waiting for 45 minutes (after I got my drugs, which didn’t work, blugh)

This blog is dragging on.

The point is that I’m a third year medical student. I talk to patients, take histories, and offer opinions. If all my patients were as surly as I am, I’d be fucked. But I’m viciously aware of how little or how much doctors know at every step of medical education. Though, I’m willing to be taught by anyone, I prefer nurses.  But when it comes to my own health, I certainly don’t want a med student working on me. Frankly, I don’t even trust last year residents. Hell, I don’t trust young doctors.


Losing weight December 11, 2009

Went to the doctor yesterday who told me that I have “a rash”. No really, he sat across his desk from me, looked at my red splotchy (clothed) torso, neck, and head and said, “You have a rash. Definitely, you have a rash.” He gave me a prescription for prednisone, and I am to come back on Monday for further grandiose pronouncements.

The point of all of this, is that I discovered Atkins protein bars at Walgreens last night. I can’t begin to tell you amount of joy this has brought me.  I know I’m being played…I know I’m following a diet that was created to make one (dead) man very rich. I know I’m playing into the scam by buying chocolate bars promoted by this man. But, God, I love chocolate.

In other news, I went to Kmart and got on the 25 cent machine and got my weight and height. I am officially 5’10” and 207 lbs. This was rather shocking. When I found my reading, it turns out I’m 5’5″ and weigh…158 lbs.

There you go, Atkins has helped me lose 49 lbs in almost 30 seconds.


Rash decisions December 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — koshti @ 5:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have a rash.

A red rash.

It is crawling up my body, and I’m convinced it wants to attack my face.

The Google thinks it might be a protein allergy. Friends say a food allergy. I’m going with measles…or scarlet fever.

I just changed my ENTIRE diet…how do I pinpoint this?

It is an interesting new twist to this game: on the one hand seizures….on the other no fruit, no bread, and a rash taking over my body.

What would you choose?


On hope and piss December 5, 2009

I’m on Day 5 of Ketosis. I smell different. Heartburn and diarrhea have become almost normal. I spend a good deal of the day adding up numbers, and wondering about carbs in vegetables. Most folks on Atkins get more carbs than I. I’m stuck in the “induction phase” of Atkins, meaning I’m supposed to keep to under 15 grams of carbs a day. My inner vegeteran is bit dazed.

I also “check my ketones” twice a day. There’s something fascinating about the little piss dunked strip that tells me my ketones are large. There’s something satisfying about it. I even had a dream about checking my ketones in a car, while the fiancée drove, and I had a conversation with a friend who was in the car next to me.

So……..My first night I had 1 seizure, my second night 1 seizure, my third night 4, and last night…0.

0 seizures.

The thing is, I’ve been on a number of drugs. Tegretol, Clonopin, Keppra, Neurontin, Tranxene, Zonegran, Lamictal, Depakote, and Magnesium. Is that it? Each drug has a “honeymoon period”, meaning it works beautifully for about 6 months and then there’s a “why don’t we have sex anymore period” where my seizures start coming back, finally ending with a “bitter divorce and I hate you HATE YOU HATE YOU” period, where the drug is useless and discarded.

My neurologists like to say that I’ve failed at many drugs. I feel like they’re taking sides.

All this to say, that I’m getting hopeful, but just like anyone going into their 9th honeymoon, I’m a tad jaded and trying to curb the enthusiasm.

I don’t know if I want this to work. I don’t know if I want to have to make a decision between seizing and not eating fruit. Or never having a big mac again. Or chocolate or….


Beginnings December 2, 2009

So a little over a year ago I made it to Rochester, Minnesota where really smart neurologists live and work. Really smart neurologists are hard to find in the US. Medical students here tend to be scared of the neurosciences which leads the field open for any idiot who decides to go that way. The smart med students go to Dermatology and Radiology. Smart students don’t like patients…but that’s an entirely different story.

I had expected this really smart neurologist to cure me of epilepsy. He didn’t. He told me pretty much there was no hope. He said this in a much nicer way. He reached far for some solutions, but he didn’t seem hopeful about any of them. I’ve had seizures every night pretty much since I was 7. They happen when I sleep. Yes, every time.

Quick math problem: If Asal has had seizures for 22 years, with a conservative average of 3 seizures a night, how many seizures has she had? (Please keep in mind that there was a break of 1.5 years around when puberty hit).

Answer: 22,447.5

Here are the far fetched solutions: 1) Surgery 2) A pacemaker like device that would send signals into my brain and 3) The Atkins diet.

Every once in awhile someone will ask how a seizure feels. Or maybe every once in awhile someone should ask. I’m not sure but either way the answer is simple. Seizures feel terrifying. They don’t hurt. At least none that I’ve had or heard of do.

A seizure is by definition a loss of control. Complete and total. After a bad seizure, I have trouble talking, trouble thinking, usually I’m drenched in piss, and I’m crying. I don’t know why I’m crying. I just am.

I don’t like seizures. They are my least favorite thing to do.

So let’s go through these options.

1) Surgery: Every time I imagine someone doing surgery on my brain, I imagine them sneezing. I know it’s irrational. I know the surgeons will be wearing face masks, and that there’s equipment in place to make sure nothing goes wrong if someone sneezes. But still. I have some better reasons why surgery is not a good choice for me, but what it comes down to is that I hate giving up control further.

2) A Vagus Nerve Stimulator: This requires decent insurance and a stable few years with a real neurologist to keep track of you. I’ve got none of these things.

3) The Atkins Diet: This diet was designed to exclude everything good in the world. No sugar. No fruit. No chocolate. Almost no vegetables. But it gives you an amazing amount of control.

So there you go. I started Atkins two days ago, and a blog to go with it today. Welcome.