Part Two: In Which Our Correspondent Briefly Remembers Everything That Is, Was And Will Be, First Investigates CBD, And Regains Hope Of Better Medications
As I mentioned in our last installment, the postictal week (and a bit) following my seizure were characterized by falling asleep randomly, waves of unreality, crippling migraines, and violent mood-swings. These symptoms were all less than thrilling.
During the migraines, I would put some quiet/soothing music on the record-player (recently I’ve been getting into vinyl), turn off the lights, and try to ride out the excruciating tight heat rolling through my skull. This was not helped by our dog. She has gotten old and ornery, and now whines and barks incessantly. Which compounded the migraine.
To drown out the throbbing pain in my skull and the barking (like aural bits of gravel being pitched at my head…), I focused on the music. I totally inhabited it, and while listening to the titular track of Billy Joel’s The Stranger….
Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and show ourselves
When everyone has gone……
Billy Joel’s ‘The Stranger’
I just started laughing. Because right then, I was hit by another of the depersonalizations which speckled that week like potholes on a dark windy road.
I was listening to the song, but between the time I’d put on the record and when that lonesome whistle opening “The Stranger” started up, I had stopped being Adam.
It’s difficult to explain, what this is like, but: it isn’t forgetting. It isn’t ‘oh who am I?’, but a deeper skin-rippling uncertainty about what, exactly, you are.
On the line
“everyone goes south /
every now and then….”,
I just entirely dropped out and away from myself, from the couch I was lying on and the song and the clothes I was wearing and the various bodily sensations that were far and away below me. The date (St. Patrick’s Day), the time of day or day of the week or month, year, even the sense of time passing passed away, shriveling into insignificance. I was suddenly, impossibly but so obviously, everywhere and connected to everything that ever is, was, or will be.
I remembered what it was like to carry a spark of the Divine within myself.
The seizure, and its immediate brush-with-death aftermath, WAS terrifying. But some of what it has brought out in me—the visions of that first week, and certain sensations which even now I feel more keenly than before it happened—are extraordinary.
Two weeks after the seizure (I think; my timesense is a bit fuzzy in this period), I went back to the hospital for a followup.
One of the two doctors we spoke with wanted me to walk a hard line which, essentially, came down to “These are the drugs we put you on, so you should be taking them.”
I was, however, not satisfied with this decree, delivered as inflexible gospel. I wanted to explore alternatives, and in the next week—as I regained my ability to think clearly, and stay awake for more than three hours at a time without having to fight the gravity of sleep—I researched some of those. I prepared questions for my next visit, and they were as follows (taken from the index card I brought to that meeting):
- Is it possible/probable that Keppra is causing mood-swings?
- Do increased migraines (e.g. maybe five serious ones in the two weeks following the seizure) indicate deterioration/worsening of something?
- Is it even REMOTELY possible that what I’m going through might lead to some kind of surgery? I don’t want to waste time being paranoid, but I want to KNOW that lobotomy is off the table.
I found out that 1 was possible, 2 was impossible to determine but probably no, and—thankfully—3 was almost definitely not a concern.
From there, we discussed alternatives to Keppra. On the back of that same index card, I have the following:
- Lamotrigine – Lamictal
- “migrainous aura” (not a treatment; a potential harbinger of another seizure)
- mindfulness \/ stress
- Brain Health Clinic (MGH)
- Keteognic(?) diet // high protein, high fat, low carb
- cannabidiol oil = Charlotte’s Web
- THC-A = pro-convulsant; THC-B = anti-conv.
- iowasca = spirit-world
- CBD strains of marijuana
- Carcinoma Angels (a suggestion of mine, inspired by Harrison Wintergreen)
I left with a prescription for Lamotrigine (AKA Lamo), a good list of potential alternatives, and the determination to thoroughly investigate all of them.
NEXTiME: The Pitfalls Of Lamictal, And Getting The Greenlight From My Doctors To Try CBD
Adam Singer is a writer, shutterbug, angler in the Lake of Darkness, decent cook, and vinyl enthusiast. On March 8th, 2016, he had a seizure which has been a catalyst for deep introspection and drastic change. You can find him on Twitter, @timeofposting. If you have had a similar experience, or are investigating medical CBD, he encourages you to tweet @ him.