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Leila’s Ideas: Epilepsy Resolutions

Celebrating the new year is one of my favorite activities!

I’m a gal who loves celebrating the new year. I usually buy a new dress and get together with friends to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. We all watch the ball drop in New York City and all have our favorite person next to us to ring in the new year with a kiss. Many people make new year’s resolutions to try and make for a better year ahead. I’ve never been that type; if I want to improve something I’m going to do it when the time is right, not just at the beginning of a year. This year, though, is a little different and I’m going to need your help.

Epilepsy Resolutions

I am making resolutions to improve how I manage my epilepsy. I’m notoriously bad at documenting any episodes I have. I almost always remember to take my pills but have stopped using my pillbox, potentially making it easier for me to forget. I also noticed a new trigger this year but am bad at staying away from it, as it is part of my job. I want you to help keep me accountable this year.

Documentation

I’m terrible at this. I’ve tried keeping a special notebook with me at all times to write down any event. I’ve downloaded apps on my phone for convenience’s sake. I created my own spreadsheet to track what happened before and after I have an episode. I used my planner to track events to notice patterns over the course of many months. All attempts I make are pretty short lived. I keep them up for a solid month or two but then inevitably begin forgetting to use my new tool and it falls by the wayside. This year, I am going to make more of an effort to use the spreadsheet I created. It has all the information I need on it and will help me track patterns in location, trigger, length of the episode, and how I treat them.

Taking My Pills

I have taken pills daily for most of my life, so it’s naturally in my morning and evening routine. That being said, I do sometimes get sidetracked and forget to grab pills out of the bottles. Later that day or week, when I notice I don’t feel well, I must try and remember if I skipped a dose. If I used my pillbox, I could easily look back and identify where I went wrong. I’d love to get back into the habit of using my pillbox just in case I slip up.

Staying Away from Triggers

When I started my new job, I noticed a steep increase in episodes. I tracked them with my spreadsheet and identified two specific triggers. One of them I am unable to avoid, so I have been working to manage my stress level when the trigger presents itself. The second one if difficult to avoid. I must complete a heavy amount of paperwork for my job which requires staring at a screen for hours. That length of screen time is triggering me and ends with a painful migraine and/or upset stomach. There are many remedies to this (taking a break every hour, lowering my screen light display, doing paperwork by hand and scanning it onto my laptop) but some are more practical than others. I’d like to get myself used to taking breaks from my laptop. Every hour or so, I need to get up and walk around, focusing on anything but a computer monitor. This also gets my blood pumping a little bit, especially on days when I can’t get to the gym. This should reduce the amount of migraines I experience.

Need Your Help

Will you help me keep these epilepsy resolutions? Please check in with me on my future blog posts or on Twitter to hold me accountable. I’ll try and keep you up to date with how well I’m doing or admitting that I’m not keeping up with my promise to myself. I think you are one key that will help create a healthier year for me. Comment below if you’re up to the challenge! If you have any new year’s resolutions, let me know in the comments! We can keep each other accountable through 2017!

Leila Shields
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Leila shares stories on stigma and epilepsy based on her experiences and what she hears from others. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy at age 8 and is based in Pennsylvania.

4 Responses

  1. Michael McKenna
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    Ohhh, the seizure documentation. Like you, I never seemed to have a seizure documentation tool near me, or I would say to myself “Remember to write this seizure down later.” When I do remember to write it down days later, it’s being recorded with the knowledge that when I meet with my doctor, I would have to say “It happened around this time, but it may have been the day before or the day after.” What ended up working really well for me with documenting a seizure was my bathroom mirror and a dry erase marker. As I look in the mirror for signs of post-seizure injuries, I grab the dry erase marker next to mirror and quickly make note of the seizure code (Type A, Type B, Type C) and date (12/20, 1/1, 1/8). When it comes time to see my doctor, or clean my bathroom, I input into my journal all of the seizures that happened. Then, when I meet with my doctor, I look like I’m on top of keeping track of my seizures (ha, if my doctors only knew).
    Great article, Leila.

    • Leila Shields
      Leila Shields
      |

      Writing on the bathroom mirror is such a good and creative idea! I probably never would have thought of that. I wonder if the doctors can see right through our “put together” persona we try and show them… 🙂
      If I don’t write it down right away, I completely forget! I’m hoping it becomes more of a habit soon!

  2. Pam
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    HI Leila,
    I have had epilepsy since my mid 30s (I’m 52 now) and like you I wasnt always great at keeping track of my medications or seizures. I had noticed a slight increase in my seizures over the past year or so and probably should have seen my neurologist in the fall, but I didn’t. About 6 weeks ago I had a massive seizure and fell on the floor of my bathroom and broke my jaw, damaged my lip badly and broke 6 teeth and lost 1 other tooth. I am still recovering. I think if I had been keeping better track of my health it might not have happened.
    So, be mindful of your health. Take your epilepsy very seriously before you hurt yourself. Epilepsy is a serious condition and needs to be managed carefully. Nobody can do it but you!

    • Leila Shields
      Leila Shields
      |

      I’m sorry to hear you have such a severe seizure. 🙁 I hope your recovery is moving along on time! I will use this as extra motivation to manage my own. Thank you for sharing!