I had another seizure last Monday night. After five weeks of no seizures, I thought I was in the clear, but I am learning that this process of adjusting to anti-epilepsy medication and finding the proper dosage is apparently quite complicated and can be a really long and drawn out process.
The aftermath of a generalized tonic clonic (TC) seizure for me is several days of recovery from physical fatigue and muscle soreness. After this seizure in particular, I have also struggled with feelings of hopelessness, as though this will never end, and I will never be able to fall asleep without trusting that I won't wake up in the back of an ambulance without an oxygen mask on my face.
In Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown, speaks of the need to confront feelings like these head on: "Pain is unrelenting," she writes. "Despite our attempts to drown it in addiction, to...beat it out of one another, to suffocate it with success and material trappings, or to strangle it with our hate, pain will find a way to make itself known...[It] will only subside when we acknowledge it and care for it. Addressing it with love and compassion would take only a minuscule percentage of the energy it takes to fight it, but approaching pain head-on is terrifying...When we deny our emotion, it owns us. When we own our emotion, we can rebuild and find our way through pain."
For me, part of owning my emotions around my seizures is about facing my embarrassment about them. If you know me personally at all, you know that I'm someone who likes to have a sense of control over what happens in my life. And having a seizure is literally the exact opposite of being in control. Every night over the last week, around 8pm, I start looking around my room to see what I want to clean up or to make sure I'm in my most modest pajamas, just in case the EMS guys end up in my house again. Dealing with my emotions about this, means not only dealing with my hopelessness and fear, but also dealing with my embarrassment, which is harder, because it requires vulnerability.
On Sunday, Scott and I attended New Church Live, where we were privileged to hear Sgt. Matthew Pennington, a decorated veteran from the conflict in Iraq, speak about how pain and fear are the incredible catalysts that we wouldn't choose but that find us anyway, and that give us the opportunity to courageously choose love. You can check out more of Sgt Pennington's story here. The main takeaway of the service for me, however, was that when I'm not feeling courageous, I can ask God to BE my courage for me.
Yesterday, Caitlyn and I made a giant batch of chocolate chip cookies--the real kind, with gluten and
sugar--and Scott drove us down to the firehouse to drop them off with a thank you card for the EMS crew. I figured at the very least, plying them with sugar would make me feel like I'd made friends if I woke up in a night or two on a stretcher with another unfamiliar face hovering over me again.
The guy that was working the desk is probably the one guy that hasn't been called to my house so far; he accepted the cookies and my thanks, and he shook my hand. I told him it was nice to meet him, but I that I hoped I didn't have to see him again.
Afterwards, Scott showed me a clip from a show he watches sometimes--Brooklyn 99. In the season finale, the control-freak character marries the crazy character, but in her wedding vows, she says this: "Life is unpredictable; not everything is in our control, but as long as you're with the right people, you can handle anything."
I am held by a sea of right people.