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Old 04-16-2008, 05:50 PM
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Seizures, heart surgery and... epilepsy?


Hi, I don't really know if this goes here but I'm going to give it a shot. I'll try and keep it from getting too long and confusing. Basically, here's my story: I'm 19 years old and on March 3rd I had open heart surgery to repair a weak valve. For about two weeks before the surgery I started having mild seizures -- feeling lightheaded before my fingers and toes would start to tingle and I would lose conciousness, collapse, and tremble for 1-3 minutes at a time. My doctors told me they were due to the lack of oxygen and blood flow traveling to by brain from the weakened valve. The surgery was to not only fix my heart, but would also "correct" my seizure problem.

Its been over a month now and my heart and blood pressure are both looking great (thankfully). Unfortunately, the seizures have not. They did not start again immidiately after the surgury, only returned as of the past two weeks. I had a EEG, CAT Scan, and am scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. I am still waiting on the culmination of these tests to hopefully tell me what is wrong, but I am getting anxious. Epilepsy has been thrown around as a possible diagnosis and I wanted to know if anyone had any information or anything similar to my confusion. If not, can anyone at least tell me what kind of seizures these might be? Thank you, any input is appreciated.

- Genevieve, the Clueless

Last edited by luckyduck; 04-16-2008 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:03 PM
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Hi LD, welcome to the forum.

Sounds like either complex partial or tonic clonic seizures. If you are new to epilepsy, I'd recommend you read this thread: Epilepsy 101 - Part FAQ, Part tips and advice
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New to CWE? I suggest reading the proactive prescription and epilepsy 101 threads. Also check out this chart of alternative epilepsy treatments and this page on EEG Neurofeedback. More great stuff can be found in the list of the best forum threads.

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Old 04-16-2008, 10:02 PM
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Welcome Lucky Duck! Sorry to hear about your recent turn of events. I hope you have a helpful medical team that will figure out what is going on.
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:30 PM
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Genevieve!

Welcome to CWE! Sorry to hear about the medical
issues, but at least you're getting all the bases
covered, that's the important part! It's nice to know
you're in good hands and in good care of a good team
of Doctors who are watching over you! They will get
to the bottom line of everything, the hardest part of
it all is - PATIENCE! All of this does take time to find
it all, but once they do, they can get right to work
and get busy!

I encourage you to visit the link that Bernard has
posted if you hadn't already and feel free to browse
around and make yourself a home here!
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:48 PM
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Thank you, everyone, for your hasty and uplifting replies. I really do appreciate them. And the link is very helpful! I'm learning a lot already and I think it is good to have knowledge about such things, even if right now it is not completely clear what is going on yet.

Again, thank you. I'm really trying to stay positive and just deal with everything as it comes. It is nice to know there are others out there both coping and caring with something so difficult to corner and really understand as seizures and epilepsy.
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:08 PM
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Welcome Lucky Duck!

Pull up a chair and rest here for awhile. There is a lot to learn about epilepsy as it comes in so many forms. Bernard has sent you to the best place to start.

I have only been here a few months myself, but I feel very at home here. I was 20 when I had my first seizures. I guess I am the lucky duck who didn't need heart surgery at the same time. That was almost 27 years ago. But I am usually OK and have led a pretty full life. Keep your spirits up and stop by anytime.

One thing I have learned is that almost everyone has the triggers for seizures. It is just the threshold of control that is lowered in those of us with E. Possibly one of your heart medications, the stress of the surgery, or some other factor might be the variable that lowered your threshold.

Again, welcome to CWE.

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Old 04-17-2008, 02:49 PM
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Thank you! I really appreciate it. I'm glad to hear that you are doing so well, Buckeyefan! It is really comforting to not only hear words of encouragement, but positive stories as well. I hope it continues for you. Also, thank you for the mention about triggers. I've recently been trying to figure out my own, considering the whole thing is fairly new to me and I've yet to really analyze my seizures. Stress certainly has been a factor over the past few months, and with all the medications I have been on and off consistantly throughout that time I do believe they are a factor. My MRI went well -- there are no signs of any lesions or brain damage so we are kind of back to square one. Right now it is just a matter of treatment and figuring out whether they are a temporary symptom or were actually just an underlying issue waiting to emerge, coincidentally when my surgery was needed. We will see. Until we figure it out I'm still reading and researching as much as I can and keeping my hopes up. Either way I will just have to deal with it and continue on. Again, thanks for all the help.

- Genevieve

Last edited by luckyduck; 04-17-2008 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:28 PM
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Hello out there

. I understand about your problems and also have them. There are many times if I sit on my legs too long or something, My feet tingle from not enough circulation. I'll be alseep in the middle of the night, & wake up flexing and grasping my hand wildly due to paralysis. My mother was diagnosed with a heart attack, but I think the seizure she had (grand-mal) either caused it or triggered it.

My best advise to you is to please keep your body healthy. YOGA (for stress...very important), Get enough exercise. Too much will just make you tired. Not enough and you have problems. For me, I just go until my body says, "enough". Then I stop. I also use "Breathe Right" strips to help the exchange of Oxygen throughout the night. I've had really nasty seizures, and don't intend to go through that again. hope this helps.
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:53 AM
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Thank you Stacy, for sharing your story and offering some very helpful advice. Stress defaintely has been a factor for me lately -- I've tried to take it easy and just focus on getting better, college, and just life in general. It gets overwhelming at times and I've been looking to find something to do that would help, and yoga sounds like a very fun and very useful tool! I enjoy exercise, especially dancing (ballet), and yoga seems like a very relaxing way to relieve stress as well as keep fit. I definately will look into it and give it a try. Though its been an uphill battle recently, I am greatful to have so much support and such a warm welcome here. It really gives me hope for whatever comes my way.
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