'Soft' temporal epilepsy seizures

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Hi everyone,

First, I apologize for my english (I just learned it at school)... But it seems there is no equivalent of this forum in my country.

So let's go... I've been recenltly diagnosed (at 63) with Temporal Epilepsy. I feel a bit ashamed, because my seizures seem very light compared to many of you. Until now...

I've had three seizures in five years (one last week), limited to a temporary and very partial loss of memory. First time, it was 2 monthes after a presidential election in my country (and I had been very interested, even implied, in it...) and suddenly I was unable to say who the hell had been elected (I was even not sure we had these kind of elections here in France, I remembered a few names of political leaders but "who was who" - everything in this [very important to me] area had became very confuse). There were also a few other things (which day were we, which season, even which year - I didn't know anymore). But nothing else. No physical symptom, no aura, no headache, no "deja vu" feeling. Half an hour later, everything was fine. Nothing on the IRM and EEG, and endly my doctors said it was probably a Transient ischemic attack.

The 2 other seizures were very similar. Last week, the memory loss was centered on my beloved daughter. She has leaved us a few monthes ago to end her studies in Japan (that's very far from here !) and then she got very quickly a job in Tokyo (and we were so happy, because it's not that easy in France to get a job for the newcomers !). For us, it was the big event of the year - and she Skypes us everyday ! Last tuesday in the morning, when I was alone in the kitchen, I couldn't remember where the hell she was. I was very ashamed (what an ugly father I was !) but after a big and useless effort for a quarter of an hour, I endly woke up my wife. And even after my wife told me "she is in Japan", I was unable to imagine what she was doing there. My wife asked me a few other things then (what did you do yesterday... I couldn't say). And, as it occured for the first 2 seizures, half an hour later, everything was fine. My doctor sent me to the ER, and for the first time the EEG (not the IRM) showed something - there were signs of a right temporal epilepsy, the doctors said.

Until now, it's not a big deal - just three times a strange half an hour moment, with partial memory loss, in five years. To be honnest, would I even have cared of it, if I had had to pay for the doctors & hospital ? But my concerrn is :
- can this kind of epilepsy drive to bigger symptoms.
- according to the french law, I'm not allowed to drive anymore (as every epilepsy diagnosed people). Very very boring for my everyday life !
- and might this diagnosis be a mistake (even with some "signs" on an EEG...). Reading this forum, I feel like some symptoms are missing...

If someone else here has known these kind of 'soft' epilepsy seizures, please tell me !
 
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Nakamova

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Hi Rouletabille, welcome to CWE!

I think the "soft" seizures you refer to are what are called simple partial or complex partial seizures. Many CWE members have this kind of seizure. They can be tricky to diagnose or understand because they can take many different forms, and they don't involve full loss of consciousness or convulsions the way "traditional" epilepsy does.

- can this kind of epilepsy drive to bigger symptoms.
Yes sometimes. If the brain "gets used to" seizing, it can make it easier for it to seize in the future.
- and might this diagnosis be a mistake (even with some "signs" on an EEG...). Reading this forum, I feel like some symptoms are missing...
It could be a mistake, but any time you have unexplained memory loss, it's an indication that something is not working right in your brain, and it's important to take it seriously.

It can help if you can think of any particular "triggers" that might have caused your symptoms. Have you been unusually tired or under stress? Do you have any other health conditions? Are you on any medications? Have you been ill recently? Make a note of anything you can think of that might be related.

Best,
Nakamova
 
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A BIG thank you for your answer, Nakamova (but you're a queen of it, aren't you ?).

So I'm not alone to know this kind of seizures, and as far as you can say with the few elements I brought, epilepsy can look like that. I had no real doubts about it, the neurology section of the hospital that diagnosed me has a realy good fame - it's just that the doctors I saw there were 3 young, and even very young, neurologists, and I thought about a possibility for them to be "too close" to their theoritical studies...

In fact, it occured very recently, and I've not yet had the complete data of the diagnosis (I just got a "going out" letter from the hospital, ten lines for my doctor, saying that it's epilepsy, that I have to be examined by the "Medical Car Driving Commission", and that I must take Lacmital everyday). I've a date with a good neurologist of my town at the end of september, and I hope he will be able to tell me more (are the signs on the EEG very clear, what do they 'say'...).

I asked myself many questions about some kind of "triggers" for my seizures - be under stress is my daily condition, I don't sleep very often more than 5 hours a day, I've been under medications for hypertensions for decades - I understand that altogether it's not a very good background for my health, even if I feel globaly "healthy" - but I can think of nothing, absolutely nothing, that could be "special" when I got these seizures.

Another question I asked myself is about something I red about temporal epilepsy. It seems like a bunch of neurones are destroyed during every seizure. Is it true for these 'single memory loss' seizures ? And if yes, is it something I have to be afraid of (or have we got so many neurones that this "loss" is not a real problem) ?
 
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I have complex partial seizures and I have memory loss like you. I will be driving and forget where I am and i don't know how to get home. I'm totally freaked out... I can't drive without someone with me because when it happens I don't know where I am and it is very frightening. It's like I'm on another planet, I am so lost. Then it just gets better after a few minutes and then I'm alright.
 
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I have complex partial seizures and I have memory loss like you. I will be driving and forget where I am and i don't know how to get home. I'm totally freaked out... I can't drive without someone with me because when it happens I don't know where I am and it is very frightening. It's like I'm on another planet, I am so lost. Then it just gets better after a few minutes and then I'm alright.
Yes, it must be very frightening ! Do you have these seizures very often ? And do you feel it (retrospectively) like a direct danger for you (and other drivers) when driving ?
 

Nakamova

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Another question I asked myself is about something I red about temporal epilepsy. It seems like a bunch of neurones are destroyed during every seizure. Is it true for these 'single memory loss' seizures ? And if yes, is it something I have to be afraid of (or have we got so many neurones that this "loss" is not a real problem)?
The temporary memory loss that occurs during a seizure may not represent permanent damage. But if there is a lot of seizure activity over a long period of time there can be some lasting memory problems. Some of the medications can also affect memory and cognition. On the positive side, the brain is amazingly "plastic" and scientists are still being surprised by the way that it can adjust and respond to injury. technology such as neurofeedback (not sure if it available in France) can in many cases "re-train" the brain and make it healthier.

I hope the neurologist you see next month will be able to set your mind at ease as much as possible. Be sure to let him know about any other health issues. High blood pressure can sometimes trigger seizures, and can also be a sign that you are low in magnesium (which plays a role both in protecting the brain and in regulating blood pressure). You might also benefit from a sleep study (where your brain is monitored via EEG overnight), to see if there are specific issues (like sleep apnea) that are interfering with the quality of your sleep.
 
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You might also benefit from a sleep study (where your brain is monitored via EEG overnight), to see if there are specific issues (like sleep apnea) that are interfering with the quality of your sleep.
Thanks once more, Nakamova. I see a doctor for a 'sleep study' next week, he told me on the phone he will 'install' on me a kind of monitoring for one night (but I'll take it at home and bring it back next morning), but I don't think it's EEG (can't sleep apnea be monitored through a kind of breath recording ?)
 

valeriedl

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Stress and lack of sleep are HUGE seizure triggers for me. Any time either one of these is going on my husband and I know there is a seizure on the way. I'm not sure if the other medications that you are on could play a part in it or not too, that could be something to ask your doctor about.

Do you ever get horrible headaches? After a lot of my seizures I'll have one. Many times if I'm alone I won't know that I've had a seizure. Having the headache is a pretty good sign that I probably had one.

I have memory loss too. Depending on how bad the seizure was the more memory was lost before it. It could go from only 5 minutes before the seizure to days before the seizure. After my first seizure, 10 years ago which was a very bad one, I lost almost 10 years of memory. There are a few things still up there but not much.

I had to be put in a coma after the first seizure I had because they couldn't get me to stop seizing. When I was finally able to be brought out of the coma I had no clue who my boyfriend at the time was. I had to ask someone who the guy was that would come in every day and tell me that he loved me because I had no memory of him at all.

Right now it's my long term memory that is the worse. After a few months the things just start to fade away. I won't remember a lot of things that I've done and when someone tells me about it I just can't understand how I managed to forget it because I had a ton of fun doing it.

I've said this in a few other posts but it took me about 3 years to remember that President Regan had died, and I even watched his funeral! I think the only reason that I've be able to remember it now is because it's something that we joke about.

My short term memory, day to day things, isn't that great either though. Someone might tell me something today and tomorrow I won't remember about it. But it's not nearly as bad as my long term however.

Your English is wonderful by the way. I think it's better than mine and I live in the US and speak it every day!
 

Endless

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Your memory loss can definitely be related to seizures. There's another possible explanation for the memory loss that lasts just a few minutes. Not knowing where you are, or profoundly not recognizing your surroundings (or a person, etc.) for a few seconds to a few minutes is a type of simple partial seizure. The second this happens it's a good idea to pull over and turn off the car. Have someone else drive if you can. Sometimes simple partial seizures can lead to a more severe complex partial or a generalized seizure, so driving isn't the safest thing to be doing.
 
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I've said this in a few other posts but it took me about 3 years to remember that President Regan had died, and I even watched his funeral! I think the only reason that I've be able to remember it now is because it's something that we joke about.
Yes, I had red your post about Reagan because I did 'Search' in the forum for posts about memory (my first seizure was mainly about who had been elected president in France 2 monthes before...). Your seizures - and their consequences - seem so boring and painfull ! What a terrible thing for your daily life !
My short term memory, day to day things, isn't that great either though. Someone might tell me something today and tomorrow I won't remember about it. But it's not nearly as bad as my long term however.
I had been used to it, but mine is not great (at least compared to my close family). For instance, I have a poor capacity to remember what happened in the previous episodes of the weekly TV shows I watch (even when I look at it daily, in facts). My wife and son always laugh at me for it. And, in the same area, I happen very often to look at half or more of a movie before I realize I already saw it... And not decades before ! Nothing comparable to what you live, I never thought about it as 'pathological' but now I know my epilepsy problem, I look at it in a new way... I'll tell something about it to the neurologist I'll see soon...
Your English is wonderful by the way. I think it's better than mine and I live in the US and speak it every day!
You're charitable, I know my words are not always the exact match (and you didn't hear my awfull accent !), but the important is to be understood. But about this, I can thank Tony Soprano, Walter White, Linette Scavo and many other heroes of these american TV shows I watch very often, always in english with french subtitles : even if I forget a part of their adventures between episodes, they helped me to improve my english much more than school in fact...
 
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The second this happens it's a good idea to pull over and turn off the car. Have someone else drive if you can. Sometimes simple partial seizures can lead to a more severe complex partial or a generalized seizure, so driving isn't the safest thing to be doing.
Thanks Endless for this advice. I'll care about it and drive just when it's absolutely necessary... well, if the 'Local Commission for Driving Licence' does'nt ask me to give back my driving licence (what is very possible according to the french laws...).
 

valeriedl

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You're charitable, I know my words are not always the exact match (and you didn't hear my awfull accent !), but the important is to be understood. But about this, I can thank Tony Soprano, Walter White, Linette Scavo and many other heroes of these american TV shows I watch very often, always in english with french subtitles : even if I forget a part of their adventures between episodes, they helped me to improve my english much more than school in fact...
I see you're a Breaking Bad fan then? I love it too. The only thing that I hate about that show, and many other mystery/crime shows, is that there is so much going on episode to episode and season that I have trouble keeping track of.

I didn't remember that Hank's brother-in-law had been shot. I had to ask my husband who and why did it. He just told me after this last episode and I forgot already. I drive him crazy asking him questions like that because I keep asking them over and over again. Half the time I just get on the internet to find out the info.

I always say that there are never repeats of tv shows for me. I usually don't remember watching them the first time so it's like watching a new show every time!
 
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I see you're a Breaking Bad fan then? I love it too. The only thing that I hate about that show, and many other mystery/crime shows, is that there is so much going on episode to episode and season that I have trouble keeping track of.

I didn't remember that Hank's brother-in-law had been shot. I had to ask my husband who and why did it. He just told me after this last episode and I forgot already. I drive him crazy asking him questions like that because I keep asking them over and over again. Half the time I just get on the internet to find out the info.

I always say that there are never repeats of tv shows for me. I usually don't remember watching them the first time so it's like watching a new show every time!
Well, as for the seizures, I've got the same problems than you, but in a softer way. But even so, I drive my wife & my son crazy too - for some TV shows, my son does some 'Tests' during the dinner about characters and events of the show we're gonna see. It helps... But I have to go on the internet too (or have a glimpse at previous episodes, fortunately we always use recorded videos so it's easy...). For some shows (like Game of Thrones) with so many characters & locations, I look at it in a sort of dream (I know I won't understand everything...). In this respect I feel I'm different of most of the people around me but I'm not sure, as you can be for yourseld, it's related with the few seizures I had these last years. I have also a light problem of prosopagnosia that makes things difficult for watching movies and TV shows [is this man with the green jacket the same than the one with a white shirt who killed the lady 5 minutes ago ?] - but I like it !
 
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