I still haven’t been in to see a neurologist, but I was able to get an appointment with my primary care doctor this week and lo and behold, the news that I’ve had seven seizures this month after being seizure-free for an entire year was enough to get a prescription for an increased dose in my medication. Halle-effing-lujah.
It’s been so long since I’ve had a medication upgrade that the side effects have taken me a bit by surprise. I had to actually hunt down the medication information sheet that I get from the pharmacy (and usually throw away because hi, I’ve been taking this stuff for YEARS) and double check to be sure that headache was indeed a side effect and that I wasn’t hurting in the brain – as opposed to in the head. Seeing as I’m not plagued with daily headaches and had indeed forgotten about them entirely, I’m sure this side effect will taper off in a few days.
The main reason for the appointment was to get my IUD removed. Which, given that I just got it at the end of January, the doctor was notably reluctant to do. Though under the circumstances, she was understanding as to my rationale of “let’s eliminate as many variables as possible.”
So the IUD (alternately known by confused male members of my family as my “IED” or “UTI” which are both bothersome things of entirely *different* natures) is gone. And never to return. Even if not for the seizures, I’m quite glad to be rid of it. I chose the Mirena, which delivers a low dose of progesterone as the Paragard promised more intense cramping and heavier periods and well, no thank you. I can’t tolerate the hormones in the birth control pill – they really make me psychotic – but I tolerated Depo Provera for years, so I was assured that I’d be ok with Mirena.
And without the seizures, I was ok *enough* that I would have kept going. But getting it out means that I’ve stopped spotting (which I’d been doing for an entire month solid – 30 straight days by the time it was removed. Totally normal for the IUD and in of itself didn’t bother me, but… y’know… the total package…), my hair will start growing back (my shower drain thanks me), and I can stop eating like a ravenous warthog (my appetite wasn’t quite up to breastfeeding levels, but my eating pants are a bit tighter than they used to be – let’s leave it at that). Bleeding, hair falling out, and weight gain. Yep. That’s VERY effective birth control. All of those things make me feel like Eddie Izzard’s comment on puberty – looking in the mirror thinking “Well, *I* wouldn’t shag me, that’s for sure.”
If I do decide to get an IUD again later on (which would be post-Eventual Second Baby), I’m girding myself with bottles of Aleve and getting the Paragard. My system clearly can’t handle its hormones being effed with.
None of the research I’ve done brings up seizure (specifically amongst epileptic patients, not new-onset seizures) as a possible side effect of the IUD, which is why I was really, really skeptical to get it taken out and it really took the seizures crossing the line into disruptive for me to do so. Of course, my medication dosage has been upped so I’ll never know for sure if the IUD contributed to the breakthrough seizures, but I will put it out there that I don’t think it helped and if an epileptic woman were to hypothetically ask my recommendation, I’d recommend the non-hormonal IUD. I do also know epileptic women who have really loved the Mirena, so, y’know. Crapshoot.
It’s only been two days that I’ve had the new brain-control regime, but I’m already starting to feel better. One of the things that happens to me when I have seizures on a regular basis is that I lose my ability to think clearly. Hence my also losing my ability to blog regularly. I know that I was foggy for a while there – especially when I wondered whether one of my husband’s standard one-line emails (because why write an actual paragraph when one line will do? The man is totally into the whole brevity thing, to a fault.) was passive-aggressive. Which… would be so out of character it would be like Batman deciding to take tap dancing lessons. So. Putting THAT behind me is for the best.
I’d like to put in a shout-out to said husband for being really amazingly wonderful while I get this sorted out. He’s come home from work a bit early, skipped social things, hung out around the house with The Whuff while I nap or lie on the couch and moan… just amazing, amazingly helpful. Even more kudos go out to my own mama who has been coming down from Vermont (a little over an hour away) to manage the Whuffle a few times per week for me to get extra naps in to try and soothe the brain. The number one thing that helps me get back on track after a period of increased seizure activity is increased nap activity and between the two of them, I’ve been able to do that even if Mr. Whuffles hasn’t been completely compliant. I’m amazingly blessed to have them and amazingly lucky that we ended up living so close to my family this year.
In the spirit of increased nap activity, we’ve postponed Easter until next Saturday. We’re still going put The Whuff in a sweater vest and give him some stuffed bunnies to chew on, but he’s young enough to have absolutely no idea what’s going on – so he doesn’t know that his peers are getting their own bunnies today. He also has no idea that things like jellybeans and the Cadbury Eggs that mama’s been eating like the madness are even options. So, we’ll go up to Vermont next weekend and put bunny ears on the baby and take ten thousand dopey pictures. This weekend has been devoted to Nap-a-Thon 2012, which I must say has been going swimmingly.
I’m going to take advantage of the fact that for once, Whuff’s napping and I’m not, and perhaps eat something other than a Cadbury egg. Or maybe, more accurately, something in addition to a Cadbury egg.