Candra Murphy’s Story
The day earth stood still.
April 2010 was a typical day, like any other for an office admin. I woke up, showered, got dressed, grabbed a bite, and drove to work. I started my day with data entry, plugging in site plans. I felt a bit drowsy, grabbed a cup of coffee & sat back at my desk continuing to complete my tasks. Feeling a bit funny, again got up for a drink of water… filling my cup was literally the last thing I remember. About 30 minutes later I essentially ‘woke up’ confused, in tears witnessing a nurse prodding me with needles. Coldly scolding me she needed blood samples, her bedside manner could’ve been worse, I guess. Suddenly there was doctor standing over me, trying to help me regain consciousness. Informing me he needed to run further testing but was sure I had a tonic clonic, aka grand mal or convulsive seizure. He ran a CAT scan & informed me I needed to follow up with a Neurologist asap for ‘further testing’. Still confused, headache, with sore muscles head to toe, I took his directions to heart. All while longing to just see my husband to hold & comfort me. I needed his shoulder more than ever to cry on & feel safe from all the chaos that just took place. Never before that moment did I have a reason to think about, much less fear death. I was a 23 year old successful business woman, a newlywed who just bought a hone & felt on top of the world. *This* wasn’t suppose to happen, not now, I kept thinking,
“Why me, why anyone?”
Well, I took the week off, followed up with a Neurologist because I didn’t want to have that *experience* again. Not ever. The Dr. ran a series of tests, checked my thyroid, checked my blood sugar levels all was fine. So he conducted for me to have a MRI where they injected green dye into my blood stream as well as an EEG. For those unfamiliar, an EEG is like an EKG but for brain waves. Turns out, according to the EEG, I was having mini seizures throughout the test known as complex partial seizures. My Dr. doesn’t know why but it’s believed to have something to do with a venous angioma the MRI picked up in my brain. So, from that point I began treatment plans. My Dr. instructed I take a med called carbamazapine (say that 10xfast) aka tegretol. All worked according to plan.
2011 – A few months passed & I started thinking hey, I’m fine maybe. So I became less strict with my meds, SHAME on me. When Super Bowl Sunday came, I got up had my coffee, screwed around on MySpace while eating gummies at around 11ish am. Again came that funny feeling, so I got up to tell dh…
I wake up (come to) feeling sore as hell to the Green bay packers kick off. Had another grand mal, didn’t remember a thing, over 7 hours had passed! My dog was curled next to me, scared for me yet protective at the same time. Never again did I skip a dose! I was more than ever convinced the Doctors knew what they were talking about. I finally without shadow of a doubt believed them. It was at that moment it clicked, I in fact now live with epilepsy. Just breathe.
Well a few days pass & realized hey! My cycle is late! Happy dance! Maybe 2011 will be a good year. Got settled with an OB, go to my first appt. Then second appointment, it’s now March, my 24th birthday & get to celebrate at the OB. All’s good but my OB explains the concerns of my meds while pregnant. Got home got to the weekend. Went to see my hubby at work, at the time he worked as a team race tech, requiring a great deal of travel time. Very exciting but still a light weekend for a mom to be. Sunday rolls around, notice spotting, nothing major but call the ob, they asked I come in. Turns out there was no heart beat, I lost jelly bean at 9 weeks. Devastated, I called my husband, he was on the road, I just sobbed with the news. He came home & went to the D&C together. It was horrific as most ladies will attest to. The ob insisted I change my med to another, in his opinion, considerably safer one in pregnancy. He gave me a recommendation to a new neurologist. So should I become pregnant again, the risk of m/c & birth defects were lessened per the OB opinion.
It’s now June 2011
Follow up with new neurologist, he goes through my records explains various game plan options. We decided zonegran would be a good fit. So I made the switch… about a week or two went by, I became mental like a light switch. One minute I was okay the next I had my husband putting hurricane shutters up because I feared someone would break in. I was afraid to eat or drink because I thought it was all poisoned. My family called my neurologist, he switched me to keppra. Which made things a ton worse. I crashed into a pole due to severe psychological adverse reactions leaving me completely out of control of myself & who I am. First thank GOD no one else was hurt… I was alive but I suffered a great deal of bruising and a crushed ankle. God this is tough to type… I sat in a mental hospital for a week with a crushed ankle requiring surgery. I’m lucky to still have my foot much less still be alive & walking. As soon as we could, got into a real psychiatrist, he took me off keppra asap & ordered me back on carbamazapine. As soon as the medicine was out of my system and fully back on carbamazapine I was stable, I was me again, back in control of myself & fully cognizant. I underwent surgery, the ortho saved my foot & the ability to *walk* again. It took over a year of therapy but I walk! Amidst all the chaos, Sean & I became pregnant sept. 2011 with our daughter. My pregnancy with her literally saved me after all the bs & gave me focus and purpose.
The point of sharing. Is, idk, take the best of what you can. We all have a story, our life’s horrors we overcome. But try to remember there’s more to a condition than meets the eye, there’s more to a pill than just swallowing daily. Especially pills that effect your neurosis. Those warning labels aren’t just there for fun, it’s real, it’s serious, keep a log & open line of communication with your doctors & family. There are many like myself with this condition who suffer from both adverse side effects & seizures, still simply unable to control the condition. That’s literally fighting every second of every day to live, my prayers are with you.
I call this portion of my life, the day earth stood still because that’s exactly how it felt.
I’m incredibly lucky, blessed & thankful to God to now live a normal, healthy productive life & seizure free going on two and a half years & refuse to switch from carbamazapine.
In the photo, you see my hubby and me on race day.