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Avatar universal

Seizure Disorder?

I'm not sure if seizure disorder and epilepsy are the same these days?  I'm a 43 year old female, no history of seizures, 2 year survivor of breast cancer, which made the discovery of benign cysts in my left temporal lobe.  6 months ago I started having severe headaches with almost stroke like symptoms with neurological deficits associated with them as well as an elevation in my stress levels.  All my doctors tell me I have more stress in my life than they've seen in a while. I understand that stress can make seizures worse, so I wanted to explain that part first.  I have 2 children, a 17 year old with Down syndrome and autism and an 8 year old with an IQ of 139 and severe ADHD. Just 2 weeks out of radiation therapy for breast cancer I moved from Illinois to Texas and bought a house with my in-laws, supposedly to split the responsibilities and bills.  After 5 months MIL had quadrulple by-pass and quit doing anything except belitting everyone else in the family, thus bringing up post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in me from abuse from my childhood (not physical, so that rules out blows to the head that I'm aware of). I and both my children have celiac disease and she does the cooking, while I do the cleaning and laundry.  She is constantly trying to raise my children for me in front of me and behind my back, as is FIL, to the point that they dole out punishments without asking permission from me or my husband.  My neurologist put me on 100 mg (gradually) of Topamax due to a history of migraines.

That's it for the back ground.  My question concerns the 48 hour EEG I had.  It was abnormal, but I had both children with me when it was discussed so I didn't get to ask too many questions and the doctor doesn't want to see me for 3 months.  First, is seizure disorder and epilepsy the same thing? My neurologist is in the process of raising the dose of Topamax to 200 mg, and gave me the precautions to take for seizure disorders, and said see ya in 3 months.

And here's the Impression paragraph:
This is an abnormal EEG monitoring.  Mainly during wakefulness there are intermittent bilteral and shifting bursts and short trains of alpha and theta waves with sharp component and sharp waves, and intermittent delta waves seen, left more than the right, mainly in posterier regions.  This record is compatible with irritative dysfunction of the brain.  The greatest involvement is in the  posterior regions, left more than the right.

Any explanations would be greatly appreciated.
9 Responses
Avatar universal
seizure disorder is essentially the same as epilepsy. once you have two or more seizures, you are diagnosed with epilepsy. the term seizure disorder is just a nicer term for epilepsy.

stress can exacerbate seizures - that is correct.

the cysts in your temporal lobe are probably nothing, but if there are multiple cysts, maybe you should ask your doctor if they are related to the epilepsy.

i am not a pro with reading EEGs, so I won't comment on the last part. although it's interesting that the greatest involvement is in the posterior regions on the left  - maybe it has something to do with the cysts - but this is just a guess.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments.  I did see a neurosurgeon who said I was probably born with the cysts and didn't think they had anything to do with the neurological symptoms I was having, of course, he also thought they were migrainous events, so go figure.  For something to show up on the EEG while I was on 100 mg of Topamax a day I guess means I'm having pretty much daily seizures, right?  I had 2 incidences of smelling oatmeal while hooked up and I have daily incidences of numbness across my temples and cheek bones, sometimes tingling across the tops of my cheeks, depending on how much stress I've been under, and how icy MIL has been that day, usually right before it's time for my dose of topamax.
Avatar universal
Can anyone explain the neurological symptoms?  Originally what sent me to the neurologist in the first place was they were different than any migraine I've ever had and I thought I was having a stroke.  My face would go numb across my cheekbones and temples and I would get confusion and would lose words.  If I was driving, I wouldn't know where I was until I saw a road sign, but nothing would look familiar, I would just know if I took this road it would lead to that road and take me home. Sometimes the numbness would go down the right arm.  It always started on the left side of my face, but sometimes traveled to the right side of the face.  I also got really disoriented and dizzy and sometimes had an upset stomach, but never really had a headache.  Sometimes I'd get what I always called pings of lights every where.  Are these part of the simple partial seizures?  Sometimes I smell oatmeal before my face goes numb/tingly.  But a couple times I ate cheese before setting off a migraine and had the same smelling weird things, then getting diahrea, then waking up with a migraine.  I'm just so confused and under so much stress.  I don't know whether it's stress, post traumatic stress disorder, seizures or migraines and the doctors aren't really much help.  All I know is stress makes it worse, and there's not much stress relief when you don't know what's going on.
Avatar universal
Those all sound exactly like simple partial seizures.

Auras are also associated with migraines, so they may produce the same symptoms.

Stress triggers both migraines and seizures. Incidentally, eating certain foods can sometimes trigger migraines, but not seizures.

Maybe your having a mix of migraines and simple partial seizures.
Avatar universal
Thanks.  Is there anything besides meds that helps with simple partial seizures? And besides watching your stress levels?  I would think if I'm having simple partial seizures every other day to 3 a week they would be more concerned than they are.  They don't want to see me for 3 months? Isn't this doing damage?  Am I just waiting for these to become complex, involving more areas of the brain, or to become tonic-clonic?
Avatar universal
Those kinds of seizures don't really do much damage. It's a controversial topic though, but repeated grand-mal seizures or cases of status epilepticus are generally the types of seizures that cause damage in the long run. simple partial seizures will no necessarily morph into complex or tonic-clonic seizures. Many people simply have simple partial seizures restricted to a certain part of the brain.
Avatar universal
Thanks, that in itself relieves a bit of stress.  I worry that a bunch of simple partial seizures is doing slow brain damage. So, when my stress level goes down, generally speaking, and the med does gets right, they should go away?  That's good to know.  My stress level will go down dramatically as soon as I get we sell this house and the in-laws get their own house!
Avatar universal
hi, stress exacerbates seizures, but lowering your stress levels may not necessarily stop your seizures - it may lower the frequency of your seizures, though.

lamictal, neurontin, and vegabitrin and tegretol (in particular) are good to control simple partial seizures.

topamax is generally use as adjunctive therarpy. maybe you should switch anti-convulsant drugs.
Avatar universal
I'm sure he just started with Topamax because he wasn't sure if it was migraines or seizures and Topamax treated both, right?  And since I have both, and it treats both, better one than 2.  The migraines have stopped if I stay away from cheese.  Does over-working exacerbate seizures?  I helped my brother-in-law move Monday, was a bit late getting my meds Monday night and generally felt like **** all day yesterday (Tuesday) and even though I was on schedule with my meds I went to bed with the trailing lights (meaning when I move my eyes really fast I get lights briefly that go away on the edge of my perception - hard to explain, but not like migraine lights).  I had them this morning, too, until I took my meds, now their gone.
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