First of all, it's important to determine exactly what these spells are. If they are not truly seizures (abnormal stimulation or excitement of the brain), then management of the episodes with antiseizure medications may not be the best course of treatment as the meds themselves carry side effects (as you have experienced first hand). Glad that the MRI is normal. But further testing may be necessary such as admission to an epilepsy monitoring unit where you're continuously hooked up to an EEG and video monitor for a few days to catch one of these episodes. If there is no EEG change with the episode, then it's very unlikely to be a seizure. Atypical migraines may also present with similar symptoms, which may be a consideration for you as you've had headaches with some of the episodes. TIA or mini stroke is also a possibility if you have cardiac or stroke risk factors. However, if it turns out that it is truly a seizure in which you maintain complete awareness throughout, it may be a complex partial seizure which would respond better to meds such as Keppra or Trileptal. Talk to your docs and consider an epilepsy monitoring unit at a major academic hospital for a more definitive workup. Good luck.
In my experience yes it is normal to have some memory loss and headaches that surround the event. My seizures begin in the Right Temporal Lobe area and are usually petit mal seizures but at other times have become grand mal. I am on Lamictal and it is controling mine very well. The Neurologists tried me on about 8 different meds before they found that lamictal, in the right dose, works for me.
Surrounding events I have auditory aphasia, very sensitive to noises, speech difficulties, mobility difficulties, etc. In other words, when I have one I basically shut down and it takes about 3 days to get back to normal. Everybody is different though, but I wanted you to know that these things can be normal for the kind of seizures that you have depending on where they are. I hope things get better for you. Chad
Thank you for your interest, however, I am not experiencing petit mal seizures. I only suffer slight memory loss and sometimes speak words that appear right but don't exist in the english language. Also I am totally cognizant of everything around me. I am not sensitive to anything such as light, noise, etc. My neurologist only diagnosed seizure for want of a better term. I really don't know how effective the lamictal is but it possibly is keeping me from having petit mal or grand mal seizures. Who knows? Right now we're searching for the cause. Thanks so much for your reply and I wish you well with your problem now and in the future. Gary
I have had hundreds of partial complex seizures over the past four years. In most cases I can hear people talking but cannot move or respond. In some cases I can utter a few short words like, don't touch me. Or I'll be alright in a while. I also have had these turn to grand mal where I don't remember anything and did not even realize I had a seizure until someone told me.
They usually come in a series of two or three and last anywhere from 2-15 minutes each. I am totally incoherent afterwards and speak a language that sounds like Native American Indian. I know it fluently now, although it took six months or more to develop after each seizure. During post ictal I'll babble in Indian and will not respond in English at all.
The seizures began from alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens, DT'S. I was detoxed with 12 mg's of Klonopin and now take about 8 mg's a day to sustain stability. I have bad side effects from the other anti-convulsant drugs. I have not had a seizure, that I remember in two months. My Neuro said Klonopin is best for Temporal Lobe Seizures.
It is interesting that you speak another language too. When I tell my Doc's they don't seem interested. It's like, whatever!
My seizures are mostly tonic-clonic, meaning all my muscles go stiff like isometrics and I cannot move and then I start shaking violently. Usually I am only half conscious but often can hear things around me but cannot respond. They are very painful and I feel like garbage for several days as you mentioned due to the muscle spasms for the long duration of time and spaciness afterwards.
If you would like to talk about it further, please give an email or I'll give you mine and I would like to hear more about your experiences. Take care and good luck.
As a post script to the original question I posed, I am also mildly diabetic with slightly high cholesterol and triglycerides and am taking medication for all of the above. My last fasting blood sugar test (two weeks ago) shows acceptable cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. My blood pressure is within limits. I have been dieting, working out, and walking daily as a regimen in order to lose excess weight. I am wondering if maybe some of the medication I am taking is having an adverse effect on my system and causing these "episodes". Any helpful response will be greatly appreciated.
"Complex partial seizures affect a larger area of the brain and they also affect consciousness.
During a complex partial seizure, a person cannot interact normally with other people, is not in control of his movements, speech, or actions; doesn't know what he's doing; and cannot remember afterwards what happened during the seizure.
Although someone may appear to be conscious because he stays on his feet, his eyes are open and he can move about, it will be an altered consciousness, a dreamlike, almost trancelike state."
I wouldn't say this was "complete awareness".
Clarification: Did not mean to imply that all complex partial seizures were characterized by complete awareness. Textbook definitions clearly do state that consciousness is impaired in that type of seizure. However, in our experience at the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center we have seen some patients who state that they do remain completely cognizant of things happening around them (especially with right hemispheric epilepsy) and are able to recall details or words given to them during the seizure, they just cannot interact normally.
Thanks for your answer. I too have become quite fluent with some of the words I utter, however, mine are words that seem as though they should be in the english language but aren't. I recall using the word "resson" to my wife. She replied that that word is not in the english language. I, on the other hand, was soooo sure of myself that I wrote it down. When I came down off my "so-called" seizure I looked at the word and said, "What the hell does that mean?" I remember saying it but as I said it isn't anywhere in the english language. I don't blank out, however, I did on the first "seizure". They still come but each one is progressively less than the last. I don't particularly feel crappy after each "episode", but I am tired for the rest of the day. These "episodes", as I like to call them, only occur in the morning after a restless night's sleep and are preceeded by a pain in my left temple. I don't have any muscle spasms, it's just like a small "brain fart" (pardon my French). I never had a drinking or drug problem so I never went through de-tox. Neither I nor my doctors know what's causing these "episodes" so they're calling them "seizures" for want of a better term. I appreciate your interest and I look forward to corresponding with you further. I will ask my doctor about the medication you're taking. Perhaps it will work for me. I wish you well with your problems and I truly commend you for the sacrifice and pain you had to suffer in your de-tox. Good luck. Gary
Thank you for your reply to my posting. When you find out the cause of your episodes please let me know. I would be very interested in hearing what the doctors find! If they indeed turn out to be seizures and you need to talk about it any further let me know. I have experienced all of the things that you are talking about. Well, the language thing is a little different for me but I have had a BIG list of things that I go through when I have them, because they sometimes originate and then go to other parts of the brain and include all different parts and functions of the brain.
Seizures can be very hard sometimes to diagnose. The EEG monitoring for an extended period of time in the hospital is good but I knew of one woman that had that test five different times in the hospital and on the fifth time on her last day, the dr. said, "you do NOT have seizures!" (you have to know this dr.) but she passed out and had a tonic clonic seizure that sent the EEG wild.
Seizures can present themselves in countless ways. I hope that all turns out well and that this truly is not seizures, but that it will be something easily resolved. Best Wishes...Chad
Thank you Doc,
I have those types where most of the time I am semi-conscious but cannot move or respond. I also have had the complete unconscious type but most I am in my subconscious and hearing what is happening around me and can remember most of it.
I HAVE HEARD OF SOMETHING CALLED ABSENCE SEIZURES. I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THEM BUT I HAVE HEARD THAT SOME SYMPTOMS ARE DAZED LOOK ON FACE, NONERESPONSIVE, SHORTTERM MEMORY LOSS, BUT NO CONVULSIONS. I THOUGHT OF ABSENCE SEIZURES WHEN I READ "BRAIN FART" BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THIS TYPE OF SEIZURES SEEM LIKE.
A related discussion, Seizures or Mini Strokes?