Stepping Out of the EMU

I’m free! Well, almost.

After 11 days in Winnipeg’s Health Science Centre’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, I’m being released tomorrow.

It seems like yesterday when I arrived at the EMU and a technician glued 37 nodules to my skull, and then I was led to my little room.


I had two provoked seizures. My usual: awake, aware and talking for 50 per cent of the time. And a different kind: a tonic-clonic seizure. Awake for 10 seconds, falling unconscious, then responding but no one’s home.

Believe it or not, the latter was less scary. During my focal aware seizures, it feels as though you can’t breathe – even thought you are. But when you’re unconscious, as my epileptologist says, you’re spared the time through the hourglass.

I’m back on my regular dose of medication – with a topper yesterday after the tonic-clonic seizure – known as “stat-ones.” I giggled before tipping those back, still a little loopy from the Ativan.

My epileptologist can conclude without a doubt, yes, I do have epilepsy.

Actually, the first thing he said to me yesterday was, “Congratulations! You gave us seizure activity.”

We weren’t sure. Were my seizures caused by PTSD? Extreme anxiety? Narcolepsy?

The area of my brain causing the seizures is tiny. There’s a teeny scar from my last tumour extraction. In two months, I’ll review my results with my epileptologist and explore options. Surgery? Another medication revamp? Or stay the course. But at least we have the preliminary answers.

As a two-time brain tumour survivor with seizures, I’ve always felt like an asterisk. Non-malignant. Low-grade. Nickel-size. I know the reason I have seizures.

Whenever someone learns I’m a survivor, I minimize it. But truth be told, anything extra in your head isn’t cool. A tumour is squashing a prime piece of real estate.

I consider myself lucky to be left with only seizures. When I’m having them, I may not seem grateful. However, I’d rather be here than not.

So, I can’t wait to return to Arborg tomorrow. Sleep in my bed. And hopefully prepare for my skating competition on April 2.

If I can get this cement off my head.

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