“My life was amazing.”
I recently shared my story in front of a room of strangers about why you should plan for your business, and your personal life.
In 2018, I spoke on a panel about SEO and how my blog, Surprise AZ Mom, was reaching thousands of people across the country. I had just started this blog, Fit Families Phoenix, and was running my real estate business as well. In addition to this, I was homeschooling our three children, helping my husband with his business and training for a third half marathon.
I was feeling great. I sometimes felt tired, but it was nothing an extra cup of coffee couldn’t fix.
Things started to get a little murky.
In August of 2018, my husband caught a cold and then I followed up with that cold too. I thought nothing of it, and just tried to rest. It is hard to do when you are a mom, but I would put on the TV in the afternoon for the kids and try to take a nap or go over to my parents with the kids and take a nap. Little by little, I was getting more and more tired. But, I had things to do and reviews to go to, so like any mom, I shook it off.
The Day My Life Changed
September 1st, 2018 started like a normal weekend day. I had a lot of blogging stuff to do, so my husband (who had been traveling a lot) took the kids to the community pool for a bit. I did some work at home and joined them a little later. I saw a friend at the pool and mentioned to her that I was tired, and she laughed and said “maybe it’s baby number four”.
No, no no no!
It was a hot day, as they are in Arizona in September, and we headed home. I started feeling tired again and nauseas, so I went upstairs. I thought to myself “maybe I need iron” so I took two iron pills. Not the wisest choice, but I then threw them up. I laid down near the toilet because the feeling of nausea wouldn’t go away, and my husband made dinner.
A little while later, I started feeling extremely paranoid. I had never felt paranoid before, but knew something was extremely wrong. I called to my husband, but my youngest child came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I asked him to go get daddy. I started screaming and my husband couldn’t get me to calm down.
At this point, my husband knew something was very, very wrong.
I also was afraid to go down the stairs. The same stairs that I had gone up and down for four and a half years, I wouldn’t walk down.
My husband convinced me to slide down the stairs on my butt, which I did, and he helped me out the door to the car. I then got nervous that the police were after me. And that our kids were not safe. My brain was not working with me.
When we got to the hospital, which is about 6 miles away from our home, I was no longer able to walk on my own. My movements were sluggish and uncontrolled. My body, that had one month earlier been training for a half marathon, could no longer control itself to walk into a building on its own.
My husband helped carry me to the triage area, while also instructing our three children 9,6 and 5, where to go and trying to keep them safe. I reached the triage area and the nurse asked me my name, birthday and my symptoms.
I was unresponsive.
I started to stare and be unaware of my surroundings.
The nurse asked my husband if I had ever had a seizure before, which I hadn’t. And, at that moment I started the first of what would be three Grand Mal/Clonic Tonic seizures of that day.
I was rushed into an ER where many doctors were trying to get the seizure to stop and for me to be safe. A Grand Mal/Tonic Clonic seizure is horrendous to watch, from what I have been told. I don’t remember it at all. My body seized and tensed-every muscle in my body, multiple times-for minutes. My brain was sending impulses everywhere. I was letting out groans, and had no control of my body.
I did not regain consciousness. My husband brought our kids to our house after that immediate seizure and then came back. It looked like I was awake, but I was just staring. I had more seizures and the doctors decided that, in order to prevent more brain damage I would need to be put in a medical coma.
I was in a medical coma for three days. During that time, EEGs were taken to see if I was brain dead. It was very serious and wasn’t looking good.
I was awoken from the coma and I was very foggy. Because I had been intubated, I wasn’t able to speak and signed to my husband “Where is my husband?”. My brain was extremely confused.
For the next few days, I struggled with everything I had been able to do easily before. Using my phone, turning on the TV, speaking and walking were a challenge. My memory only worked in short spurts and I would constantly forget what I was talking about moments before. My family and the doctors were very concerned about what was going on, but were happy I was at least conscious.
I underwent multiple MRIs, Full body X-Rays, 2 spinal taps, constant blood draws and many other tests. Things were starting to look better until September 8th.
The Second Episode
September 8th was one week from the day everything started, and doctors seemed to be positive that all was better. There was talk that I was to be released that day or the following day, until I started to get confused.
The confusion came on suddenly when I turned to my husband and asked him where I lived. He said I had been mid conversation and stopped and looked confused. I suddenly forgot how old I was, where I was, if I was pregnant, how I got to the hospital or why I was there.
My husband called for a nurse, who immediately called for the doctor. At this point, just moments later, my brain started to go on a field trip from my body. I heard music that wasn’t there, tasted things that weren’t there and thought the doctor was an elf. I was afraid that things were coming to get me and I was whisked into yet another MRI and spinal tap.
The doctors found that I had inflammation of the brain and my amygdala and right hippocampus was lighting up like angry fireworks on a hot summer night. There was no stopping whatever was going on, it just kept firing away.
Luckily, I didn’t go into a full grand mal seizure that day, but I was pretty close. Had I not been on some of the heavy hitting drugs I was on, there could have been even more brain damage.
The following days were all about recovery. Things fade in and fade out in memories, but I had a lot of work to do to recover ground I had lost while my brain went on a vacation from my body. Collecting my thoughts and speaking were one of the hardest things to do, as the medications also put me in a fog. Working past the constant feeling of an oncoming seizure was another feeling to get past, as it was new and uncontrolled.
When I was finally released, 16 days later, it was a relief. The new life had just begun. My sentence was at least 3 months of not driving. I figured that I would not be driving for a little while and I’d be back at it after Christmas. I didn’t realize I would continue to have seizures at home. I didn’t realize there would be more tests and no answers to what caused the seizures to begin with.
After numerous tests, there is still no known cause to my seizures. I found out that I have
I take a lot of medication to keep me from having seizures. However, my brain is uncloudy and I am able to do almost everything I did before, except drive and drink alcohol. I gave up coffee and caffeine. I no longer consume dairy (most days). I don’t miss the caffeine and the jittery feelings it gave me, nor do I miss the taste or feeling of alcohol. I haven’t started running again, but practice yoga and do long walks and hikes.
I hope that a cause will be found for all of this. While my scans came back clean for cancers, I will continue to be monitored in the future. I am thankful that I was able to regain my independence and my functioning and am hopeful to go back to doing all the things I was doing before.