As we approach my last half marathon for the year and my 2018 challenge comes to an end, I thought I would give you all an update on how I am getting on with my seizures.
To recap, at the start of the year I suddenly started to have seizures, these at the time looked to be epileptic in nature and I started medication to try and stop them. Before the seizures started I was having a bout of depression, this comes and goes over time, but my doctor had started me on an antidepressant, one that I had before, but the seizures seemed to start a few weeks after starting it.
The hospital kept increasing the anti-seizure medication that I was taking, they stopped the anti-depressant and I was started on an alternative. One thing I can definitely say is that the medication made my legs feel like I was walking and running through treacle. This had a dramatic effect on my running, it just became really hard. The first two half marathons in the year I couldn’t complete, and the ones after were really hard to complete. I pushed through though and got them done.
After undergoing an in-depth EEG and a week-long ambulatory EEG, I was found not to be having Epileptic Seizures, the diagnosis was changed to Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder or NEAD for short.
NEAD seizures present exactly the same as epilepsy although their cause is not from erroneous electrical activity in the brain, they are caused by psychological factors instead.
After receiving this new diagnosis, I am, at the time of writing, on the waiting list to see a Neuropsychologist who will hopefully get to the bottom of what is causing the seizures. The anti-seizure medication that was prescribed for me has no effect on NEAD seizures, so I have been slowly weaned off it. I am no down to a very low dose and hope to come off it completely in the next couple of weeks.
Where are we now?
As I reduce the medication, I think this has had a dramatic effect on my running, for the better! I’m finding that my legs now feel a lot lighter when I run and I don’t get as tired. In fact, at the last half marathon that I ran in Conwy, I found it much easier, I was nowhere near a tired and I got my second fastest time of the year, this includes the elevation gain of over 500m during the race which I have not encountered previously this year!
I think moving forward once I have stopped taking the medication altogether, I will find that I get back to my old self when it comes to getting out here and hitting the streets. Also, I am experimenting with using Mindfulness to control my anxiety and depression, this is something that I will cover in a future post.
I think that next year will be a better year for me and I hope to better my half marathon times by doing a lot more speed work during my training sessions.