Semester 3 + Neuro Update

Three semesters down, three to five more to go. This semester went very, very well all around. Academic highlights include a 4.16 GPA, and being asked to TA for a course next semester.

The biggest medical highlight was only four seizures in the total four month span, which is much better than the three or four seizures that I averaged per month in the 2013-2014 academic year. While I am not, and have not been 100% seizure-free since 2007, I am very pleased with the decreased rate at which the seizures have been occurring. It feels freeing to not have to expect clusters of them popping up all of the time.

I’d like to start to plan my life with the possibility of seizures one day being out of the picture. I asked my neurologist if she thought that I could taper off of my seizure medications one day. Unfortunately, as soon as I asked, she bluntly responded (with kindness in her voice and eyes, though) that that was very unlikely to become an option. I cried a little bit, and I nodded. I understand that epilepsy is a lifelong condition. But, in all honesty, I never imagined life without it until the seizures started to decrease as much as they have. It’s hard to be let down about the possibility of good news when I’m so used to simply accepting the unpreventable bad news.

Today’s appointment also brought up the possibility of a PET scan. I had my one and only PET scan two years ago, just before my surgery. My insurance changes at the end of the month, so now would be the time to have one if there were ever a time. On the most basic level, PET scans show you the metabolic grade of the cells, whereas MRIs show you a picture of where the tumor is hiding. My neurologist always covers all of her bases and is extra cautious, and I appreciate that. She is going to check with the neurosurgeon I once saw in Michigan, Dr. M, who she happens to be friends with, and let me know what he thinks just to have another brain in the mix. I emailed Dr. B to ask about what he thought, and he responded within 30 minutes saying that “I see no value in a pet scan.” That’s a pretty powerful statement. With that being said, if Dr. M doesn’t think that the extra scan is really necessary, then I’ll continue to just stick with the every-four-months MRI plan as Dr. B has recommended. I have my next MRI scan scheduled for the end of this month, actually. And, given Dr. B’s certainty in his response, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do even after I hear Dr. M’s response about the PET scan.

At the end of the day, my neurologist spent two hours with me, and for the third time now, I have been the last person in the office when they close. She is someone who really cares about her patients. She recorded today’s appointment in part of a study a company is doing with her practice to create better physician-patient interaction and discharge plans. The appointment resulted in the decision to change taking the 250mg of regular Keppra that I take at night, to taking 250mg of extended release Keppra in the morning. This makes sense, because the four seizures I have had this semester have all taken place during the day. She also recommended that I have another EEG, but I passed. I’ve had three or four EEGs over the past five years, and I always end up spending five days in the hospital for nothing.

I’m going to take the free time I have outside of doctor’s appointments during the rest of this month off to curl up with a few good books, and to enjoy all that Netflix has to offer.