Monday, January 2, 2012

Decreasing another medication: Risk of epilepsy?

I'm currently cutting my anticonvulsant prescription in half. Though I haven't spoken with my shrink about this (he's was away over Christmas and then I'm away when he's back), I feel confident in my decision. Doesn't mean I'm any less scared though.

Anticonvulsants also serve as mood stabilizers. I'm not worried about my mood changing... I feel as though I can keep a good eye on that. It's the convulsant part. After years of ECT treatment, which forces you to have a seizure in order to move around the gray matter in your brain (they still don't know HOW it works, but hey - why not just fuck with people's brains to give it a shot - literally), I began to have seizures on my own. Except at the time, I didn't know they were seizures, because they were hallucinatory episodes where I could predict what would happen in the following 5 minutes. Turns out they were temporal lobe seizures. On an epilepsy site which explains the different types, they do a great job of explaining what it can feel like:

"I get the strangest feeling—most of it can't be put into words. The whole world suddenly seems more real at first. It's as though everything becomes crystal clear. Then I feel as if I'm here but not here, kind of like being in a dream. It's as if I've lived through this exact moment many times before. I hear what people say, but they don't make sense. I know not to talk during the episode, since I just say foolish things. Sometimes I think I'm talking but later people tell me that I didn't say anything. The whole thing lasts a minute or two."   

Except mine involved visual hallucinations of an woman on the left side of my face, who I can't really describe except to say that she was pure evil. She used to try to entice me somewhere... I still don't know where. Absolutely horrifying.

I am terrified that if I cut this medication completely, she will return, as will the epilepsy.  I won't drop it off completely until I speak with my doctor at the beginning of February, but I have one more week at 75% and then in a week, I will have made it to half my dose. I have been on this medication since 2000.

I figure as I am taking a TTC break AND going on vacation, this is the best time to try. In pregnancy, the medication is relatively safe, though there has been some cases of cleft palates and cleft lips. If I can minimize that risk, all the better. It's just a scary time...
Speaking of breaks, the clinic opens again tomorrow after the Christmas break. And I don't think I've ovulated yet (forgot to test until CD14, though I'm usually about CD17. Tomorrow will be CD18). Technically, we could probably do an IUI this week before going to Mexico. Though I think I've sat with the forced break enough to be okay with it - maybe even looking forward to it. Perhaps I'll take the break and come back nice and relaxed from vacation, and get nice and knocked up on my return.


  1. I would leave a message for your shrink just to make sure it is okay to lower dose. I guess the worst that could happen is you would feel something and start taking more right away. Scary thoughts for you. This must be so hard to do everything right to get pregnant but I know it will happen. Enjoy your vacation and actually it might work to do an IUI before you go away as you would be relaxed at least and not watching the clock and days. Happy New Year. I wish it were easier for you to get pregnant.

  2. Wow, what a scary step to take. I hope it goes smoothly--and knowing you could go back up on your dose if necessary is probably reassuring. I'd say take the break and enjoy your vacation!

  3. I commend you for your courage to take what you feel is the nest step towards your goal. Good Luck