How I "Healed" My Epilepsy to Become Seizure Free
I’m sure anyone who is epileptic or knows someone who is epileptic will agree: the 6 month no-seizure mark feels amazing! When I hit 6 months seizure free I was so excited, but still not feeling my best. Even though I wasn’t having seizures, my stomach was a mess, I was groggy, and I still had awful chronic migraines.
Now though, I’m 6 months seizure free...OFF MEDS! I cannot even explain the bliss and freedom I feel now. I have been on a stream of different meds for almost 8 years(!) and I am finally starting to feel like myself again off of a few of them.
So, how did I manage to do that? I’ve written about a lot of specific things that have been making me feel better, but I think there were 4 main things that really turned things around for me:
Diet Change: Changing my diet was why I started this blog! I saw a huge difference in how I felt once I started the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, so I wanted to document what else was working for me here. It was a hard and emotional change for me, but I started feeling better almost instantly. I don’t even think of eating another way now and I have no desire to cheat. Some background: I ate a very strict no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no sugar diet for about 30 days, kind of like Whole30 after I got stomach ulcers and it made me feel so much better. I slowly added things back in and I’ve found what works for me! Now, I don’t touch dairy (except goat cheese) or gluten, I try to minimize grains, and I work really hard to avoid added sugar. The way I approach my now diet is to try to eat mostly whole foods that I cook for myself.
Care Less: The biggest thing that has given me the mental and emotional space to let my body heal is to stop giving a shit what other people think - particularly at work. I am a Type A, recovering perfectionist, so needing to have accommodation and to “take it easy” in order to reduce stress was so hard for me. I felt like my bosses thought I wasn’t a hard worker, even though I was and am good at my job. But, as soon as I let that mentality go, my body started to heal. I made that switch by having a talk with my new boss when she was hired. I was straight forward with what I needed to do for my health, but reiterated that my illnesses would in no way affect my job performance. Saying this out loud to her (and honestly to myself) was like a weight lifting off my shoulders. Once I stopped “playing the game” to climb the corporate ladder, I allowed myself to focus on healing.
Practice Mindfulness: This goes hand in hand with my “Care Less” tip, but I think it’s important to talk about mindfulness on it’s own. My symptoms are often triggered by stress - I’ll lose my hair, my joints will swell, and I’ll have seizures; not to mention the hives, fatigue, and inability to get out of bed because of pain. So, I have to try to keep my stress as low as possible. For the most part I’ve gotten much better at this like I mentioned before, but it wasn’t just about not caring what others at work thought of my work style. I have struggled with anxiety for a long time in my personal life as well which is flared by so many things, from commuting on the subway to waiting for my husband to come home if he’s working late. However, things like therapy, meditation, exercising, and spending time with my loved ones really help ground me. So, it’s important that I prioritize being mindful and aware of what I need both physically and mentally in order to continue to heal!
Exercise: When I changed my diet I started to feel well enough and have enough energy to work out. I started with yoga, which has been game changing! It loosens my joints and gets synovial fluid moving, which helps with the inflammation and pain that I have. I loved it so much that I did the Yoga Teacher Training to become a Certified Yoga Teacher! Once I finished my training I realized I wanted to feel even stronger, so I got a gym membership and have been starting to learn how to lift weights and do more cardio. I have been loving feeling stronger and seeing muscle definition, BUT I will say that the soreness is real and sometimes I feel like it exacerbates joint pain. For me this means I have to be careful with how much I do in one session and how much I can realistically push myself. But I know that weight bearing activities help promote bone density and slows bone loss down, so it’s all about finding a good balance at this point!