Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is it possible....Seizure Free?!

Many of you know that I have seizures, I am happy to say I haven't had one since 96!!! But with most things you have to take medicines to prevent them from happening again. I started out having seizures when I was pretty young, around 8 or 9. I would just be talking and stare off into the world. My mom would call it "day dreaming" we later found it was seizures. I was having Petit Mal Seizures. With these you just stare off and once you come out of it you forget what you were doing.

As I got older, I "graduated" to the Grand Mal Seizures. These are not so much fun. I remember watching my sisters fish tank that she brought home from college. We got her some neons and dropped them in the tank and they just took off. I remember sitting in a chair just mesmerized by seeing them race to one end and back again. I vagely recall my mom saying "that's enough of watching them, you need to get up." I did as I was told. But that is all that I remember. What happened next?! Well, as I stood up I hit the wall and slide down it. I was having a full blown seizure, not just the "staring out in space" ones.

The ambulance was called, by the time they got to the house I had already had one seizure lasting about 25 minutes and once it had ended I had slid into another one lasting about the same amount of time. I was alert when they arrived and extremely exhausted. I felt as if a mack truck had hit me mulitple times. I had chucks missing out of my tongue from where I bit it.

This wouldn't be the last time of having them. I continued to have them every so often thoughout school. I also remember having to be put on different meds. That was the worst I think. With seizure medications, you can't just stop one and start the other. I felt like a zombie/drug addict. (Not that I know what those are actually like, its how I envision it).

The last one I had was in 1996, since then I haven't had one. Woot Woot! I was hoping I finally "out grew them". In place of the seizures I started having migraines. My neuro at Vanderbilt is simply the best ever!! He changed my meds, first time since 9th grade! Two years ago, he also wanted me to do a 5 day EEG test. Well, I thought I would still be on meds during this test. Nope! They took me off my meds and did all these tests to try and make me have a seizure. I never had one. I was there for 5 days and nothing. They wanted to keep me a week, but I needed to get back to work. If you have ever had an EEG, you know they put that gunk in your hair to hold the electrodes in. Well after 5 days, it was difficult getting it out. I also wasn't allowed to drive for 6 months since I came off my meds. Totally sucks having to ask someone to come pick you up and drive you to work.

Dr. Arain slowly started to drop the dosage on my meds. Finally, I was down to taking one pill!! My last visit to him last month, he told me since I wasn't having any spells or issues and my migraines have gotten better. And its been 16 years since I had a seizure that I could...wait for it............
COME OFF MY MEDICINE!!!!! Eeeeeeek!! I'm so excited but nervous at the same time! So on Monday, I didn't take my medicine. He wants me to take it a month then stop. No more. He told me to decrease it how I felt comfortable. So I am going to gradually stop. Skipping a few days and I'll probably drag it out to 2 months instead of a month. And best of all, I still get to drive. I kept asking him "I'm ok to drive?!" Normally, you can't drive for 6 months to a year. But he said since its been so long that I can still continue to drive. I then asked, "So did I finally out grow seizures?!" He said yes! I am super pumped about this adventure. Don't worry, if I have any sort of twitch, numbness or anything. I will be calling him!! Promise!

A few myths about seizures...You CAN'T swollow your tongue! The worst that will happen is you use it as a chew toy. It can block the airway, so if you see someone having a seizure put them on their side. Place something under their head, like a jacket. And above all....DO NOT PUT YOUR FINGER IN THEIR MOUTH!!! Especially if you want to keep it. In fact, don't stick anything in their mouth. Just let them have the seizure and call for an ambulance. *This is just from my experience!!*

Monday, October 29, 2012

Training Ends and the Army Ten Miler Begins

Finally October 21 arrived!!!! This was what we had been training for and now it was time to prove we could do it! Ray and I got up early on Saturday morning to go pick up Jessica's mom and catch an early flight to Washington, DC. Normally on flights I tend to read a book but the night before I didn't sleep a wink it seems. I kept going over and over in mind about the race and what needed to be done. So I slept on the plane ride to DC.

We landed at Regan Airport and normally you are left off the plane and put on a bus that takes you to the airport. Well, I guess since we were on a bigger plane we didn't have to do that. Once we landed, I let Jessica know we had landed and would be out shortly. Instead, she wasn't able to reach us because the roads getting to the airport were closed off. So we jumped on the metro and took off to Silver Springs, MD. Thankfully, Jess already picked up my packet, race bib and shirt at the Expo on Friday so we got to just chill back at their apt.

Jess and I got up early on race day and donned our Team Operation Ward 57 shirts to take the metro down to the Pentagon. How cool are these shirts?!

And the back

Here is the front

We were suppose to drive in because Chaz was going to be doing the race as well using a hand crank bike. But instead Chaz had to stay home because he gotten shingles a few days earlier. Since Chaz didn't get to race, I told him I ran for him. :) So Jess and I get up and head off to the race. Once we stepped outside the wind was howling and was pretty cold, my teeth started to chatter. But by the time we got to the Pentagon, it wasn't as bad. However the line to the porta-potty was completely insane!!! One line was going one way, the other line was going around to the ones on the other side. Whoever started those lines had to have been a man. (sorry couldn't resist)
We then took off to our corrals, I was in the last wave and Jess was in the one before me so we took a quick pic and parted ways.
I met up with two other members from Team Operation Ward 57, Laura and Siobhan. And we waited for the start of the race. Everyone was all chattering, you could barely hear what was going at the start line. But then a guy to my left shouted "National Anthem". Everyone got completely silent. Then the cannon shot off for the first wave of runners to take off. Slowly we inched closer and closer to the start line. Finally around 8:25ish we crossed the start line and we were off running!!!
I wanted to start out with a nice pace and not one so fast that I would end up out of steam before ever reaching the finish line. I did walk but not for long. I kept up with the time, because if you weren't at mile 5 by 9:45 then you were put on a bus and taken to the finish line. But even if you reached mile 5 you still had to reach mile 8 by 10:45 or that bus was there waiting on you. I sure didn't want to hitch a ride with the bus after training this long and traveling to DC for this race!!!
The funny part of the race was around mile 7, this lady jogs over to these soldiers and gets a cigarette. Yep, a cigarette!!! She comes beside me and 2 other ladies with it in her hand and continues to jog slowly. We all look at each and end up saying "that seems healthy, I'll just have a smoke and then try to run." This lady goes to the end of the street and stops to finish the cigarette. We all just shook our heads and giggled. I then see a fellow OPW57 team member and shout "Go Jillyan Go". Just a bit in front of me I see Heather and Jess (two more OPW57 team members and Wounded Warrior Wives). Jess whips out her phone and snaps a pic of me running towards them.

I keep running afraid if I stop to walk some I won't start back to running. I must say the water stations here are simply the best!!! At one stop that had water and gatorade, some of the soldiers at the end we shouting "Water Sucks, Gatorade Rocks." They were quite funny. People were constantly shouting or ringing Cow Bells (Shout out to Fisher House). Some would even hold out their hands to give you high fives!!

At mile 8, I sent a text to Ray to let him know where I was at so he could start keeping an eye out for me. However, I almost blew past him before ever realizing it was him and Kathy standing there. I thought he was more down towards the finish line, but he was before it. Here are a few snaps he got of me....

Here is where I almost missed him.

Jess wasn't far behind me... here she is making her way to the finish line!!

I started walking a bit at mile 9ish, until I spotted this Warrior up ahead of me making his way towards the finish line. I automatically picked up my feet and started back to running again. How can you not when you see this warrior not quitting?! Once I got closer, I told him "Thank You for your service. You are doing great!"

Here are a few more shots Ray got while waiting on me....

There were 2 Captain America's running

Here I am finally crossing the finish line!!!!! Woot Woot!!! I finished in 2:23!!!!

After crossing the finish line, I made my way on down to pick up some bananas..wait there were none! But there was water & muffins. Also got to pick up my Finisher Coin too.



After Jess crossed the finish line, we made our way over to the Hooah Tents. On our way we ran into the amazing Tish from Fisher House! She is simply the best!!! She told me next year I should do the Marine Corps Marathon. We shall see if I am crazy enough to do it. ;)
Once we got to the OPW57 tent, we chatted and had our photo taken. Then it was off to hop on the trolley to take us back to the Pentagon so we could get on the Metro. We chilled at the apt for a bit telling Chaz about the race before getting ready to head off to the airport!!
Until next year......... Can't wait to do the race again.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Running for My Life....

Never did I imagine in my life that I would be running a mile let alone a half marathon!!!!! I always hated running! In grade school, we would have Track & Field days. We would all load up on the bus in our school tshirts and take off to the track to compete against the other area schools. I mainly did it to get out of class, like many others I am sure. ;) I mostly did the 4x2 relay and I would "practice" running down my road near my parents house. I would do the track pose like the olympic runners do when they are about to hear the gun go off. That was until a car was coming down the road scaring me to death and I took off running to the house. Needless to say that was my last track & field day.

Then in March of this year, I get a text from my friend Jessica telling me "we are doing the Army Ten Miler (ATM) this year, so get to training." So I began to train for a race that was months away. But the more I trained the more I started to love it. Every day I would lace up my sneakers and go for a run. My first race was just a 1 mile "fun" run. I finished it in 12:08. I was pretty proud of myself considering it usually took me longer to do a mile.

Then I decided to enter in my first 5k!!! At last minute, I almost stayed home but then said to myself Wounded Warriors don't take off so I can't. This was a Fourth of July race and I already had a shirt made up with all the Wounded Warrior names listed on the back! The ones I was running for!!
I ended up finishing in 39:17! After running this race, the bug had really bitten. I was searching for more races to enter, I wanted to beat my time!!!!
With each week, I would add another mile and continue to run. Then I got the bright idea to enter in my first half marathon!!!! Its better to be half crazy right?! In the meantime, I entered in two more 5k races! Finishing in 39:06 and 38:40. I even placed 4th in my age group on the last race!! Woot Woot!!!
Then came September 22 and my first Half Marathon race!!! I started out going pretty good. I even thought I would make the time my husband said I should finish. He told me earlier to finish in 2:45 or I better be making some friends during the race because he would be gone. ;) I would have most likely made that time, until I hit mile 8 and the back of my legs began to kill me. It hurt so bad. I later found out it was lactic acid buildup. But I pushed on and ended up finishing in 3:20!! I was very pleased considering it was my first half. However, by the time we made it back home to Morrison from Nashville, I could barely walk up the steps.
Since I didn't want to end up with pain like that again, I invested in some of the compression sleeves and thought I would try out KT Tape Pro as well. Man, those sleeves are like heaven!!!! You may look like a dork, but its well worth it!!
Since having these sleeves, I have had no issue with the lactic acid buildup. Which is what I wanted since the Army Ten Miler was coming up soon. I sure didn't want to cross the finish line by crawling.

Its Been Awhile......

Well, when I started this blog I had planned on writing pretty much daily. I believe the last post I did was in 2011. Yeah, that plan didn't work to well huh?! ;)

So what have I been up too.... well check out the next post. :)