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Trust Your Instincts

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For several years, my mind has felt very cloudy. Since I’m over fifty, friends would laugh and say they all thought they were losing their minds. Mine was different and I knew it.

As a teenager, I was diagnosed with epilepsy after an overnight episode at school. I always felt that, for me, it had to do with stress. At that age, it was living away at an all-girls high school in another state ten hours from home. Through the years, the stresses changed, as did the medications to control what became the absent seizures. It would take until my thirties to learn that late night, alcohol, caffeine, stress, and not taking your medicine do not mix.

This is not about epilepsy though. It is about what happened when I went back to this same doctor that I have been seeing for the last ten or more years. Since I can remember (this may be a pun), my largest complaint has been that my memory is very bad and it is hard to think. I’ve often wondered if this was the first stage of Altzheimers. Last year this neurologist asked if I wanted to be tested for it but I opted not to due to the cost. She tested me for vitamin deficiencies instead, which I must not have had at the time. I decided if I still felt the same way this year, I would proceed with the testing.

In May I went in for my annual exam and, once again, told her how hard it was to think and how terrible my long term memory is. After telling her that a different physician I have affectionately called my medication the stupid pill, she said “We don’t prescribe that medication to anyone but the severely mentally retarded.” I could not believe my ears. Why had I been kept on this medication? Unfortunately I could not say anything to her other than to ask when I was to return. She dismissed me! No more annual visits to get my prescription of Topamax. 

It has been two months now and I am definitely not living in the ‘la la’ world I was. Since I have been on a seizure medication for forty years this is a surreal experience. Ortho-McNeil Nurologics’ advertises Topamax by way of full color ads in popular magazines. What do you think about a drug that doctors call the stupid pill? It is being pushed as a migraine medication.

It took me years to find out about Topamax. I hope it helps someone you know.

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