In the midst of the holiday season, it helps to slow down and take a look at the year past, while we look forward to the New Year.
- For many, life may be a daily struggle coping with seizures, side effects, and other problems that may be associated with epilepsy.
- Some of you may be dealing with uncertainty and worry. Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with seizures and are wondering what this means and what the future may hold.
- Some may be feeling hopeful, having found a treatment that is working for you.
- Yet there’s more to life than epilepsy, and families are juggling many different challenges, responsibilities and roles.
Whatever holiday you celebrate, don’t forget to take time for yourself and your loved ones.
- For some people, stress can be a seizure trigger. There’s plenty of stress at this time of year, so do what you can to lessen the stress. Carve out extra time for yourself. Simplify the celebrations and errands if you can.
- Flashing lights can trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy, so be careful at the shopping malls or places with lots of flashing decorations. Shop locally, in smaller stores and not at the busy times of day.
- Sleep deprivation is a common trigger for many. Can you allow yourself some extra rest? Make sure you keep to your regular sleep times as much as possible. Instead of staying up late to get chores or shopping done, can you get help from others?
- Watch what you drink. While alcohol doesn’t bother everyone, drinking too much or too fast can worsen seizures in many people or worsen side effects of medicines. Make sure you know your limits and talk to your doctor about what to do and what not to do.
While holidays can be a very special time, it can also bring out difficult memories or remind you of people no longer with you.
Don’t forget to let others with you know what to do if seizures act up.
- Make sure they know what you want done for seizure first aid and when you may need a rescue treatment – such as when to swipe a magnet if you have a vagus nerve stimulator, or when to give a medication for seizures that last too long or occur in clusters.
- Carry your Seizure Response or Action Plan with you when you travel. Make sure your plan has phone numbers of your doctors and other important people on your health care team.
- If you are traveling, carry this information with you on planes or trains. And don’t forget to take extra medicine with you!
Let’s also take time to thank each other for the help we have received and to look forward at what the New Year may bring. Despite the challenges, there are new therapies and approaches coming out or being tested. We don’t have all the answers yet. Epilepsy is still a huge problem for too many people. But we can be hopeful that one of these new therapies may help and that research will unlock the mysteries of seizures and epilepsy soon.
With best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season,
Patty O. Shafer RN, MN
Last Reviewed: 12/18/13