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Memory Issues after series of grand mal seizures?

Hi, I am a 21 year old female who has been experiencing memory loss/ retrieval issues. I've always had not the best memory, but now in the past 4-5 months its gotten to a point where its negatively impacting my life on a daily basis; I can't remember things I've done with my friends, inside jokes, people I've met, what a movie I watched a month ago was about. Every day when someone says "Remember this happened.." It could have been years ago, or a month ago and I can never remember. It makes me want to cry because I am so frustrated and constantly find myself saying "Umm no, I don't, I have a bad memory." It's impacting my University career, I am struggling to remember things, and when I try to remember information I've learned in previous classes in previous years it just upsets me because I can't remember anything and feel like the past 3 years have been a waste. I've tried several different encoding and retrieval strategies I read online to help with memory problems but it does not seem to be helping.

I have myoclonic epilepsy and sometimes experience tonic-clonic/ grand mals, that were mostly controlled by medications for years. I switched medications last september however after developing an allergy to lamictal,to keppra. My neurologist started me on a lower dosage and said he would need to raise it in the spring, but when I called to make an appointment, my neurologist had no openings until next January, and my family doctor would not raise the dosage either. About a month before or around the same time my memory problems started, there was a period of 2 months where my epilepsy got extremely bad. I was having tonic-clonic twice a week and was always exhausted, but after 2 months I decided to raise my medication dosage on my own because I couldn't function normally and no one would help me with my medication. I incrementally increased my keppra dosage of 250 mg twice daily to 500mg twice daily, and my seizures completely stopped within 2 weeks and I have been seizure free for about 3-4 months, but am still experiencing memory issues.

I am thinking that these memory issues were caused by that period of time when I was experiencing so many grand mal seizures, but am concerned because it just seems to be getting worse despite being seizure free. I am wondering if I am on the right track, or if it could it be something completely different, I just don't understand why it's getting worse and not better, and the walk in doctor said it was not a side effect of the keppra medication. Does anyone know if that that spell of seizures could have caused damage in my brain, and if so will it get better? Or I'm wondering if could be something else? My family doctor just said to see my neurologist and keep eating a balanced diet, but my next appointment with my neurologist is January 2014, and I don't know what else to do at this point. If anyone has experienced anything like this, any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Comments

Re: Memory Issues after series of grand mal seizures?

hey there Im Zach and most definitely know how you feel my memory is so bad also its just crazy. very few people can understand when you try to tell them that your brain has just been wiped out after a seizure and have to start from scratch don't you agree. but yeh I hear you when you say you have a bad memory but I just say to my friends that I can have a vacation that they will never have and try to get a good laugh out of it, not that its funny at all but we got to make the best of it don't we? I call it going to the dark side of the moon for about a week. hopefully you can find a better dr. that will help you more. now days I don't even see dr.s anymore only for checkups once in a while for me I don't need more to say I have seizures and tell me what I already know wont you think?

 

Re: Memory Issues after series of grand mal seizures?

Hi,

I have memory problems right after a tonic clonic, actually in the EMU (epilepsy monitoring unit) right now. I believe it's because of my meds specifically lamictal. When I went to Johns Hopkin's last year they tapered me off my meds. I felt like I was smart enough to win the nobel prize! I belive it's my meds but I too believe that with every tonic clonic my memory gets worse and worse. My nuero has me seeing a nuero psychogist for testing which I don't look forward to. The frustrating thing is I test below average on a couple of shorter tests and a few years ago managed to graduate with a masters degree. Obviosly I've taken a nose dive and pissed I'm going through this! I empathize with you greatly and whatever you find out please share and I will like wise!

Kristen

Re: Memory Issues after series of grand mal seizures?

Hey there I am Joe.  I am not a doctor but I have been dealing with them since before you were even thought of. I have been having seizures for tha last 50 years.

I know what it's like having seizures and not remembering some things. I also know what being written up for day dreaming is. I know what it is like reading a book in a week that others read in a day. I have a very good memory  and reading slow generally keeps everything in sync. WHile in school I had a memory that was almost photographic and I still remember some of that. There are many things that can attribute to memory loss and yes medications are one of them. I will not go there but I will say that uping your medication without your doctor knowing it will not help other than having other problems. Uping dosages can cause proplems in several ways. If you had an accident and the doctors get your medications they read the RX which is set ot the dosage your doctor has you on so the amount you have in your system will not be at those levels. Another thing is prescriptions have the number of pills top be taken a day and there are a limited number of times those perscriptions can be filled so if the pharmist calls the doctor for a new RX he may deny the refill.

As for your neurologist or doctor if you were told by him that he might be raising your dosage then that information will be in your file.

If I have a question I call my doctor and leave a message wanting information on the issue. With my PCP I will get a call back from the nurse. With my neuro I leave a message wanting information his assistant will ask the question and get an answer and call me back. That way I get my information and my medical file is updated.

What might also help is getting the diary and using it it. It used right the neurologist can see all the information and with that he can also  come up with other medications that would work with Keppre or even other procedures that could bring your seizure count down. There is also a way your diary can be brought up by him.

Keppra is one of the best medications I have been on and it has reduced my seizure count along with the length of time in the seizure and time to focus (geting back to normal). One of the other medications that can work with keppra is vimpatwhich is made by the same company as keppra

I am not protecting any doctors but just using common sense and known facts.

There are many times I forget what happened last month but I remember what is needed

Hope this helps

Re: Memory Issues after series of grand mal seizures?

Hi there,

 I understand your frustration with memory issues.  I no longer have tonic clonic seizures, but now just complex partials and simple partials (my auras).  I've been getting more & more frustrated with my medications, the memory issues, and the fact that my condition is not controlled as well as I'd like.  I recently began taking an herbal supplement called bacopa monnieri.  Google it.  There's good evidence that it helps with epilepsy.  With my doctor's approval I began this in addition to my current meds.  I have catamenial epilepsy, meaning my seizures are triggered by my menstrual cycle.  So during the weeks of ovulation and menstruation I have a lot of them, and then the other 2 weeks of the month I have very few.  Amazingly, since I began taking this I've not had a single seizure!!  I haven't yet taken it for a full cycle, so I've only been able to test it during the week of ovulation, but since I've been tracking my seizures (a couple years now) I've never went the full week of ovulation or menstruation without a single seizure.  Not once, until now.  I have read that my type of seizures are the type that bacopa works best on, but it can't hurt to try.  Plus, many people use bacopa just to improve their memory.  It's similar to gingko baloba in that sense.  If you search for bacopa on Amazon there are lots of user reviews saying it's helped them (and some saying it hasn't).  Honestly, I haven't yet noticed a difference either way with my memory, but I do seem to have a little more energy.  Just something to think about. 

 Good luck to you :)

A little more about bacopa monnieri:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-02-28/common-herb-water-hyssop-reverses-epilepsy-treats-and-prevents-other-brain-disorders/

Some amazon reviews of people, mostly taking bacopa for help with memory: http://www.amazon.com/Himalaya-Bacopa-Mental-Alertness-Caplets/product-reviews/B0006NZPGA/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_see_all_top?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=byRankDescending