Welcome to Seize the Day Blog!
Hello! My name is Katie. I was diagnosed with Catamenial Epilepsy, a condition where seizures only occur around the menstrual cycle, when I was 16 years old. Today, as a 28-year-old woman, I have come to hold the opinion that modern medicine should not be considered as the only “credible” solution to health problems when I have experienced such profound success with Holistic medicine over the past ten years. I am not a doctor nor am I a healthcare professional. I simply have firsthand experience living with a disease and the challenges that come with it. I felt compelled to write this blog because I was completely lost when first diagnosed with Epilepsy. The doctors were absolutely no help and my parents and I couldn’t find any information to help guide us through this situation. I’ve had to figure things out through trial and error, a process that in its tediousness has given me plenty of experience to be helpful to others. So, my hope is that in writing this blog it will give other people the opportunity to avoid the same setbacks I encountered on my own journey.
Here’s a brief overview of my journey with Epilepsy (so far, at least):
In 2009, I had my first seizure, which launched me into a state of complete confusion. To make matters worse, when I finally met with my neurologist to hopefully get some answers, I could barely ask him 4 questions before he was out the door. My mom literally had to hold onto his arm to keep him from leaving so that we could ask him 1 more question and probably the most important of them all…Did the random start of my seizures have anything to do with the fact that I had 2 periods this month? This was the only thing out of the ordinary for me, so it seemed like a perfectly good occurrence to investigate.
His answer? “No,” accompanied by a condescending look that implied we were complete idiots. We, of course, didn’t appreciate his behavior, but he was a doctor so we disregarded it for the time being. The truth is, no one knows your body better than you do, so when you suspect something, follow it to the end because chances are, you’re on to an even bigger “something” that will help explain your symptoms. Sure enough, the suspicious two periods had EVERYTHING to do with the start of my seizures and became my 1st step toward fully understanding why I was having seizures only around my menstrual cycle, a condition also known as Catamenial Epilepsy. The basis of which is a hormone imbalance in my body. I am deficient in both Estrogen (the excitable hormone) and Progesterone (the calming hormone), however, I happen to be much more deficient in progesterone. My body does not contain the amount of progesterone necessary to balance my hormone levels and prevent the estrogen from basically taking control of my body. We learned that I am considered “estrogen dominant” because of my hormone levels.
Now that we had a clue as to what was causing my condition we visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After having every blood test and brain scan known to man completed over a period of 5 days, one of the world’s top medical facilities gave me 2 options as the solution: medication or brain surgery. In all honesty, their solutions were disappointing, but they were all we had at the time so we chose medication. I went home with birth control (to help stabilize my hormone levels) and an “official” diagnosis of Catamenial Epilepsy. What happened next made me lose all respect for the Mayo Clinic…
I went from having 6 Grand Mal seizures in 1 year to having 15 Grand Mal seizures in 1 week due to the birth control. When we tried contacting the Mayo Clinic for help, no one made any effort to better the situation nor did they act like they cared. My parents were simply told to “tough it out” and “it will get worse before it gets better.” Although this was an awful situation, it made us realize that if some of the world’s best doctors can’t help it is incredibly doubtful that anyone else in modern medicine will able to either. It pushed us to make the best decision of our lives: switching to Holistic medicine. I began going to a Holistic consultant who had knowledge about why the birth control was affecting me so negatively. It turns out, the doctor at the Mayo Clinic gave me birth control with the chemical equivalent of Estrogen as its base, the very hormone that is too dominant in my body causing seizures during my menstrual cycle. The Mayo Clinic’s so-called “solution” altered my hormonal state drastically, increased Estrogen in my body and intensified the amount of seizures I was having.
After advising me to stop the birth control immediately, my Holistic consultant also provided me with a natural progesterone supplement to stabilize my body and, in time, improve my hormone levels. For the first time since I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, I was taking “medicine” that would actually cure the cause of my condition rather than only the symptoms I was experiencing. This definitely got me on a path toward better health, a path that soon helped me to realize the importance of diet in relation to whole body health. My family and I ate Organic labeled foods to be healthier, but we never considered looking past the cute little green leaf and actually taking a look at the ingredient label. That is, until one Saturday afternoon at a P.F. Chang’s Restaurant where I had a Grand Mal seizure not even 10 minutes after eating some of their delicious food. In the midst of this chaotic event, my grandma suggested I might have an allergy to something in their food. It turns out she was right! I have an allergy to an ingredient called Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), which can be found in Soy Sauce (amongst many other things), a key ingredient in most Asian cuisine. I immediately began eating foods without MSG on the ingredient label.
This should have made a huge difference in my body and seizure activity, but it did nothing. Before I knew it, I was laying in an ambulance, barely conscious after having 8 Grand Mal seizures in a row. The paramedics had to give me 1000 MG of Dilantin (anti-seizure drug) with a little Ativan because the seizures literally would not stop. This event sparked real change in my eating habits. As I began dissecting the ingredient list of every food I was eating, it became clear as to why my poor brain was still struggling despite my previous diet change. Our foods are filled with toxins like chemically engineered foods, artificial ingredients and just straight up chemicals. It is inevitable for foods like this to negatively impact my body so I scrapped it all. My diet is now completely Organic and free of all synthetic ingredients, especially MSG. This single alteration in my lifestyle completely changed my ability to function, the rate at which my hormones are stabilizing and my body’s ability to heal itself. However, it was clear that diet alone would not heal my brain of Epilepsy.
In 2013, I began seeing a doctor of Iridology, a practice that many doubt but is one that led me to discover the main cause (other than hormones) of my seizures. As I began eliminating the deficiencies in my body with liquid supplements, my doctor discovered that my Pituitary gland is not functioning correctly, thereby causing problems with my hormone levels and Thyroid gland. Although it was wonderful to finally pinpoint my Pituitary gland as the main cause, it was even more wonderful to be offered a solution not involving surgery or medication. I am currently taking natural, liquid supplements to help cure deficiencies in my body, including one specifically designed for the Pituitary gland.
I continue today with a careful diet, liquid supplements, and other vitamins to maintain whole body health. In addition to these methods, I also take some prescription medication, but I am currently in the process of phasing it all out since it in no way contributes to my whole body health. I am living proof that Holistic medicine is not only relevant, but successful as well. I continue to improve and my annual rate of seizures continues to decrease. As I have become aware of the many toxins strongly impacting my health, I hope that, through this blog, I will help others do the same.
My Seizure Chart:
2009 (Before Mayo Clinic) – 6 seizures
2010 – 54 seizures
2011 – 36 seizures
2012 – 32 seizures
2013 – 23 seizures
2014 – 13 seizures
2015 – 20 seizures
2016 – 31 seizures
2017 – 43 seizures
2018 – 101 seizures
2019 – 30 seizures
2020 – 34 seizures
2021 (as of April) – 6 seizures