Epilepsy came to me in my thirtieth year and continued with monotonous regularity, synchronised with my menstrual cycle. The experts looked down their noses when I suggested a connection between the two. A housewife, mother of three, what did I know about the workings of my body? The doctors were interested in cures not causes. Their pills have stopped fits but the reason for them remains undiscovered. Now in my forties, I approach the menopause. If fluctuating hormones were the trigger for my seizures, what will the violent changes ahead bring? No one can tell me because no one has listened.
My epilepsy medication and I have a love hate relationship. I treasure the terracotta coloured pills that prevent me waking with a metallic taste of blood in my mouth and my body covered in bruises. Because of the drug, I can work and care for my family in a world free from the ‘knocked down by a truck’ pounding head days that I suffered before we became acquainted.
I hate my saviour too. Twice a day, when I pop them from their foil packet, they remind me of my limitations, my frailty, all that I was and no longer am. Now, it is hard to pull myself from bed each morning and exercise. They have taken over my body, slowed it down and bloated it so that each day is a battle against fatigue and fat. Like a cruel tyrant lover, I need them but despise them.