Epilepsy Talk

Damaged Goods | June 17, 2018

There’s something liberating in being expected to fail. No expectations, no explanations.

After all, “you’ll never amount to anything,” you’re damaged goods.

So you’re free to fall on your face. Or reach for the stars. I did both.

When I didn’t make friends, it was expected. Who would want to hang out with me?

I flunked out of Science and French. No big deal.

I was awarded first place in a writing competition. And I had to read my essay in front of the governor! Everyone was stunned.

Boys headed for the hills after just one date. “Well what did you expect?”

I jumped off the roof at college. “Poor thing. You’re a sick girl.”

Then I graduated from college Magna Cum Laude. They couldn’t believe it.

I keeled over at work. “See? We told you that you couldn’t hold a job.”

Then I got the job of my dreams. “It must be because you were lying to them.”

Promotions came easily. My parents didn’t know what to say.

I met the man of my dreams. My father had a stroke.

I was the only one in two generations not to get divorced.

I rejoiced. Damaged or not.


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  1. Hey Phyllis,

    I really enjoy reading your emails. I’m curious to know if any of your readers have made any connection between seizures, especially going into status and strokes. Since being diagnosed with epilepsy and going into status twice I was recently informed by my Neurologist that I have suffered 2 small strokes in the last couple of years. I have none of the common risk factors that precede a stroke, I.e. high blood pressure, heart issues.


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Dennis Crocker — June 17, 2018 @ 1:43 PM

  2. Seizures are a sign of brain injury and are caused by sudden disorganized electrical activity in the brain.

    Seizures can be characterized by spasms or convulsions.

    It is difficult to predict which stroke survivors will have a seizure.

    Acute or onset seizures normally happen within 24 hours of the stroke.

    Statistics show that seizures afflict 22 percent of people who suffer from strokes.

    They are important to watch out for as they indicate malfunctions in brain activity and cause an altered state of awareness for a stretch of time.

    I hope this answers your question Dennis.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2018 @ 1:51 PM

    • Thx for the reply.
      In 2014 after my 1st seizures and going into status my MRI came back completely normal. Lots more seizures since then, controlled pretty well now with a cocktail of meds, Dilantin, Keppra and lamotrigine. A recent MRI showed two small strokes. So the epilepsy and status came first and then the strokes. I know it’s kind of opposite to the norm but I was curious if anyone may think the severe seizures were any way related in causing the small strokes.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Dennis Crocker — June 17, 2018 @ 3:30 PM

  3. Just me and a sister my parents had as my dad has been gone now for all of 13 & 1/2 years. I live at home still, never keeping a GOOD JOB thanks to seizures. Not so with my sister as she moved out after 17 years old, & really just calls everyday to tell you nothing, but when help was needed in the family business, it was me doing the work as self-centered sister worked at her own life, with 1 divorce and for the last 3 decades having a hypocrite for her husband. They both worked without having time for God, as only my sister goes to church now after both have been retired for 2 years. Guess they think a U-HAUL will follow their hearst. never been to a funeral yet to see one of their trucks in the line of cars going to a grave site. All to say is that people who dare not help family when HELP IS NEEDED, and have little to no appreciation what one can go through, with NO gratitude for God or what family / parents taught them, their day WILL come, when others are more important than God & family. But they say they do Gods work when they help anyone or people not related yet if it were not for that 1 side of the family, WHERE would they be in the future with out God & his grace & mercy ? That is suppose to come back in later years, but after 60 years and you do not get it, forget getting anything later. That day of destruction will come to anyone who can not remember WHO bought them into this world, & WHAT if anything do their own actions or lack of them mean to those who may need some help but never gets it from family. So yeah there is nothing like a love from a loving mom, as a sister can never match a moms love just by saying,,” I love you” at the end of all phone calls, where there is NO action to match those 3 words. Moms never have to say those 3 words, Do they ? So for all who believe I am worthless & of little hope of having whatever, I have another home waiting for me, & need no furniture here or a septic tank for all my waste to collect. So Who cares what I think, say or do now ? Jesus does favor the poor & lower class people over the rich, from the many ways of WHAT they do that the rich would never think of doing. Evil & Wickedness is becoming more popular by the day, and it does not happen much where money is not abundant & available, because what evil & wicked actions that might be done cost MONEY to do those things. Politics is just 1 example of that. Hopefully the RAPTURE happens soon for us ALL who are not self sufficient as all these good doers believe they are something, when they are not. All that to say everyone with a BIBLE needs to read Psalm 119:71,, that says,,, I thank God for my disability, so that I may know him and his words. or something like that. Psalm 118:8 is the center verse of the Bible that is good to remember,,>>>
    It is better to trust in the Lord than to have confidence in man.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by C D — June 17, 2018 @ 3:35 PM

    • Your sister sounds like a real charmer.

      But to have so little faith in man is sad.

      Yes, my parents had no faith in me, but there were others.

      And eventually I learned to stand up and be counted.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2018 @ 3:47 PM

  4. Hooray for you! Answer to all of today’s problems:
    make it a required class everyone has to take- educating people about Epilepsy. Knowing about it should make them see others differently.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Karen — June 17, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

    • Karen, I like your thinking.

      My parents treated me like a pariah.

      They wouldn’t even say the “E” word.

      Nothing like being acknowledged. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

  5. My doctor has put me on keppra and lamictal after having 4 seizures in the hospital.is lamictal a good seizure medicine. I have to go back for a mri because she said she didn’t like the way right tempberlobe had changed. What does that mean. And what does your tempberlobe do in your brian.And please excuse me if I misspelled tempberlobe. I pray u know what I’m trying to spell.


    Comment by Angela carter — June 17, 2018 @ 4:21 PM

    • The temporal lobe, which crosses both hemispheres of the brain, helps process sensory input, including pain and auditory stimuli.

      The brains of all mammals, including people, contain four lobes in the cortex, including the occipital, parietal, temporal, and frontal lobes.

      The temporal lobe also processes memories, integrating them with sensations of taste, sound, sight and touch.

      As for Lamictal, my experience has been very good.

      After an initial adjustment period, I’ve been 99% seizure-free — without any side effects — for 10+ years.

      I hope this helps Angela.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2018 @ 5:35 PM

  6. Doncha just love it when folks say things like, “Wow, that is so impressive that you managed to do all that (in my case get a PhD, have a career as a professor, and travel the world) with your disability.” What do they expect me to do, sit home and drool on myself?

    In answer to Dennis’ chicken vs egg question on seizures and strokes. They very often go together because they have they same root cause. Systemic inflammation can lead to both seizures (because of pressure on the brain) and damage to blood vessels leading to strokes. The key to fixing both is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by paleobird — June 17, 2018 @ 6:01 PM

    • Well Paleo, it IS impressive that you got a PhD, have a career as a professor, and travel the world.

      You’re a very accomplished woman. Face it. Plenty would “drool” to be in your shoes. 🙂

      Thanks very much for your input and help on Dennis’ dilemma.

      I appreciate all that you do and contribute to this site.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2018 @ 8:33 PM

  7. Thank u.Yes it did help.But what do think about her saying it has changed in size


    Comment by Angela carter — June 17, 2018 @ 8:18 PM

    • Unfortunately, I’m not a doc. I don’t know. 😦


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 17, 2018 @ 8:28 PM

      • Dennis, not sure what has changed in size. Can’t find that reference in your comments above.

        Phyllis, it is one thing to say someone is impressive. They could stop there and I would blush and say thanks. But they have to keep going to say, “you are impressive……for being a handicapped person”. That last part is irritating. I’m not in the “special olympics” of life.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by paleobird — June 17, 2018 @ 9:10 PM

      • You’re an impressive PERSON.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 18, 2018 @ 9:36 AM

  8. Obviously, the social stigma related to the medical condition has designated Epilepsy as terrifying & dysfunctional object, since Biblical times.
    Therefore, luck of education & information, fear of the unknown & unpredictable medical disorder made it very difficult for the patients & their families to accept & face the struggle to manage & overcome the ordeals of Epileptic seizures.
    Personally, I refused to believe I was having seizures 20 years ago, even when I was being carried by as many Ambulances as waking up in Hospital emergency rooms all over town.
    Being new to Epileptic seizures & knowing nothing about Epilepsy, I tried my best to deny & cover up my seizures from the very close family members, friends & co-workers who are witnessing my grandmal seizures & calling ambulances to carry me to the hospitals, to only walk out of the hospitals, refusing medical treatments & denying having seizures.
    Finally, the very manufacturing company I helped to start & grow to profitable corporation insisted & demanded to see my medical report for “INSURANCE COVERAGE” from a reliable Neurological institution & set up an appointment with Stanford University Neurology Department hospital for MRI test & diagnosis of my seizures.
    Watching my own two grandmal seizures in a week on the Stanford University Hospital VIDEO, was the most shocking & terrifying moment of my life, learning to face & accept Epilepsy the hard way.

    Therefore, while I’m grateful to all the family members, friends, coworkers, Fire fighters, Ambulance drivers, rescue technicians, nurses, Doctors, Hospitals & EpilepsyTalk forum members,,, who has been there for me when I desperately needed help to survive my seizures & learn to overcome the hardships of Epilepsy, to this day I believe Epilepsy is my cross & I will carry it, to last breath of my life.
    In the end, I found out that facing & accepting the dramatic change in your life is far more harder than beating down the social stigma associated to Epilepsy.

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — June 18, 2018 @ 7:08 AM

    • Wow. I get it.

      While I was sorry for myself because no one “understood”, your whole life hung in the balance of self realization.

      Whew. What an eye-opener.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 18, 2018 @ 9:51 AM

  9. I know your not a doctor and you are very impressive.I just didn’t know if someone had shared my experience in having to have a mri because their right temper lobe had changed in size.I’m very sorry if I offending anybody.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Angela carter — June 18, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

    • Oh no, Angela. You’re not offending anyone. Far from it.

      It’s just that I’m stumped, and theoretically, if I was a doctor, I would know.

      Please don’t take it the wrong way. I didn’t mean to sound smug in any way.

      I’m so very sorry if you misunderstood. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 18, 2018 @ 7:13 PM

  10. Reblogged this on catsissie.


    Comment by catsissie — June 19, 2018 @ 5:44 PM

  11. Yep nailed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by R m — June 26, 2018 @ 3:20 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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