Friday, November 10, 2006

Two doctors, two differing opinions (Part II - The Second Opinion)

After being diagnosed as being epileptic by a physician and given a medicine to take for life(?) we decided to get a second opinion. This time we went straight to a neurologist. This time we didn't drag the kids along. We went to the hospital strolling hand in hand. It felt rather nice to be alone with hubby without the kids along even if it was just a visit to the hospital. It had been too long since we spent time just being with each other, just the two of us. So I felt a warm glow even though I was aprehensive.

The neurologist wanted me to do more tests, this time an MRI of the brain. This started me thinking of the worst, possible brain tumour etc. Hmm.. if give the choice, I suppose one would pick epilepsy (the lesser evil) rather than brain tumour.

After seeing the results of the MRI together with the EEG and CT Scan results from the first doctor, the neurologist told me a few things. He said...

  • that he was not very troubled by my EEG results
  • he would not diagnose me as epileptic since this is a first seizure. (wait and see first, he says. the percentage chance of a second seizure occurring comes down with time)
  • he does not think I need medication

I asked him a few things namely...

  1. I describe to him a "funny feeling" I've had for some time and asked him whether that was an aura or partial seizure as I remember having that "funny feeling" just before I fell asleep. (the first doctor had told me that it was an aura, a warning sign of an impending seizure which some people with epilepsy have)
  2. I asked him whether it was safe to drive and cook
  3. I asked him whether it was safe to get pregnant again

to which he replied...

  1. What you have described to me does not sound like an aura of a seizure
  2. Don't live your life in fear over this one seizure (he told me to avoid driving for a while to be on the safe side and as for cooking, he said he doesn't feel theres any danger)
  3. He told me to go home and start trying for a baby right away since my husband and I are not young. He didn't think there was any reason to wait
  4. He didn't think that I needed to see him again for any follow up appointments

He was very patient and answered all the questions I had (most of which I had prepared and written down in a notebook). He even gave me a book he had written (in Chinese) to give to my father to read so that he would not be so worried. Before we left, we joked that we wished we would never see him again and vice versa.

I went away from this doctor visit feeling a bit better and slightly relieved. However, I still had to come to some decision. I have seen two doctors with very different opinion and diagnosis. One was so negavtive, the other was very positive and entirely different from the first. What do I do now? Take the medication or not? Which doctor is right? Should I go for a third opinion?

It was so confusing. I made an appointment with a third doctor but eventually, I decided that I would wait and see instead. I did not want to take a medication that has other side effects (other than weight gain, there would be sleepiness etc). I didn't want to go through my days in a drowsy sedated state.

However, by deciding not to take the medication, I had to take other preventive measures. Afterall, I have two young children to look after so their wellbeing is important to us. I decided to take better care of my own health by exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep. I also decided not to drive for a time and to hire a part time helper.

Post getting too long. To be continued.

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  1. I guess the Neuro would know better as that is his field of work. In any event, trust God's protection over yourself and your loved ones. It would be worse for you to live in fear.

  2. pablopabla,
    Yes, at the time, I was afraid to go to sleep like I mentioned and I was also afraid of carrying baby around for fear of dropping him and causing him more harm then me.

  3. MG, thxs for sharing ur story with us. Big Hugs as I can never imagine what all of u went tru. Takr care.

  4. MG,me waiting for more. Reading ur experience is kinda like mine.
    Can u explain what kind of "funny feeling" u have?
    I have "funny feeling" too. But mine is an aura. It's on my left (always the same side). I had this kind of aura 3-4 times a year.
    My seizure is on average once in every 2-3 years. Just had an attack last Sept06. The last one before this was Sep03.
    All happen when i was about to fall asleep. luckily, just fall onto the bed. I had the fear going to sleep like you too initially. But now, used to it liao lor.
    For me, I must get enough of sleep, otherwise I'll easily have aura. I think u must get enough of sleep, eventhough no more seizure. Take care and thank so much for sharing ur experience. Now u let me wonder, if i had not taken the medication earlier....??? Hmmm....

  5. a&a'smom,
    I'm sharing this because perhaps it will help someone with similar experience searching for information and support so that they'd not feel so bewildered, alone and afraid as I did.

    Please do not wonder about whether you did the right thing taking medication on the account of what I had written. I couldn't find your contact on your blog. Can you email me at so we can share more privately?


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