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Goodbye Keppra, my friend and enemy

Posted Aug 07 2009 12:11pm



I met with my fine neurologist (and an all around great human being) yesterday morning and he gave me the clearance to begin weaning myself off Keppra, the anti-seizure wonder drug that has turned me into a seething, raging hulk. I have one week of half dosage and then I am done.

Let me backtrack a moment. When I had my seizure last December and doctors found the subdural tumor on top of my brain, they immediately put me on Dilantin to prevent additional seizures. That drug turned me into a walking zombie; I was stiff, weird, forgetful, not talkative. I turned into a quiet mess. I asked to be switched to something else and Dr. Logan put me on Keppra, which allowed me to live a somewhat normal life but it created this angry, angry, man who would sit at the table seething, waiting for something to happen so that he could blow his stack. I wound up saying horrible things to Melissa and the kids and would get so upset about this feeling that I had no control over my emotions. I felt upset, depressed, even suicidal. I told Melissa one night that I hatched this whole plan of how I would kill myself if the cancer progressed. I had the plan down to every detail.

Then in quieter moments I started researching Keppra and side effects and guess what? Keppra sparks rage in patients. Real rage. Seething, uncontrollable anger, fits of fury, depression, suicidal tendencies. People have even created a term for all this: Kepprage.

So, I vowed that after my brain surgeries, I would get off this drug as quickly as possible once the danger of seizures passed. The next step would be to undergo an EEG, a recording of electrical activity along the scalp produced by the firing of neurons within the brain. Basically, a test that would tell Dr. Logan if I was in danger of having any more seizures. I had the test on July 8th in Exeter and the results were negative. There is no more danger of seizure. This information was coupled with a recent brain MRI that showed no lesions or suspicious activity, and I was on my way to a Keppra-free existence. I went in to see Dr. Logan yesterday morning and he is certain that I am OK now and we started the weaning plan today.

My time on this drug has been a wild ride. The mood swings have been intolerable. I am thankful that I have a kind family, full of people who have been patient and understanding that while this drug protected me, it also drove me mad.

And now it is time to say goodbye to Keppra. Thanks for the ride.

Posted in Beating cancer, Recovery and recuperation, Scans, The story Tagged: Brain
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