I’m sure all y’all have been eagerly awaiting an update on what’s been happening with Topamax, the antiepileptic medication that caused me to function at the level of a second-grader drugged on sleeping pills when I started taking it in May.
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that tremendous progress has been made: I now operate at average middle-schooler levels and manage to stay awake for much longer tracts of time, though it takes significant effort to push through the 11 a.m.—3 p.m. period without a lengthy nap.
Besides fatigue, another Topamax issue is that I need to consume more than I used to in order to maintain my weight, which would be awesome if I weren’t nauseated much of the time. I handle the fact that it’s used off-label as a weight-loss drug—yes, really—by having frequent mini-meals, supplementing them with snacks. Though I still derive some pleasure from food, eating’s become a chore. Oh, Topamax.
Then there’s the prevailing Topamax-exacerbated mood stuff. I won’t get into that.
The cognitive side effects of Topamax are, however, what scare me most, especially as I look ahead to January, when I’m supposed to go back to school. I’ve seen a ton of improvement, but I’m definitely “slower” now, and word recall continues to be a major problem. (What’s the name for that orange item that people eat at breakfast? Oh right, an orange. How will I finish a thesis if I periodically find myself staring blankly at a citrus fruit?)
Positive thinking, KG, positive thinking.
I have an appointment with my epileptologist in mid-November at which I’m going to bring up the idea of trying another AED. The thing is, this is the first med that’s made a huge difference in terms of seizure control, even if it hasn’t worked miracles. As always, it’s a balancing act: seizures aren’t fantastic so far as cognitive function is concerned (slight understatement), and Topamax is bad in terms of general quality of life; it’s a catch-22 that I’m ill-equipped to resolve. (Is it a catch-22? Topamax makes me question the weirdest things.)
What it comes down to is that having epilepsy of the variety I do means accepting that I need to make sacrifices, at least in the short-term. Continuing to take Topamax until I can find something better is one of those.