Path of the Brittle Type 1: Gran Mal Seizures

You may or may not know that seizures can happen when your sugars are close to rock bottom. Symptoms of low sugars have changed for me over the years, but when I was young, and on a volatile insulin combination by necessity, they were harder to recognize and act on. Add to this different little classroom or social etiquette issues about just grabbing food when one is out. I've been through over 33 seizures in my lifetime. Some involved hospitalization afterwards, some I refused ambulatory transport. Fortunately for me, we were living in Ontario just before the major physician shortage for the majority of these, so cost of care didn't bankrupt the family, and I was also seen to in a timely manner for the most part.

Going into them has always been both scary and infuriating. Scary because I would often not come out unscathed, and infuriating because it was the physical realization that I screwed something up in what I ate, didn't eat, or when.

Each time I went into one, there would be risk of neural loss. The health workers always drilled me on basic things when I came too and fortunately I could answer right away most of the time. I know I've lost capacity through it all, but I was also fortunate enough to have a great capacity anyways. Also, because they were the more violent, Gran Mal type, I would inevitably have some sort of minor injury from the flailing before anyone could administer treatment. Sometimes it was just a bruise, others scrapes from pavement, sometimes cuts from plastic things, once my tongue fell in the wrong place and I clinched hard enough on it to injure the side, and once I required dental surgery to move one of my teeth back into position, after being pressed below the rest of them.

The shakes were the most tell-tale of the start of what was about to happen, but sometimes before that I could spot irritability in my attitude or getting cold and sweaty at the same time. The cusp of going down was always the worst, very dark time...

Over time I learned how to better spot the signs before it was too late, and had in place certain controls that enabled me to fix it all whenever it came about. The seizures were rare by the time I was leaving high school. I changed insulin types on a suggestion from a new specialist, and though my body refused to use one of the types when I was 4, it worked then.

Now I haven't gone into one for over 6 years. I still go into hypoglycemia every now and then. My system has come to the point that it will wake me in the middle of the night if my sugars are going too low, at which point I can go get food. I'm glad for that defense - I never want to experience this portion of my past again.
FluidMind FluidMind
31-35, M
35 Responses Dec 24, 2007

I am not diabetic, though my father is, but am pretty sure I have hypoglycemia instead. I've never experienced seizures from being to low but I have seen been well below 55 before. At that time the squares on the bathroom floor were moving on there own. Another time I was working all morning and started to notice a round spot in my vision about the size of a dime. By time I found a snack, under 3 min, the spot had turned into most of my frontal vision. It took a good 30 minutes for my sugar to come back up from that one. <br />
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Before I found the symptoms of hypoglycemia I really thought I was starting to lose my mind. Fortunately I had a friend who had the same symptoms and we searched together to find a cause to our problems. After cleaning up my diet I have felt far less crazy but it's still a constant battle everyday to keep my sugar levels up.

The bad news is that you'll have to keep a vigil to avoid the seizure, and that other close calls may happen in the future. The good news is that you don't need to check your sugar every hour, the vigil and control you use to control your diabetes will make you a stronger person, and the lows can be mostly avoided. Cheer up, rpulis, it's not the end of the challenge, but also not the end of the road either.

Thank you for your words...the anxiety feelings are the hardest along with the nerves alll getting worked up and I have to talk myself out of getting all worked up inside. My husband says that he thinks that I am checking my blood sugars way too often - I check every hour- since it happened. I went to the hospital when after the seizure happened and go back to the doctor again on the 4th. Will this horibble feeling go away in time? My oldest daughter is a dietition and she has helped me with setting up a meal plan using carbs. I dont want this horride feeling to ever happen again. And I welcome all the ideas and suggestions that anyone out there has to offer and the words of encouragement as well...especially those!!! Is there a good side to all that has happened or will I have to deal with more of them along the way?

Monitoring is one thing, but as you experienced, dives can happen quickly and often for reasons that are hidden to us. <br />
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My immediate advise is go to the hospital and get seen to. I know it's expensive, but they can help many of the symptoms you're feeling after a seizure. I refused transport once and had muscle aches for nearly two weeks before they subsided.<br />
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My long-term advise is lock what you were feeling in the last 15 minutes before you went down into your memory. These are your body's signals that your sugars are going down and something is terribly wrong. These dives must be caught early when they happen, or it can be very hard on us afterward.

I am 44 years old and I just had my first seizure...when I had checked my blood sugar at 8:00 am it was at 142...I did my normal chores, by the way this all happened on christmas morning, at 8:42 I told my husband that I was not feeling very well and headed for the kitchen to check my levels again...29...I called for a glucose tab and the shock took over and I dont remember anything until there was a room of people in my kitchen asking me questions. Today it is Sunday 5 days later and I still dont feel there something still wrong. I feel anxious, worried, shaky, migraine on my left side. Is this a normal reaction? Is this going to happen again? I monitor my levels probably way more than I should but I dont want it to happen again. I guess I am just looking for someone to talk some sense into my head that things will get better as long as I pay better attention to my levels. Help!