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December 2014

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5 crucial facts to be aware of if you’re on AEDs

1. ‘Anticonvulsants can interfere with calcium and vitamin D metabolism. They cause an increased rate of bone turnover, thus affecting bone density. It is recommended that anybody who is taking anticonvulsant medication should also be taking additional vitamin D.’ ‘Many doctors, however, are not aware of the association between anticonvulsant medication and bone disease and less than 10 percent of neurologist recommend taking calcium and vitamin D to protect against side effects of these drugs.’ From countless studies including: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920121114001661 And http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1059131107002385 2. Switching from branded meds to unbranded does make a difference and can result in breakthrough seizures. The government has recently made branded medications less available to cut costs. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21521860/ 3. Simply asking your GP for a FREE vitamin D test can definitely help you to control your seizures better.  http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00207454.2013.847836?noFrame=true&journalCode=nes 4.  Hyperglycemia lowers seizure threshold. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC387262/ 5. Brain tumour related epilepsy needs special considerations that I don’t believe are currently being met.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3386502/

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Getting back to exercise

I have started doing a bit more in the gym which is very cool. I suffered a tremendous amount of fatigue for over a year after my radiotherapy and this has improved significantly recently. I honestly thought it never would and felt very down about it. I work very hard to learn about when to rest and how to control what fatigue I have now. Sustained concentration is still very difficult. There are many exercises I still can’t do that put pressure on my head so I think it’s a great idea for anyone with an acquired brain injury to build this up very slowly by doing water based exercises using water dumbells. I use the ones pictured below and I have help from a friend who instructs aqua so that I can work at the right intensity.  I have epilepsy and migraines that can be triggered by exercises so I need to be very careful with what I do. All of my exercises and rest periods are carefully considered and so is my food. I can’t do cardio on land and I need to be very careful with my body temperature. The brain is very sensitive to changes in temperature, personally when my body temp goes up I get very dizzy. I swam properly for the first time yesterday which is a huge thing. 

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Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

Usually I find that ‘recovery’ from my cancer treatment about a year ago does not follow a nice linear path to progressive health but recent times have been much better than expected. I have felt this way before and then suffered big setbacks with fatigue, migraines, and increased seizure activity but all that is under control now. I know that this is a combination of luck, the ketogenic diet, and avoiding personal known migraine and seizure triggers. At the moment I am doing much better than I had ever hoped. I say at the moment because like I say it can all be taken away very quickly so I have to remain cautiously optimistic. With time I have learned what foods I tolerate best. Yesterday I went to the gym and had a little swim, something I couldn’t do just a few months ago. This was a huge deal, I don’t push myself and I have to be very careful with exercise selection because I am one of those individuals who can trigger seizures with exercise if not controlled. I am looking to add a supplement called ‘ketoforce’ to my diet before I go to the gym soon so it is easier to remain in nutritional ketosis and hopefully it will also help my exercise.  http://www.bestsupps.co.uk/prototype-nutrition-keto-force-480ml Initially when I started the ketogenic diet I suffered with debilitating fatigue, migraines, increased seizure activity, and what is often called ‘keto flu’. This is typically caused by loss of electrolytes, resulting in feeling sluggish with little energy. After introducing more potassium into my diet and regularly taking micronutrient supplements this improved drakatically. I think this can be a common problem because we are typically so used to having a lot of potassium in our diets from foods like potatoes which you can’t have…

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