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The First Seizure (the warning sign)
It was approximately two months before my 40th birthday and I was in the shed doing a few things to my race car.
I had been drinking all day, about 10 drinks in in 6 hours and I had been snacking all day on European cheeses and salami with lepinja bread,only the best quality naturally.
It felt like 40 degrees in the shed, as air circulation was poor, suddenly I felt so dizzy that I thought I might faint,so I sat down in the lounge chair.
(I thought that I may have been dehydrated,from all the alcohol).
Minutes later half of my body was completely paralyzed from my fingers to my behind (gluteus maximus), five to ten minutes later half of my mouth and tongue suffered paralaysis.
I could not believe what was happening to me, this experience lasted for about twenty to thirty minutes.
I did not really understand what was happening with me, but I felt very very strange.
Initially, I thought I was having a stroke, or I had pinched a nerve in my spine and I thought that I may die, so I took a deep breath and I relaxed.
I said to God that if my time is up then please take me.
God never took me on this day, but I felt very disturbed for 24 hours.
I should have gone to the hospital immediately, but I had to start a new job the next day.
I knew that if I went to hospital that I would not have enough time to sleep and I would have been late for my new job. I was concerned to create the right impression from the start as first impressions really do count!
I thought I could not afford to be late for my first day at work.
My parents always encouraged me to goto work even when I was ill.
I realize now that this is not always a good idea!!!
My new job involved walking ten to fifteen kilometres a day with a lawn edger.
The first week it was very hard work but the second week it became easier and then easier as my fitness and stamina built up over time.
I drank about four litres of water every day and at this job I found a very good life long friend called "Gunner", he introduced me to Creatine tablets.
Creatine occurs naturally in the body and these tablets gave me so much strength and energy.
I had to drink water like a fish to maximize the benefits from the Creatine tablets and I realize now that my water consumption had prevented my brain from swelling in the 36 degree heat.
I could have died at any time and I was ignorant of the danger.
About one month later and I still never felt the same. Internet research revealed that I had all the symptoms of a T.S.I, a mini-stroke, and the article advised me to get checked out immediately because another seizure would definitely happen and cause permanent damage to my body.
I then went to the emergency department in the hospital at flinders for a full medical check up.
At the hospital they made two appointments for me, one for an ultrasound and one for a CT/brain scan.
I went to the ultrasound appointment but I completely forgot about the ct/brain scan appointment.
the ultrasound showed nothing negative, so I was relieved.
When I had planned to travel overseas to see family and close friends, it was around the time of my 40th birthday, but something deep inside me prevented me from going. I sensed something was still wrong in me.
Now I am glad that I changed my mind at the last second, as I would be dead now!
It was furtuitous that I changed my mind as that occasion changed my life. I I organized a CT/brain scan just a few days after I realized that I had missed the appointment.
It was then that I got the shock of my life, I was then diagnosed with a meningioma-brain tumor.
It was a massive shock, as all my travel plans would not be spoiled.
Fortunately, I had complete travel insurance and I never lost the money for ticket, thank god.
I could see the nurses in the hospital ward holding back their tears as I could see it was hard for them to witness what I was about to hear and the shock that I would experience.
I am a very strong person but, I nearly fainted and my legs went very weak and a few tears slipped from my eyes .
I was hoping that my problem was a blood clot and some blood thinners would clear it.
But I needed an operation, what a birthday gift! The Meningioma was very large and must be removed as it was 3 cms by 4 cms.
The Meningioma explained the constant headaches that I had suffered for many years.
What should I do next?
I was very confused and depressed, how should I deal with this situation?
I have never even heard of a Meningioma and I feared it was cancerous, but it was benign, so I considered myself to be very lucky.
The only thing I could do was to fight this hitch hiker/parasite in my head!
Naturally I was worried but I put on a brave face for my family and friends.
People were surprised by how calm I remained. I told my friends that I have done enough crying and I would train for this operation and build-up as much muscle-weight as possible and train for my life!
This was my "battle plan", to get as fit as quickly as possible, to increase my chances of survival.
I told my good friend "Gunner" about the tumor and he was also shocked.
I told him that I woulde lose so much weight in hospital and I also told him that I feared complications in hospital as well as being unfit.
I had to regain my past fitness from twenty years ago, in just two months and I nearly achieved this. Thank god that muscle has a memory.
I nearly regained the same size and fitness in only two months, the many years of rhee taekwondo and the strict training with weights at home had paid off enormously.
I quickly welded up a boxing stand but I could not lift it alone, as it was very heavy and 6 mm thick.
"Gunner" came over and I welded some reinforcement metal on the bottom and together we placed the pole with 160 kgs of concrete around it.
purchased another taekwondo bag from http://www.smai.com.au/ as the last one was 20 years old and I gave it a good smashing over the years.
I know I put too much concrete around the pole, but I did plan on doing sit ups on the pole hanging up side down with "gravity boots", in my opinion this is the best way to train your abdominals.
I became stronger every day and I felt really good about myself.
I was very positive, my past fitness gave me the edge as I knew my body very well.
I was began to gain weight rapidly.
I removed all the negative people and influences from my life.
I had to remain positive at all costs or I would not achieve my goal, that was, to make this website to tell every one about my experience.
When I started Taekwondo on the bag at home and doing weights I was still taking Creatine tablets and began taking protein powder twice a day and once a day when I was not training. By training like this my weight remained stable.
I went from 74 to 80 kgs and I was in reasonably good shape, for such a short period of time.
I could train my legs at only 66% of my normal capacity as I feared another seizure would happen.
I told "Gunner" that if I do not train every day I would die, I could just feel it.this is what my body told me and I listened to my body !!!
"Gunner" and myself trained weights nearly every day,by doing this my mind did not focus on the tumor at all and my days were always full with no time to get depressed, I was strong and I felt unbeatable !!!
Having a lady friend while all this was happening was a great comfort as my strict routine went exactly as planned and she was a good confidence booster and very good to be with !
I made "Gunner" promise to me that if I had a seizure while we were training, that he would call the ambulance immediately and not panic. I knew that he is good for his word and I trust him 100%
"Gunner" really helped me so much in my time of need and proved that he is a genuine friend for life and not a "fair weather friend".
This is the time when I really found out who my real friends were, my family, friends and overseas friends supported me 100%. My good friend Dazza, would get emails and texts on my behalf every 2 days when I was in hospital, from all over the world.
Knowing that so many people over seas were concerned about me, gave me so much strength and power to fight on.
When I showed "Gunner" the photo of the size of the tumor he refused to train with me anymore,because he never thought that it was that big and it distressed him.
The operation went well, the tumor was completely removed and every thing seemed fine.
Three or Five days after the operation I started getting very bad seizures, my brain just could not relax.
I was then transferred to intensive care, I had complications just like I had feared and I had a blood clot in the main vein of my brain, (a venus thrombosis), massive brain swelling and a chest infection.
I was in a coma for 3 days, when I came out of the coma my shoulder felt like it had been hit by a truck, the pain was intensive.
I have never ever even experienced such pain.
Even when you sleep, the brain is never fully relaxed, even when you dream the brain is active and constantly thinking.
I lost 8 kgs in just over 2 weeks.
I had to put weight on now fast, so as soon as I had my appetite back, I had to eat all the time to get my strength back in order to leave hospital.
I told my friends and family to always bring me in big meals, or my recovery would take forever, I was eating 4 healthy meals a day and putting on weight fast.
I was on a Hepron infusion, which is a fast release blood thinner which has an alarm when the level becomes too low. I was also on Warfarin tablets which are slow release blood thinners, 3 anti seizure medications (Clonazipam,Dilantin and Keppra) and Somac tablets to prevent stomach ulcers from forming as a result of the anti-seizure medication.
I experienced very hard days as I had not known if I was going crazy or not.
The side effects were horrible, but I put up with them.
I would rather face the side effects than go to intensive care again.
I was having blood tests every 3-4 hours approximately for about five days, to monitor the blood clot. I feared that the blood clot may hemorrhage and I would never be able to make this webpage.
Four days before I left the hospital, I could not sleep any more because I just knew that I was ready to go home and I was very excited.
During those four days I pretended that I was going for a walk but I was really jogging up and down 7 flights of stairs for about 20-30 minutes, holding the guard rail so I would not fall down the stairs.
The nurses never knew about any of this as they could not watch every one, every second of the day, it is impossible.
(What I did is my responsibility and it is not their fault, I am totally responsible for my own actions) I know my body very well and I was well with in my limitations to do this.
The nurses were always smiling and the doctors were good also and always treated me with total respect and dignity.
I am so glad that I trained before the operation or I would have never survived.
A couple of weeks after leaving the intensive care unit, I was released from hospital and I started my rehabilitation at the "Daws Road Repatriation General Hospital".
I had many very happy times there and I met many good elderly people and I was always positive and I always tried to give them strength, with my strength with out making any false promises. We all laughed together many times and there many very good moments.
I would always look forward to the therapy and with the weights I was always like a child in a toy shop. Unfortunately for me I could never train like I wanted to, because I was still very tender.
My legs are my strength and I made a promise to myself that I would do the complete weight stack on the leg press before I left the "Daws Road Repatriation General Hospital". Lifting 300 pounds plus, I put an extra 5 pounds and it was so easy for me. After learning how to walk again I now had 100% strength in my legs !!!
After this rehabilitation ended I was then referred to B.I.R.C.H. (Brain Injury Rehabilitation for the Community in the Home). My therapy ends soon and then it is up to me how well I progress!
I am being weened of my anti-epileptic medication as I write and this is a critical time for me as I am fully aware that during this time I can still get a seizure as the body is adjusting to being without medication.
It took me a while to fully comprehend, but last week I finally realized that I have a small permanent disability, but I intend to work my way around it. A small permanent disability is a small price to pay for my good quality of life, that I enjoy now.
I suppose that when you have a brain operation it is impossible to come out the other end of the tunnel and be completely unaffected, without one scratch or mark. Some people write poetry after a brain operation and some become a painting genius, many people develop new skills that they never had before.
With out a doubt "fitness saved my life"
If you are smart you will also become fit, you are never too old!
Hopefully this website has inspired some people to stop smoking, or to stop binge drinking, or to stop eating fatty "take away" foods, or to stop spending hours watching "garbage" on tv and most importantly to stop using drugs.
Get fit now and your body will love you for it and it may save your life one day as "fitness", I know for a fact, has saved mine, with out a doubt! Personally I believe in "crossed pathways" and I am getting good results from this. I have not lost the mind muscle link completely. I still train every day but with less strenuous effort, as I am coming off the medication and the last thing I need is a seizure. So far I am doing good.
Please be good to your parents, respect the elderly and yourself, do not be cruel to animals, take care and remember that disabilities do not discriminate in any way. No one is immune from brain tumors!
The next person that you may make fun out of, in a wheel chair or with a limp may be you, or your family one day, so show these people some compassion and treat them with the respect and dignity that they so rightly deserve.
Special thanks to all those who helped are listed HERE
UPDATE: During late 2007, I suffered a severe stroke whilst weening off the medication, hence my web site is still under construction.
I believe that with a positive attitude, mental discipline and good health, nothing is impossible.
Never Give Up !!!