'Agonising': Terrifying cause of mum's mystery seizures
ONE year ago, Megan Bugle was a healthy mum of two boys. Then one Sunday, when she was at home with her family, she collapsed on the kitchen floor, screaming in agony.
This is her brave story.
"Josh and I were doing housework while our four-year-old was teaching our one-year-old the best way to play with Play-Doh at our kitchen counter.
It was such an ordinary moment, until I felt a horrible sensation rip through the nerves in my left arm. I told Josh, 'My whole arm just went numb.'
He asked if I was OK, and I could only respond 'no' in between sobs and screams.
My skin felt like it was trying to harness golf balls moving wildly in my veins.
Pain was everywhere. My neck, head, ear, ribs, and arm. All on the left side.
Just when I thought it would never stop, it did. Just as suddenly as it had started.
In an instant, I could hear again. My kids were crying; they were scared. My husband was on the phone with 911.
I had dropped to my knees on the kitchen rug, staring at my left hand.
By the time the ambulance arrived, I was already reassuring my frightened boys that Mummy was just fine: "My arm just hurts and I need a doctor to look at it."
But, the second I stepped into the ambulance, I became the child. And the trained medical team did their best to explain what was happening and keep me calm.
"It could be a stroke, but more than likely, it's just a pinched a nerve," the EMT said.
It was easy to believe him. I had never been a 'sick' person.
Sure, I've had colds, but I've never been to the hospital, except for giving birth to our babies. I've never even had a cavity! By the time we arrived at the hospital, I felt incredibly silly being wheeled in on a stretcher with my purse in my lap.
Within minutes, I was being questioned, poked and prodded.
Josh showed up sooner than I thought possible, having taken our boys to our neighbour's house, and was sitting with me while we talked to a neurologist via video conferencing.
When asked to explain the incident, I immediately felt the same horrible sensation tear through the left side of my body. I froze.
"It's happening again," I screamed.
This time, without my children present, screams and tears poured freely, and my arm moved wildly on its own. I couldn't control it.
The hospital staff began to scramble, and medicine poured into my veins through an IV.
Again, the episode stopped as suddenly as it had began, but this time the hospital staff had seen it and they had suspicions of what was going on.
Over the next several hours, I was subjected to test after test, and answers began to come. First, seizure activity was confirmed. Then, we were told about the brain tumours.
Finally, for the first time, we heard the word: Neurofibromatosis II.
I had 23 tumours growing throughout my neurological system; 17 in my brain, 1 in my left ear, and 6 more inside my spinal cord.
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May is brain tumor awareness month. Last year, I didn’t even know May was for “Gray.” In less than a year, I’ve been hospitalized for seizures, diagnosed with NF2, and had 2 craniotomies. I have 15 remaining meningiomas and 1 acoustic shwannoma (brain tumors). If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. This year, I’m going GRAY IN MAY!! #gograyinmay #spreadtheword #awareness #grayribbon #EndNF #NF2 #lifeisbeautiful #braintumorawareness #braintumorssuck #meningiomas #ependymomas #acousticschwannoma #craniotomyme #graymatters
The months to come would test me more than any in my 30 years of life up until that point.
I had over 30 recorded focal seizures, 15 MRI's, 7 CT scans, four hospitalisations and 37 office visits.
On July 20th, I had my first craniotomy. On October 12th, I had another.
I learnt that surviving is more than your heart beating in your chest, the breath in your lungs and a functioning brain.
It means choosing to see beauty through ugliness and finding hope on the bad days. It was showing my boys what strength and endurance looked like.
Who knew that being diagnosed with an incurable illness could actually be healing?
This is my story, and it is not over yet. But through it all, I will continue to be grateful for what I have and see the bright side. That's what life is all about."