22 February 2014
Today is World Encephalitis Day.
As a supporter, my aim is to raise awareness, connect with you readers and ensure that you understand all about Encephalitis.
For most of you, it may be the first time coming across this word ‘Encephalitis’.
Encephalitis is the acute inflammation/swelling up of the brain resulting either from a viral infection or when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks brain tissue. There are several types of Encephalitis, one of which is Auto Immune Encephalitis.
It occurs when the immune system attacks the healthy organs and tissues as if they were foreign. Instead of useful antibodies that attack infections or harmful foreign substances, the immune system may produce antibodies directed at normal body tissue causing problems with normal function.
What are some symptoms to look out for?
Well, a minor one would be headaches, fever and it worsens to seizures, confusion, loss of confusion and even death. So do not take your headaches lightly (especially those of you who experience frequent headaches)! From my personal experience, these headaches started when I was much younger, probably 16 years old? I recall myself either complaining to my family and friends about frequent headaches. They would be those kind of headaches at the side of your forehead. I’m allergic to panadol so whenever I got those headaches, I would usually just sleep it off (if I was home) if not, let the headache just fade off.
Never did I think those were the very early symptoms of my neurological condition, Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis. I know so because I rarely get these headaches now that I’ve received treatment. If I do get them, it is during my menstrual cycle or the extremely hot weather here in Singapore. Now that I’ve mentioned about receiving treatment, it has been almost a year since I was under immuno-therapy suggested by my neurologist.
Time really has past by too quickly! Don’t you think so?! Time DOES NOT wait for you.
It is true. So many of us procrastinate (yes, I’m guilty of it too), if you have a goal in mind, go for it !! Of course, if it is a major decision, you will have to do more planning, the consequences etc. Last year I was to graduate from my university with a business degree but due to my sudden diagnosis, I had to defer.
Dear readers, please do not think that having this neurological condition of mine is a setback. It has made me a stronger person today. It has made me look at life in a different light. Life is not always smooth sailing, definitely not a bed of roses for me. Life taught me to appreciate the little things we tend to take for granted. For example, our ability to walk, talk, eat or even bathe ourselves. These basic daily things, I could not do when I was hospitalised. So back to time, and going for your goal. I won’t say I lost close to a year of time when I deferred from my uni studies because in fact, time has pushed me to further my passion which is BAKING! I know being in a country which values one’s paper qualifications, most parents/students would be against my decision to become a pastry chef because I had the opportunity to join the corporate world.
It was a major decision to make and I have no regrets till today. I’m enjoying every bit of school (just completed my first term at ‘At-Sunrice’). I don’t think I have been this happy/confident about making this decision myself. I believe I’m on the correct path. And since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow (yes, I’m typing this draft in advance), I would like to share this post with EVERYONE who has been through this entire journey with me. You know who you are, my dear family and friends, no need for names. Not forgetting the medical team AND the MAN above!! Valentine’s Day is not only a day to share with your other half but with your other loved ones. They have stuck with me through thick and thin, accepting, supporting, loving and caring for me. Thank you for entering my life. Thank you for making me who I am today. Each one of you are my pillars of strength. What would I be without you guys. I love you. xoxo
So what did I take home from this condition I’m slowly but surely recovering from. Besides that life isn’t all that smooth and that time waits for no one, I have learnt that change begins with YOU. I had to accept the fact that I was diagnosed with this and face the side effects of the medication. Resisting wouldn’t help so yes, I had to be mentally strong. If you read my previous or rather my first few entries, I posted a lot on optimism. All so that I could remain strong inside. I think you get my point? So I just want to encourage all current/recovering patients of illnesses be it mental, cancer etc, it isn’t the end of the world. “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss Believe in yourself because only you can make a difference.
Please continue to spread the love and raise awareness of ‘Encephalitis’.
If keen, more information can be found here >>http://www.encephalitis.info/information/types-of-encephalitis/types-of-autoimmune-encephalitis/
Susannah Cahalan shares her personal experience. She wrote a book now New York Times Best Seller Take a look at her website>>http://www.susannahcahalan.com/
Thank you for your time.