I wrote to Megan and asked her to talk with me about her experience with motherhood, being a massage therapist, and her gift of dream interpretation. I was surprised to learn that she was epileptic and how much that condition has been, not only a challenge, a blessing!
Ruth Ann: What does it feel like to have an epileptic seizure?
Megan: I hadn’t been understanding and the teacher was like a Charlie Brown syndrome–like ‘wa wawa wawa’. I thought, “Okay! I had been completely understanding everything just a second ago.” I’d been totally there. We were supposed to be getting our exercise bands. I had just taken my medicine and this thought came to me.
So I had sat all the way back in my chair and reached down, took my medicine, then I just wasn’t there. And I was just staring off! I don’t remember how long I was staring off into something. Then I was there the next second and the lady next to me said, “Get your rubber band, Megan. Get your rubberband.” Then I was gone again and I don’t know how long I was gone. All of a sudden I hear Elaine next to me say, “She’s having a seizure.” And I turned to Elaine and I thought I went, “What?” but I couldn’t speak. I heard Elaine say “It’s okay. I’ve got her. She’s okay.” I thought, “Okay, Elaine knows I’m having a seizure. I’m okay!”
I don’t know how long I was sitting there. The next thing I know I’m back. Elaine’s like, “You okay now?”
“Yeah, I’m okay”, I thought but I still couldn’t speak and I still couldn’t do anything and I couldn’t move so I just sat there for a while.
I must’ve been out for five minutes I think. When I looked at the clock it was about 5 minutes. I looked almost high. Then I started understanding the teacher again. It was like the Charlie Brown teacher syndrome was just gone. I understood her again but there was no way I was going to pick up that rubberband and start exercising with them or those weights again because I can just as easily go back into another seizure. After class, I said, “You just saw a complex partial seizure [also called a focal impaired awareness seizure].”
It was like I was gone because my face had colored and that is the reason I had reached down to take my medication because my face had colored. Later in the class, almost toward the end, my face colored again and I didn’t realize it until Elaine said “Megan, your face is going bright red again.” And when I looked my face had gone bright red again. So I reached down and took my emergency medicine because I was already full up on the other type of medicine so I took my emergency medicine. Within three minutes my face had gotten better again because it is a chewable and works a lot faster. “Here I come again and I’m totally fine” but it took just a minute. But my emergency medicine really does make me a bit high and you can get addicted to it.
Ruth Ann: Does the emergency medicine help prevent brain damage?
Megan: Yes. The more epileptic seizures I have the more prone to seizures I am and the more brain damage I get.
Ruth Ann: What does the emergency epilepsy medicine do?
Megan: The first one I took was an anti-epileptic drug. It stops the seizures from coming. But it takes a couple minutes to kick in. I prefer to take that one always. It does take a couple minutes but it works. I’m on that as a daily medicine. If it will work I would way prefer to take that. I’m on a full dose of three of those. The second one I take is Lorazepam. Lorazepam is an emergency medicine that I carry. They are opiate-based. So they are emergency only. Usually only hospitals carry them but they allow for emergencies for epileptics to carry them and only in small doses.
Ruth Ann: How do you feel about having to take these medicines?
Megan: I was totally anti-medicine before I became epileptic. I can tell you all the natural medicines that will stop seizures. But once your epilepsy becomes so bad you start to take pharmaceutical medicines too. You will try anything that will help. I can tell you my feelings on all the natural ones and how they help. At bedtime, I take the natural ones included. You shouldn’t stop taking them. They can work together.
Ruth Ann: Do you feel conflicted about taking the medicines?
Megan: No. Not at all. I did at first but I don’t now because I was having gran mal seizures with vomiting. But I do have brain damage. An MRI showed I had this. I was taking all natural herbs for my anxiety at that time. I found out all those natural herbs were keeping my epilepsy under control.
Ruth Ann: They were?
Megan: I have crippling anxiety. My anxiety was caused by my epilepsy which I did not know. Once I started on the epileptic medication my anxiety got under control.
Ruth Ann: Can you tell me how you found out that you had epilepsy? That was a couple of years ago out of the blue?
Megan: I was breaking my legs and my toes when I kept falling and I had bruises all over from walking into things. On top of it, my anxiety was crippling. I mean I had all the classic symptoms but it wasn’t until I started convulsing that they went, “It’s because you have epilepsy”.
Ruth Ann: Is that when your husband started working at home?
Megan: He was already working at home.
Ruth Ann: You were telling me about how your family has been so supportive. What did you and your family do differently after you learned about your epilepsy?
Megan: They have been great! I’ve known a lot of families that have not been great. So I have 3 sisters and a brother. My 3 sisters were all here when it all happened. My sisters realized that that was what I had been going through my entire life and they kind of rallied around me. My sisters realized that everything they’d teased me about my entire life that really it was the epilepsy that had been what was going on. We knew I had autoimmune diseases and they realized that this had been the culmination. For years they had been going, “Oh Megan is making it up!”
Finally there was a name for what I had been going through. While I was seizing they all stood around and held me. That was really amazing for me. I looked up and my sisters were all there with their hands on me. That was super, super amazing. They took turns with my kids for me so my kids didn’t have to see it at first while we figured it all out. My first big grand mal seizure I stopped breathing and ended up throwing up. It happened on my sister’s farm and in her front yard. My little sister I remember my little sister cleaning up the throw up. This really helped.
Ruth Ann: Earlier you told me that getting a daily physical therapy massage helps reduce the effects of the seizures?
Megan: Yeah. Because it calms my brain.
Ruth Ann: Does your husband do that?
Megan: No, I am a massage therapist. So I usually do a trade or I just have time with a massage therapist friend.
Ruth Ann: Are you still able to see clients?
Megan: I am but I’ve lowered my price because I might need to cancel.
Ruth Ann: Is there anything else that helps you with managing epilepsy?
Megan: Besides medications and massage? Napping. The biggest thing with seizures is napping.
Ruth Ann: Napping?
Megan: Yesterday I took a four hour nap because I felt like I needed a four hour nap. I told you I had a seizure at my exercise workout. I then went home and slept four hours.
Ruth Ann: So you essentially are tuned into your body’s needs.
Megan: Yes, absolutely listening to my body. My husband laughs, “I’m kind of jealous”.
Ruth Ann: Do you meditate or do anything else to calm yourself down?
Megan: Yes, I meditate. I don’t listen to loud music anymore. When I do listen to music it is always soft and calming. I told you I took up painting. When I spend time with my kids it is calmer. I draw with my children and rub their backs and we go on slow drives on Sunday afternoons. We do calmer more happy moments together. My life is a lot more calm than it used to be. Rather than stressing about things I let a lot more go.
Ruth Ann: What has helped you to let go of stress?
Megan: I actually took a workshop that helped me with that. I do a lot of journaling. It’s hard to explain when you’ve been through one of these life changing things. When I stress I have seizures. Once, I was really mad at my son and I was yelling at him. My husband said, “You have to stop. You’re going to have a seizure.” It’s true. I can’t get upset. If I get upset I’m going to have a seizure.
When you have that reality that if you get upset you’re going to flop on the floor and you’re going to have to sleep for a couple days, you are like, “I could get upset or I could be happy and go smell some flowers. I could get upset or I could love everybody.” You really do choose the second one. That’s your immediate reality.
After about a month of calming myself down I saw the results of that. My family got happier and my marriage got happier. All of a sudden we weren’t having marital problems anymore. All of a sudden my relationships started to heal. My youngest child who was having all these problems started to get better. Everything started to heal. There’s consequences to each of our actions. It’s a very simple decision for me, “Do I want to be flopping on the ground causing brain damage or do I want to be at peace?” I saw really good consequences from deciding to be calm.
Ruth Ann: How do you see this affecting your children’s lives?
Megan: There is peace in my family. Huge amounts of peace. I grew up in a home where there was never peace. I grew up in a home where it was one of those PTSD type homes where everybody’s surviving, hiding underneath the beds so nobody finds you to beat you, and hope nobody knows you’re home. That was my reality.
My children have no idea what that reality is. My husband loves working from home. He stays with his current job even though he could probably get a better one just because he never wants to not work at home. We had to make the decision to send our kids to public school instead of schooling them at home because they weren’t meeting anyone, I couldn’t drive them anywhere, and my husband was working crazy hours. We went through a really bad time thinking, “Where’s our babies?” Our kids were really sad. They were feeling this too like, “We miss mommy and daddy!” They missed homeschool sports teams we had participated in. We were in the best homeschool swim program. It had been really fun on Thursdays for two hours. Best swim team ever!
Ruth Ann: I find this interesting what you said about needing to calm down to avoid the seizures! It reminds me of my experience last year in the summer. My ears sealed shut for several weeks! They were blocked so much I couldn’t hear hardly anything and included pain that radiated down into my jaw and up into my head. When I got stressed or angry, the pain would shoot through my head worse and I realized that I needed to calm down because it was hurting me literally. There seems to be a blessing sometimes in feeling pain.
Megan: Learning to control ourselves this yes. There are blessings from pain. I find all the time in my massage practice that you realize you are just learning about the emotional reasons that you have that physical pain. Pain is why we feel our huge blessings.
Ruth Ann: As a massage therapist who identifies the related emotions, you seem like a therapist or a counselor in a way.
Megan: Yes we do. We absolutely do.
Ruth Ann: So what helps you deal with all the changes in your life?
Megan: A lot of things. First I’m going back through my life and seeing all these changes are really big. My relationship with family and friends. Scriptures definitely help me deal with this change! Prayer absolutely! Modern prophets. Mostly my mother too. My mother had a stroke when she was a little older than I was. And she has healed from it. She has definitely helped me so much because she is the one who brings me to all my appointments and everything. I’ve got brain damage. My mom’s got brain damage. She brings me so much hope! Because I’ll go “Mom, I’ve … I’ve lost my words” It’s a part of the brain the stem that has words. “I’ve lost my words. I can’t balance today. I can’t walk today. Today I couldn’t walk to and from the bathroom. I had to call my husband every single time I wanted to go to the bathroom. I could barely get out of bed.” Then she’ll say “I understand”. And she does! How many people aged thirty-six who understand that? My mom isn’t my age anymore but when she was thirty-six she did. That’s a huge help. A really huge help. Then too it’s not just some stranger who understands but your mom who understands! I call my mom six times a day and she doesn’t get aggravated. Huge help!
And my husband’s willing to walk me to and from the bathroom. He’ll take a break from work. The more seizures I have the more I have to go to the bathroom. It makes me lose control of my bladder. Usually if I have to pee then I’m going to be having seizures on the toilet and my husband sits and holds me while I’m on the toilet. It’s hard! It’s really hard to have no privacy. I’m like a three-year old that has to be sat with while I pee. If I’m having a seizure day I can’t take a bath or a shower because then I’ll have seizures in the bath or shower. I always have to be watched while I have a bath or a shower. I’m more prone to seizures in the shower because of the shock of getting back and forth but I’m more prone to die in the bath. Sometimes taking a bath can calm my body because of the relaxation.
Ruth Ann : Is there any hope that your condition can improve?
Megan: There is no cure for epilepsy. It just gets worse until the person dies. 50,000 people in the U.S. die of epilepsy it’s called SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. More people die from epilepsy than breast cancer in the United States.
Ruth Ann: How long do people who have epilepsy usually live?
Megan: About fifty years. You’re more likely to die during pregnancy or going to college. It’s because they tend to stop taking their medicines during college and pregnancy for epileptics is more dangerous.
Ruth Ann: Did you have any seizures during your pregnancies?
Megan: Oh yes! All during the first pregnancy. It was actually during my first pregnancy when my symptoms were worse. I lost all my words. I had extreme hyperemeses gravidara with my son which was my first pregnancy. We thought that I had a stroke during that pregnancy. We told my doctors, “I had to have had a stroke. I had to have!” They even did an MRI because we were insistent that I had a stroke. They were like “No, you did not have a stroke with your pregnancy.” We now know that it was seizures not a stroke.
Ruth Ann : And with the labor itself was that unusual?
Megan: My water broke and I didn’t have my son for 55 hours. With my daughter, I did’t have her for 8 days. So, yeah, I struggled. Very much struggled. Caitlyn was born with sepsis, pneumonia, her lungs had collapsed, and she had a heart murmur. My body just would not go into labor and my kidneys shut down and I had an infection. I couldn’t get pregnant in between them. So, yeah, I had a really epileptic struggle getting her here.
Ruth Ann: How have you been blessed in your life through this all?
Megan: One thing with temporal lobe epilepsy which I have…temporal lobe seizures are also known as focal seizures. A lot of people believe that a lot of prophets had temporal lobe epilepsy because temporal lobe epileptics are known to have dreams that come true and are known to experience visions. A lot of the temporal lobe is where you are supposed to be able to see God. There have been a lot of studies on temporal lobe epilepsy that people with temporal epilepsy are protected from being attracted to pornography. They hate pornography. They have a stronger sense of a relationship with God.
I happen to have the ability to touch people and feel their emotions. I am a healer and I do have dreams that come true and I have had this my entire life. I never knew any of this about temporal lobe epilepsy and I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. I put it in to Google and put it into more importantly YouTube and boom, boom, boom all these studies with temporal lobe epilepsy pop up and it was like all these studies showed temporal lobe epilepsy in all these people! And all the people on the Facebook group for temporal epilepsy were like, “What are your spiritual gifts?” And all these people with these spiritual gifts had temporal epilepsy! I was like “I found my tribe!” It was really cool to see that all these people had all these lovely spiritual gifts! A lot of people with temporal epilepsy that are not having active seizures do not treat their temporal epilepsy (emphasis added) because when you do, especially if you take out your temporal lobe or if you take out the amygdala, they stop having their dreams, they stop having all their feelings, they stop having all their beautiful ability to talk to God!
Ruth Ann : Beautiful! In a way, does it open up your brain more spiritually?
Megan: It does! It’s a gift!
Ruth Ann: How have you seen the gift of dreams used in your life or in the last couple years?
Megan: The first time I saw it for sure was when I was five-years old I dreamed about something that actually happened later during my Young Women’s (a church class for teenage girls) in 8th grade. So I was like, “I’ve been here before.” So I knew! I knew exactly where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do from when I was five-years old. I was like, “I’ve been here before. I’m supposed to go there.” It helped me grow emotionally.
Ruth Ann: Did it give you more confidence?
Megan: Yes, I was more confident. I was so shy really. I was afraid of everything. I also felt it was like a protector and, most often, I’ve had it be a healer! It is a gift so I know what to do and protects me. Very interesting in that way. It was very interesting because I felt that it was my spiritual gift and then when I was 16 it was mentioned in my Patriarchal Blessing so that was also an assurance. I just kind of know what to do and follow. Now these days it shows up in symbols. I have to decipher the symbols.
Ruth Ann : What do you do to decipher the symbols?
Megan: It’s a good question. Deciphering symbols is individual to each person. I can usually help someone else by praying and wondering then asking God. It’s usually a prayer thing. I don’t use dream books or anything. I just use prayer directly on it and it’s individual for each dream. That’s hard to say. It’s usually a prayer and a ponder thing.
Ruth Ann : Do you see common threads with the symbolism in dreams that come to you or people you help?
Megan: Yes, and it’s usually found in the scriptures. That’s always my go to–the scriptures, prayer and never anything else.
Ruth Ann : Do you have any other suggestions besides prayer and scriptures for someone just starting out trying to understand and look for meaning in their dreams?
Megan: Go with everyday symbols that mean something to you. So sometimes a blade of grass is just a blade of grass. Walking usually means you’re going somewhere, this type of thing, or on a journey. Go with symbolism in that way. Keep it to your life. Don’t go with the books. The books usually mean crap. Don’t buy a dream dictionary. Don’t take it on anybody else’s experience. Use a dream interpreter who you trust. They’ll usually help you figure it out with your life. You don’t want somebody who’s doing it on ancient dreams you want someone who knows this day and age. Because if you’re thinking about oh … a little black box, that just might be a phone. And a phone would mean talking to someone, or it could mean communing with somebody, it could mean you are trying to get a hold of somebody, or it could just mean that’s your phone. You need somebody who’s going to help you figure it out. Sometimes it’s individual. You need somebody that realizes it’s individual to each person.
Ruth Ann : Has the gift of dreaming changed in the last 2 years since you actively started having seizures?
Megan: It absolutely has! It’s more potent. One of the things I have realized is that the more medication I take it actually calms down so I have to write down my dreams and take care of it in the morning when I’m on less medication. I usually have dreams in the morning. I’m not on as much medications in the morning. But I’m on tons at night. So if I take a nap in the afternoon when I’m on my most medication I won’t dream. But in the morning I have these amazing dreams! And if I don’t get them written down then they’re gone.
Ruth Ann: I’ve noticed that I need to write my dreams down too or I will forget them! How do you feel about your relationship now with God because of your dreams gift? Or because of your epilepsy?
Megan: Torn. At first I was angry, really angry, until I found that YouTube channel and then I bawled and I bawled and I bawled because I realized that there was a purpose for it and that it was actually a gift He had given me. That without this gift I wouldn’t have all my gifts. So then, I was like, “This is perfect.” It absolutely has a purpose. At the same time I can’t just not take the medicine and let it kill me because epilepsy is killing me. My brain damage is getting worse and worse and it’s killing me. So I think it is my responsibility to not let it kill me. And to live for my children. It’s a double-edged sword so I have to keep it under control because He’s given me these gifts [medicine] to keep it under control. It is very much a double-edged sword. I hate taking Lorazepam. Because I can’t dream or think on Lorazepam. It is very interesting, different medicines I can still dream while on but other medicines I can’t. That tells me that some medicines are not made correctly and not made of God.
Ruth Ann: How do you see yourself using your intuitive gifts in the future?
Megan: I hadn’t thought about it but I always use my gift freely. I don’t ever charge anybody for it and I don’t ever advertise. I can’t see myself advertising for it. Anybody who wants to have me interpret a dream sends me, “Hey I have a dream”, and if I have the energy and the ability to interpret because I always pray about it and if I get an answer I am happy to answer them. If I do not have the energy and I do not get any answers I don’t. Because I believe God gave me this gift and as I don’t put out any personal energy I won’t charge. For massage therapy I have to pay for school, I have to pay for sheets, I have to pay for…so I charge for that.
Ruth Ann : It makes me think of the gift of tongues. With the gift of tongues there’s always the gift of interpreting tongues. God gives the gift and the interpretation.
Megan: So if I don’t get an interpretation I don’t interpret the dream. Sometimes I can interpret part of a dream but I can’t interpret the other part. I have found though when I start interpreting a dream I’ll go “I’m not get anything but this” and I’ll put it away. Then later I’ll get another part and then all of a sudden it explodes into meaning.
Ruth Ann: I’ve noticed as I start to write down my dreams that new ideas come to me of what the dream means.
Ruth Ann: How did you get into painting?
Megan: My sister and I took one of those paint courses and it was a really, really fun night. We were doing the painting and all of a sudden my sister got a message (she’s a midwife and we sometimes partner up) that said “Hey, I’m in labor”. We had time to finish painting this really, really fun Vincent Van Gogh ‘Starry Night’. So fun!
My painting was really, really good. I thought, “Ok! I think I can do this!” My sister was like, “I hate you! Your’s is so much better than mine!” I ended up painting a tardis on the front of mine. I don’t know if you like watching Doctor Who? She was like “What are you doing? This cannot have a tardis on this!” Her daughter loves Doctor Who and I ended up buying more canvas and teaching her daughter and 3 of my friends how to paint it. I was able to after just painting it once to teach five people how to paint that. I thought “Ok If I can teach five people how to do this, my niece chose a canvas bag, I think I can paint!”
We then ended up at an all night long delivery where she ended up catching the baby. We didn’t get home until 6 am in the morning.
There’s a little art shop at the end of our street called Artist’s Corner that they do a homeschool art class where I told my husband I should get my daughter and myself in the mommy and daughter class.
Ruth Ann: That sounds fun! Thank you so much! I think the thing I’ve loved the most about talking with you is hearing how close your family now is with your siblings, mom, husband, and children and the many things you’ve learned together. God brings the gifts in the middle of our challenges.
I took the picture of Megan three years ago when we got together to do this interview. I was planning to post the interview sooner but am very glad we didn’t!
It turned out Megan had an update for me on her health when I asked her to look over the interview before I posted it. Below is what she shared with me and asked that I include.
Megan: I am currently seizure free for 2 years, and have been off all medication except the lowest dosage of one seizure medication, with a microdose of a 20/1 cannabis blend. (This means I take mostly CBD.) All my emergency medication expired and I got rid of it. I had no need for it! My old dosage of seizure med was 800 mg. I now take 200 mg. My kidneys are so happy.
Ruth Ann: I wonder, do you know why you were able to reduce your seizure meds and have been seizure free?
Megan: I now take medical cannabis when I get seizure symptoms, or have a hard day. I changed medicine to a more natural one.