On Saturday night I went out for a stagette. I didn’t really know anyone besides the bride, so I drank a lot more than I normally would. We were at a pub, so I was drinking low-bar wine as well. My usual drinking is now limited to just a few drinks. This was not the case on Saturday. No one’s fault but my own, at least I didn’t do shots.
When I was in my late teens/early twenties, alcohol was a trigger for epileptic seizures for me. I had to be really careful about how much I drank and how much water and food went along with that.
When I was in my late twenties, everything changed. All of my triggers stopped being triggers. Seizures stopped occurring first thing in the morning. I could drink, and because I was used to including water with it, suffered very little (or very brief) hangovers. I took advantage of that. Neurologists at a hospital once tried to tell me that the reason I had a seizure was because I was drinking. I told them that if that was the case, I would just live at the hospital. They weren’t impressed.
Now that I’m 30-ish, brief hangovers is not the case anymore. Drinking anything more than two beers or glasses of wine results in a two-day hangover. I spent most of Sunday and Monday with a killer headache. No amount of Advil and water was going to minimize that.
Now, that may not seem like the worst thing. Sleeping in, lazing around, avoiding chores. The problem is that I am racing in less than a week. I’m doing a half marathon on Sunday and I didn’t run on Saturday (the shower and stagette consecutively lasted the whole day), I didn’t run on Sunday or Monday. I managed a 5k walk each of Sunday and Monday, but I should have been running. I don’t always follow a training schedule exactly and I switch things around as needed. Living is more important than just obsessing about running. Realistically though, I do need to be aware in the time leading up to a race about what I have to do. Preparation is important. I lost two entire days just because of a decision made that first day.
As a person who considers herself athletic, I have to acknowledge the changes that my body is going through as I am getting older. I can’t drink the way I did four years ago, not if I want to maintain my activity at this level. As a person with epilepsy, I have to keep in mind that at one point, alcohol was a trigger for me. Just because it went away doesn’t mean it can’t come back.
That’s not to say that I can never indulge. It just means I have to do so responsibly. I have to acknowledge my limits. A seizure knocks me out for a few days. A hangover knocks me out for a few days. It’s different, but the same. I could use epilepsy as an excuse never to go out (“What if I have a seizure?”). I could use running as an excuse not to go out (“I have an early run tomorrow!”). Neither of those have to be a reason to avoid going out, however, both are really good reasons not to take it too far.
The wedding associated with the stagette is this Friday. I love my friend. She was a bridesmaid for my wedding, and I have the honour of being one of hers on this day. I want to remember her wedding and the next morning I want to think about what an amazing time the wedding was, not be nursing a hangover or trying to recover from a seizure.
The race I am doing is on Sunday. I love running. I have been excited for this race for a long time. I’m doing the half marathon, and it’s at a higher altitude than I’ve ever run before, so I’m interested in seeing the difference in how I feel during and after. I don’t want to be dragging my 2nd-day hangover corpse along, or be stuck in bed as I try to recover from a seizure.
I have to keep in mind what is important to me. Being there for my friend is important. Running is important. Drinking is not important. Avoiding a hangover is something neuro-typical individuals have to be aware of. Avoiding a seizure is something individuals with epilepsy have to be aware of. There are some times where making a responsible decision is the same for me as an epileptic as it is for someone who does not have seizures. It’s different, but the same.
This upcoming weekend I will celebrate my friend, because she is amazing and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Getting drunk is not the way to celebrate her. This weekend I will honour myself by pushing myself to run in a new and challenging way in the race. Getting drunk is not the way to honour myself. Friendship and running are more important than drinking.