Hi, my name is Kyah Altiere. For the past 5 ½ years I have been a counselor at a substance abuse clinic. I never realized how much I had in common with people living with opiate addictions. Stay with me here, I’ve never used any illicit drugs. Our clinic is a Medication Assisted Treatment program (look it up). Now the medication does not = 100% control from relapse. I have intractable epilepsy so, I understand medication is not full proof. Plus, we all have our triggers and need coping skills. Sound familiar? My main trigger is flashing lights, but seriously, no way was I going to watch Marvel’s Endgame on Redbox! (I wore my sunglasses).
Back to my work. 1/3 of my patients – their addictions started with legally prescribed opiates. Their doctor over prescribed their medications. In 1996, I learned that my neurologist over prescribed my Dilantin. My seizures were out of control, the emotional side effects were unbelievable. Think Bridezilla x 10. (I got married in 1995). I got sent to Abbot Northwestern to see if I was a candidate for brain surgery. Fortunately, I met a competent epileptogist and my medications were straightened out. Yet, I was a mess. The medication side effects…I said things to my husband and dearest friends…I still cringe.
Enter the Epilepsy League of America (aka Epilepsy Foundation today). I was introduced to a supportive community that continues to change my life. Epilepsy and medication education. I learned there is life without having a driver’s license (didn’t take overnight). I have patients living with epilepsy. I get their humiliation in the ER, being shot up with haldal, “she’s having a pseudo-seizure from an OD”. EF pamphlets are in my office.
It’s 2020, I live in Duluth, MN with my husband. We celebrated our 25th anniversary in August. I have 2 master’s degrees (since 1996) and take the bus to work. I chose not to get my driver’s license again. My philosophy: E (event) + R (response) = 0 (outcome). Our responses and attitudes are important. Hope to see you for Day at the Capitol -> Advocacy = Fighting the Stigma!! Thank you for reading my blog. Safe Holidays!!