Focal Onset Seizures: What They Are & How to Prepare

October 22, 2021
Focal Onset Seizures: What They Are & How to Prepare

Having brain cancer makes you more prone to seizures. These can happen in your sleep or during your daily activities. Knowing the warning signs and preparing in advance can help you face it with more precision and the least amount of pain possible. 

What They Are 

There are two main types of focal onset seizures: focal aware seizures and focal impaired awareness seizures. The first is a simple partial seizure where the patient is aware but loses control of their body temporarily for a few seconds to two minutes. The second is a complex partial seizure that can last for 1-2 minutes, but you’ll likely feel tired and confused following the incident. Other symptoms of a seizure include: 

  • Jolting movement of arms and legs
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Body stiffening 
  • Appearing hazy or confused
  • Staring
  • Muscle contractions
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unusual head or eye movements 
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood changes
  • Blackouts

Preparing for the Possibility 

Focal onset seizures, particularly focal onset aware seizures, can be traumatic, but there are simple steps you can take to prepare: 

  • Rearrange Your House. While you can’t control the environments you’ll be in when you visit friends or family, you can rearrange your house to make it safer in case of the possibility of a seizure at home. 

  • Inform Friends and Family. Letting your friends and family know that seizures are a possibility can also better equip them to help you if you need it. Creating a seizure response plan is recommended by the Epilepsy Foundation. This is something that you can share with your workplace, your close friends, and your family so they know what to expect in case of an emergency. 

  • Install a Medical Alarm System. You can also consider getting a medical alarm system or a smart speaker like the Google Nest if you live alone so you can easily get help if you have a medical emergency. While Google homes and Amazon echoes can’t call for help by just saying “Alexa, call 911,” there are ways that you can program them to assist in an emergency. Regardless of whether the seizure is a focal onset aware seizure or a focal onset impaired seizure, family and friends who are assisting medically often find that the ability to call for help hands free can be beneficial.

  • Get a Medical ID Tag. Wearing a medical ID tag in the form of a necklace or bracelet can provide medical professionals with critical information right away. This doesn’t have to be unattractive! There are options that can fit your lifestyle and aesthetic. 

  • Change Your Diet. Some research is also being conducted to demonstrate whether diet and lifestyle impacts seizures. While it is still in the preliminary phases, it does seem like ketogenic diets can help combat seizures and cancerous growths. Make sure you check with your doctor about whether this is the right option for you. 

  • See Your Doctor for Medication. If all else fails, there is medication that can help. Doctors sometimes prescribe medications like levetiracetam for brain cancer patients suffering frequent seizures.

Where focal onset seizures might make you feel out of control, these solutions will give you agency despite the possibility of seizures. 

Learn More About Focal Onset Seizures With OneVillage

Regardless of where you are in your cancer journey, OneVillage is here to help. OneVillage is dedicated to providing the support, information, goods, and services that cancer patients need. OneVillage allows supporters to contribute to a fund for  your medical trips and other expenses. If you have any further questions about what OneVillage offers and site features, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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