end of november

When I fetched Calvin from the bus yesterday, he had a smile on his face with his tongue stuck out into the frigid wind, a cute look that has emerged in the past several months. I bent down to kiss him and I smelled what I call seizure breath, a telltale sign of a looming grand mal. I sniffed again just to be sure I wasn't imagining things; he had had a grand mal the morning before, so he wasn't really "due" for another one until sometime later in the week at least.

As the afternoon wore on, the low sun casting its long shadows, I noticed other omens: bouts of shrieking, flushed cheeks, fingers in his mouth, eye poking, irritable and whiny before bed. As a result, just before midnight I woke up to give him a dose of THCA tincture for good measure, but it wasn't enough to thwart the grand mal that came at 4:20 a.m.

My boy is still not back to baseline, so I am keeping him home from school again, at least for the morning.

November, which started out pretty badly with a rash of grand mals and partial complex seizures within the first twelve days, calmed down after we halved Calvin's CBD oil on the thirteenth; he hasn't had any partial complex seizures since then and, until last Sunday, he'd had only one additional grand mal. However, including that one plus the one this morning, he has had a total of six this month, and a count of nine in just thirty-four days—twice his monthly average of grand mals. The end of November can't come soon enough.

Nonetheless, I am trying to remain positive, though I am anxious and watchful this morning, hoping he won't have any partial seizures which have a habit of occurring in the wake of his grand mals. If we could eliminate his partial seizures he wouldn't miss so much school, a place where he learns and, on good days, seems to thrive. I'm also reminding myself that, though he had a fraction of the seizures before starting the benzodiazepine wean over three-and-a-half years ago, he was an impossible child, reducing me to tears on most days due to his disconsolate mornings, incessant shrieking, extreme hyperactivity and chronic insomnia, which lead Michael and I to agree that we'd exchange his poor behavior for a few more seizures, hoping to improve our family's quality of life. To a great extent we were right, though the hardship now is the number of days Calvin has had to stay home from school.

As with every year, the advent of winter-like weather—bone-chilling winds, shrunken shrubs, short, cold days, naked trees—causes me to pine for the spring, this time more than ever. By the first of March Calvin will have taken his last dose of clobazam, the benzodiazepine he's been on for years and one we've been painstakingly weaning from a daily high of thirty-five milligrams to just over half of one. My hope is that once the benzo clears his system, Calvin will have fewer seizures simply because he will no longer be in active withdrawal. We will see. If not, I'll be on the hunt for some other remedy, November a distant memory.

Photo by Michael Kolster



At two-fifty-five this morning, I opened my eyes and realized that Calvin had been sleeping deeply—too deeply—since we'd put him to bed just before seven. Because of some typical harbingers yesterday, I suspected an oncoming seizure, so I decided to get out of bed and give him a dose of my homemade concentrated THCA tincture while he slept, an attempt to thwart an early morning fit.

Just as I was looking in on him, though, he let out his seizure scream, a disheartening sound not unlike someone who has been scared to death. I hit the timer and grabbed the vial of frankincense while Michael detached the safety netting and lowered the side panel of Calvin's bed. I dabbed a bit of the aromatic oil on the sheet near Calvin's nose, then rubbed some of it on the soles of his feet. The seizure was shorter than most, and after it was over, I gave him his morning clobazam early, plus the dose of THCA tincture I had meant for him to get.

My boy slept soundly for the next hour and a half, though I remained awake next to him thinking about how incredible it was that I woke just moments before the seizure hit. I remembered a study I'd heard about a few years ago citing a phenomenon called microchimerism, a condition in which cells from a fetus cross the placenta and enter the mother’s body where they can become part of her tissues forever. I wondered if microchimerism is responsible for what I like to think of as mother's intuition. I wondered if perhaps microchimerism is the reason I woke just before Calvin's seizure, and why I woke eight days ago in Washington DC at the exact time Calvin was having a seizure at home in Maine, and why I sometimes dream of Calvin seizing, only to awaken mere seconds before he has one.

When I looked into microchimerism, I found its root in the word chimera, a mythical fire-breathing lioness with the tail of a serpent and the head of a goat rising up from her body. In ancient Greek mythology, the chimera was an omen of storms and natural disasters. I often think of seizures as storms in the brain. I sometimes—lovingly—see Calvin as a walking disaster, an accident waiting to happen.

After giving Calvin the THCA tincture, he seemed back to baseline by the time he woke up. I'm feeling more and more confident in THCA's ability to control Calvin's seizures to a great extent, and proud of myself for having fiercely scoured the internet five years ago in search of such an elixir. And at times, I do feel like some kind of chimera, a fire-breathing beast, with Calvin, my little goat, rising from inside of me.



winter gardens with red-leaved rhododendrons. sunny days after rain. sweet angel thai food. eating home-roasted hazel nuts out of the shell. communion. the smell of onions sautéed in olive oil. running water. seizure-free days. brined turkeys. chef hubby. kinfolk. sweeney potatoes. warm rolls with butter. roasted brussels sprouts. chrysanthemums and peach-colored roses. folks gathering around a table. vino. chorizo dressing. new friends. cozy home. gas stoves. bourbon on the rocks. candlelight. pie. pie. pie a la mode. wood burning stoves. cranberry sauce and gravy. so many days with michael home. quiet streets. low light through the trees. neighborhood strolls. crazy dogs. in-laws. dollar store candle holders. okay kid. stereo.


out of this world

On Saturday at four in the morning at my friend's house in DC, I woke up abruptly, looked at the clock and thought, I bet Calvin is having a seizure. Sure enough (I found out later when I called home) he was. It's a helpless feeling being a world away from my son, particularly when he isn't doing well. 

I managed to go back to sleep, but not before pondering the unforgettable images I'd seen at the The National Museum of African American History and Culture the day before. I had spent hours there, perusing several floors inside the massive structure which reminded me both of a ship and an African basket, with its sculpted bronze facade. My journey began in the building's bowels in the year 1400, the advent of the African slave trade. Visitors, most of them African Americans, wove their way through artifacts, descriptions and quotes chronicling the hellish transatlantic voyage that enslaved African men, women and children had to endure. I read accounts of what I already knew, of children being torn from their mothers to be sold at auction, of humans being stripped, oiled and groped, regarded as chattel and treated like animals, of humiliation and rape, of lashing and lynching and burning at the stake. I read what I know to be fact, that all men are created equal, and yet claim to this truth is still out of reach for too many souls. At times the images brought me to tears, mourning the wretched things white men did to fellow human beings, lamenting the ongoing racism in this nation and its denial by so many, but hopeful that folks can continue to be enlightened beyond their ignorant selves.

That night I used Uber for the first time, perhaps convincing my young driver, Mario, to purchase health insurance on the ACA exchange. When I reached my destination, an Italian restaurant with white linen-topped tables, I sat and drank Barbaresco and nibbled on succulent roasted octopus, a whole Mediterranean fish filet, and pasta frutti di mare, all courtesy of my patron, our dear friend Ades who lives in Virginia and adores our son. We caught up on our goings-on, and I expressed hope that Paul could visit us in Maine more often. Just shy of midnight, we closed down the restaurant with a mini caramel cheesecake, an espresso, and twin glasses of Limoncello.

My short visit out of this world and into to our nation's capital had begun as a good one, though peppered with sadness missing Michael, Calvin and Nellie, and when reminded of how significantly disabled my son is—at first smiling at walking toddlers no taller than my knee, then weeping at the sight of children talking with their fathers and quizzing their mothers about historical scenes; my grieving over Calvin's great limitations never ceases to ease.

Though the weather was windy and frigid, I managed to stay warm by walking in-between monuments, memorials and museums. I walked over six miles each day, not including the hours I spent on my feet viewing exhibits. On Saturday I visited The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was as sober as the previous day's tour through our own nation's ongoing wrongdoings against African Americans. Again, I wept for the innocents who suffered such miserable crimes of humanity. One by one I came across heart-wrenching displays. The first people to be killed by the Nazis were the mentally and physically disabled. Children like my son Calvin, whether Jewish or not, would have been taken from their parents and murdered by use of lethal injection in an attempt to cleanse the Arian Nation. The Nazis killed the elderly and the infirm. They killed Catholics and homosexuals. They systematically imprisoned and murdered millions of Jewish men, women and children.

I came upon a familiar quote we best heed which reminded me of our sorry-ass POTUS, too many Republicans in congress and other deplorable White Nationalists and bigots:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

And another, thought to have been spoken by Albert Einstein:

The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

And, I read aloud with conviction the words emblazoned on a banner in the hall of the Holocaust museum:



My last morning was less somber. It began with a latte topped with heart-shaped foam. Across the table from me was my host and new friend, Jen, who had given me her bed, lent me her hairdryer, her jacket and a small backpack, and was my personal docent unearthing the best pork bun in China Town and helping me navigate the city. 

Hours before my train to the airport departed, I was fetched by our dear friend David's eighty-two year old mother, Yolanda, who I had never met before. She treated me to the most exquisite brunch at the swanky Hay Adams hotel that was completely out of this world. As the servers poured us endless flutes of champagne, we chatted, laughed and got teary-eyed as if we were dear old friends, all while nibbling on delectables from a ridiculously sumptuous buffet which included oysters on the half shell, seared tuna medallions, lumps of melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella buffata, roasted apples and pears, roasted split figs stuffed with chèvre, prosciutto, salami, scallops, prawns, smoked salmon, beet and quinoa salad, roasted eggplant and squash, tender asparagus spears with hollandaise sauce, ruby red grapefruit sections, every kind of croissant, raisin buns, savory cheeses, and candied pecans. Then, if you can believe it, came the main course. I chose crab-cake Benedict with poached eggs. Yolanda opted for steak au poivre with duck fat fries on the side. As if that wasn't enough we indulged on tiny cups of creme brûlée, and a slice of chocolate mouse cake. All the while I kept reminding myself to be grateful for my good fortune in this often intolerant, oft-forgiving, crazy-ass, upside down world. 


dc or bust

After a month of angst, this morning I boarded a plane bound for Washington DC, flying on a ticket that was meant to take me to the Womens March last January, but didn't because I got cold feet.

As I made my way through the Jetport security I heard someone call my name. I looked over my shoulder to see my friend Lynette, a woman who used to be my colleague and became my boss at the last job I held before Calvin’s birth, which was as a senior apparel designer at a major outdoor company in Maine. We embraced then headed for the gate where another of my former colleagues, Jackie, was waiting. The women, both faithful followers of my blog, and two of only a handful or three of people I liked and respected at my job, were traveling together to QVC headquarters hoping to place a line of shoes Jackie designs, called Jax and Bard.

When the three of us gave each other a group hug, I told them that just yesterday I had seen messages from them both on social media and had looked them up to see their lovely faces. Jackie said, “there are no accidents” and I promptly stated my disbelief in such notions.

We had some time to kill before boarding, so they suggested we get Bloody Marys at the bar. It was just what I needed to unravel my worries over leaving behind Calvin and Michael to fend for themselves.

While boarding the plane, I glanced down at the small pink and green floral kerchief I tied to my luggage so it can be easily identified, a Liberty Print square with scalloped crocheted edges that Lynette had brought back to me from London over fourteen years ago. I’ve used it to flag my luggage all these years in-between. The words, there are no accidents ran through my brain as a twinge of nostalgia pricked my skin.

On the flight south we sat together in the last row, caught up and reminisced. They told me that often my blog brings them to tears; I told them how much their loyal readership means to me. We traded war stories of our employment, asked after former colleagues, and fawned over Jackie's shoe designs.

I made it to DC safely and called home to check on my boys. Calvin was happy splashing in the bathtub and Michael seemed just fine. And, yes, I am as crazy as I look in this photo, especially when I'm about to be citified.

Selfie by Jackie Lindstedt



This month has already been a terrible one for Calvin, mostly in terms of seizures rather than behavior. I'm trying not to sink back into despair after having enjoyed a pretty good September and October which I had hoped meant the beginning of better days for my son.

After yesterday morning's grand mal seizure, the sixth one in just over two weeks—a number that I consider high for an entire month much less seventeen days—and having had seven partial complex seizures in the span of five days last week, I laid with Calvin in bed racking my brain about what I should do next.

The thought occurred to me that perhaps the CBD might be the culprit and that I should cast my net out to other parents on social media asking them if their children have experienced an increase in seizures with the addition of CBD. Scores of parents confirmed my hunch.

So, yesterday we halved Calvin's CBD oil. He slept well last night and did not have any partial seizures this morning. After I put him on the bus, I took out my calendars and, starting with 2014 when I first began giving Calvin a homemade THCA oil and, two months later, started his benzodiazepine wean, I charted his grand mal and partial complex seizures. I saw what I had not seen before: what looked like a pretty clear correlation between beginning a CBD oil (seven months after the advent of THCA) and the re-emergence of partial complex seizures which had been virtually absent for years. At the time, I had introduced the CBD because of a fearful uptick in grand mals, and I remember thinking that the partial seizures and spates of status epilepticus were due to the benzodiazepine withdrawal.

There is no way of knowing for sure, but it will be interesting to see if my tinkering—this decrease in CBD oil, perhaps its eventual elimination—will result in the lessening or disappearance of Calvin's complex partial seizures. Cross your fingers and knock on wood that things get better and don't go all to hell.

Photo by Phoebe Parker


some things stay the same

Hard to imagine this video was taken almost six years ago; some things change and some things stay the same.

This was pretty much what my day looked like today, minus the safety harness Calvin is wearing, minus the husband by my side, minus Rudy The Dog, minus the levity on that particular day. Calvin still insists on his quest to stare at the low southern sun; it is the bane of my existence, causing me to spend all of my time trying to eclipse its existence to the degree that my lone shadow can.

But after I screamed at the top of my lungs for him to stop, I impatiently loaded him into the car and took him to the gelato shop. There, he was compliant and seemed to love the frozen, minty-chocolate treat, then walked two blocks on downtown streets in near freezing temps without balking even once. Later, Calvin was content in the car on the drive to Michael's studio, then waiting for him to put his motorcycle to bed for the winter and to siphon its gas into our car.

Tonight, the fire is roaring and it is meant to get into the teens. We have leftovers of a white bolognese over rigatoni, and Repo Man is cued up on the screen.


feeling defeated

Years ago I lost my religion. Had I not then, however, there's little doubt I'd have lost it raising a disabled child with a chronic condition as heinous as epilepsy—just one of the many things in life, besides starving children and war and genocide and massacres in churches, that proves to me there is no merciful God in the heavens.

At three-fifty this morning, Calvin suffered another grand mal, bringing his two-week total—not including complex partial seizures—to five after having enjoyed nearly an entire month having had only two. Michael is on his way home from Boston today, so I had to go it alone.

Before the seizure, I got up more than a handful of times to lay Calvin back down in his bed and give him some of my homemade THCA tincture aiming to thwart a somewhat-anticipated seizure. I awoke later to the blood-curdling shriek that usually announces the ordeal. I made sure his head, hands and feet weren't smacking the bed. I yanked off his socks and rubbed frankincense on the soles of his feet. When it was over, I gave him some THC. Then I gave him his benzodiazepine early. I chased them both with syringes of water. I changed a soaking diaper. I got in next to him. He fell asleep. He woke minutes later having wet himself and his bed. I changed him again. Every few minutes he kept sitting up, banging the bed, working his fingers in a frenzy in front of his face, his heart beating furiously in his chest.

He's sitting in front of me now and I hardly recognize him, the way he juts his jaw, purses his lips and clenches his teeth creating a phantom dimple on the side of his cheek that I only see in the hours before a seizure. He's fingering like mad. I feel bad for him and yet irritated and slightly repulsed.

I wonder how I can keep this up. Keep following him around the house. Keep running for him and lunging to prevent him from a fall whenever he gets into a stand. Keep thwarting his eye-poking and sun-staring and shirt-biting and head-banging. Keep changing his diapers and hearing his shrieks and chopping his food and wiping his drool and mopping his juice and laying him down and picking him up and holding his hand and giving him supps and watching him seize and never getting enough sleep, never able to finish any endeavor.

I wrote to Michael this morning telling him what happened. I told him I was feeling defeated. No doubt he feels helpless. All I want to do is go back to sleep.

Photo by Michael Kolster


full moon fit

Last night, when the full moon was at its peak in the sky, I watched my son while his father held him as he seized. It was an unusual time for Calvin to have a grand mal, and had Michael and I not stopped giggling in bed, we might not have heard it at all. At first I thought the sound was Nellie licking herself, but when we quieted I recognized the rhythmic smacking of Calvin's lips.

Unlike most nights, I hadn't fully expected this one; I was sure Calvin would make it to day ten without any seizures in between. He'd shown only a few of the harbingers that ring them in.

Still, nine days without any kind of seizure isn't a bad stint compared with at least half of Calvin's last eight months. But it isn't long enough to be sure that the new CBD oil we switched him to, the one with slightly more THC than the last one, is doing any further good. What I am interested in seeing is whether this new oil from Haleigh's Hope might help limit the partial complex seizures Calvin is prone to having in the hours and days after most of his grand mals.

What does seem somewhat clear is that the new concentrated THCA tincture I made a few weeks back does appear to thwart his grand mals to some extent. Typically, when Calvin has a grand mal before midnight, he almost always wakes later to a second one. This time, having given him doses of the tincture just after the seizure, then at 1:30 a.m. and again at 4:00 a.m., he did not have any more.

My boy is still not back to baseline, and the last time he had an evening grand mal he suffered two more the next morning. So we'll sit tight here at home today, giving him a tiny bit extra THCA, thankful that the moon has entered its waning stage.

Photo by Unknown


tricks and treats

Last Sunday's storm put so many of us out of power that town's Halloween celebrations were postponed until last night. So when five o'clock rolled around, I dressed Calvin in his best camouflage and walked him down to Woody's with his buddy Mary holding his other hand. We visited three other neighbors where Calvin managed to grab pieces of candy from each bowl, then attempted to put them into his mouth, wrapper and all. Though we hit half as many houses as we did last year, it was his best evening of trick-or-treating in his three-year history of going door to door, even with a boot splint on his left foot protecting a recent injury.

When Calvin was done, Michael and I snuck out for a date. As dusk fell we made the ten-minute drive to our friends' young restaurant, Salt Pine Social. There, we sat at the bar imbibing under ornamental lights that reminded me of wrapped candies. I marveled at the gigantic ice cube in Michael's glass of bourbon, one of several dozen that the bartender had painstakingly carved from an entire block of ice. One by one, tasty plates emerged from the kitchen. First, we enjoyed a pâté of bacalhau—the Portuguese word for cod—resting in a spicy tomato sauce with crispy fried mini polenta cakes. Next to arrive was a platter of local oysters on the half shell accompanied by an exquisite glass of madeira, all compliments of the chef. In between dishes our hosts stopped over to visit and to bestow us with hugs and kisses. After we had gobbled down the mollusks, we supped on plump grilled octopus, poached turnip and shaved radish disks steeped in ovgolemono broth. As we were finishing that dish along came another comp from the chef: a parchment-lined basket of tempura-fried avocado wedges with lime and chipotle remoulade (my mouth is watering just writing this). We finished with a medallion of monkfish liver the color of yams or dark pumpkin, served with dainty pickled blackberries, fried rice crisps, pear nuggets, jalapeño, charred cucumber and a drizzling of tangy ponzu sauce.

As we dined, I expressed my gratitude both silently and out loud for our many fortunes in this life—for having gotten our heat back within two days of the storm, for the huge tree having missed our house, for having the luxury of drinking at a bar and eating scrumptious food in a handsome establishment, for lovely friends and generous hosts, for colorful light fixtures that look like candies or planets and stars, for Calvin's friend and caretaker Mary, for gauzy scarves from Paris and sexy shirts from Salvation Army, for reliable, comfortable cars, for beautiful gardens, for Calvin slowly coming off of benzodiazepine, for cannabis as his medicine, for a boy who is making strides and seems to be getting incrementally better by the day, for kind and loving neighbors, for a Halloween free from seizures or hospitals or accidents or surgeries.

Back at home, the large bowl of candy we had left out with a note asking children to "please take just one or two" was empty. Knowing full-well seventy children had not come by, no doubt someone had absconded with the sweets. Woody told me later that he'd seen a group of teenage boys lurking around the porches of those of us who had left candy in our absence. We had been tricked, even though we had offered them treats in return for mercy. In the scheme of things, though, and in recounting so many fortunes, I thought to myself, it's a first-world problem.

Photo by Mary Booth Scarpone


everything you wanted to know about benzodiazepines but were afraid to ask

. . . and, or, your or your child's doctor didn't tell you or know about in the first place.

Below are some outtakes from the Ashton Manual, a critical guide—a bible, really—for current and potential benzo users to peruse, study, familiarize and perhaps memorize.

Calvin is in his fourth year of weaning his second benzodiazepine. He is down to less than one milligram per day from a high of thirty-five—an enormous dose for a pint-sized child. The first benzo, clonazepam, was prescribed when he was just three years old. Had I known then what I know now, I would have flatly refused his neurologist's suggestion to put Calvin on it, particularly while simultaneously starting him on two other drugs. Alas, as neurologists seem to do, the doctor downplayed its side effects, neglected to inform me of the body's tendency for rapid habituation to it, and assured me it was meant as a bridge drug to be used for only a few weeks. It took another benzo, clobazam, to safely come off of it two years later. Calvin has been on clobazam for the good part of a decade. Again, had I known then what I know now. Sigh.

Paradoxical Stimulant Effects
Benzodiazepines occasionally cause paradoxical excitement with increased anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, hypnogogic hallucinations at sleep onset, irritability, hyperactive or aggressive behaviour, and exacerbation of seizures in epileptics. Increased aggression, hostility, and impulsivity occur in some subjects and may result in attacks of rage and violent behavior. 

Less dramatic increases in irritability and argumentativeness are much more common and often remarked on both by patients on long-term benzodiazepines and by their families.

Impairment of Memory
Benzodiazepines have long been known to induce anterograde amnesia. 

Tolerance can develop to all the actions of benzodiazepines, although at variable rates and to different degrees. Tolerance to hypnotic effects develops rapidly: sleep latency, stage 2 sleep, slow wave sleep, dreaming, and intrasleep awakenings all tend to return to pretreatment levels after a few weeks of regular hypnotic use.

Tolerance to anxiolytic effects seems to develop more slowly, but there is little evidence that benzodiazepines retain their effectiveness after 4 months of regular treatment, and clinical observations suggest that long-term benzodiazepine use over the years does little to control, and may even aggravate, anxiety states.

Structural Brain Damage
The question of whether prolonged benzodiazepine use can cause structural brain damage remains unanswered. It remains possible that subtle, perhaps reversible, structural changes may underlie the neuropsychological impairments shown in long-term benzodiazepine users.

Withdrawal Symptoms
Abrupt withdrawal from high doses can cause a severe reaction, including convulsions and psychotic episodes. Withdrawal symptoms from therapeutic doses are mainly those of anxiety, both psychological and somatic, but certain symptoms such as sensory hypersensitivity and perceptual distortion may be especially prominent, and depression may sometimes be a prominent feature.

Long-term benzodiazepine use is associated with more severe adverse effects, including memory impairment, depression, tolerance, and dependence.

Mechanisms of Withdrawal Reactions
Drug withdrawal reactions in general tend to consist of a mirror image of the drugs' initial effects. In the case of benzodiazepines, sudden cessation after chronic use may result in dreamless sleep being replaced by insomnia and nightmares; muscle relaxation by increased tension and muscle spasms; tranquillity by anxiety and panic; anticonvulsant effects by epileptic seizures. These reactions are caused by the abrupt exposure of adaptations that have occurred in the nervous system in response to the chronic presence of the drug. Rapid removal of the drug opens the floodgates, resulting in rebound overactivity of all the systems which have been damped down by the benzodiazepine and are now no longer opposed. Nearly all the excitatory mechanisms in the nervous system go into overdrive and, until new adaptations to the drug-free state develop, the brain and peripheral nervous system are in a hyperexcitable state, and extremely vulnerable to stress.

Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawal
Excitability (jumpiness, restlessness), insomnia, nightmares, other sleep disturbances, increased anxiety, panic attack, agoraphobia, social phobia, perceptual distortions, depersonalization, derealization, hallucinations, misperceptions, depression, obsessions, paranoid thoughts, rage, aggression, irritability, poor memory and concentration, intrusive memories, craving.

Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal
Headache, pain/stiffness (limbs, back, neck, teeth, jaw), tingling, numbness, altered sensation (limbs, face, trunk), weakness ("jelly-legs"), fatigue, influenza-like symptoms, muscle twitches, jerks, tics, "electric shocks," tremor, dizziness, light-headedness, poor balance, blurred/double vision, sore or dry eyes, tinnitus, hypersensitivity (light, sound, touch, taste, smell), gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,,constipation, pain, distension, difficulty swallowing), appetite/weight change, dry mouth, metallic taste, unusual smell, flushing/sweating/palpitations, overbreathing, urinary difficulties/menstrual difficulties, skin rashes, itching, seizures.

Photo by Michael Kolster