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A former Block favourite opens up about her health struggles.

“I was sitting on the toilet going about my business when suddenly I blacked out.”

Maxine and Karstan were the happy go lucky couple of last year’s The Block: Glasshouse. And while the pair would seem to have it all after taking home substantial winnings and tying the knot on the show last September, Maxine is now opening up about a time in her life that was less than peachy.

Maxine, 25, has penned a blog post detailing her frightening experience of being misdiagnosed with epilepsy in 2013, before appearing on the hit amateur renovations show.

Maxine explains that she first became concerned with her health when, “I was sitting on the toilet going about my business when suddenly I blacked out. I woke up delirious on the bathroom floor, with a bitten tongue and feeling very confused about what had just happened.”

Maxine’s partner Karstan, 27, immediately came home from work and took her to the doctor where she underwent various blood tests and an EEG.

Karstan and Maxine.

Writing of her experience with the EEG, Maxine says, “The specialist attached the metal disks to my head until I looked like a complete alien and then asked me to hyperventilate for exactly 10 minutes. Apparently putting your body under stress segregates people with regular and irregular brain activity. As I breathed in and out I felt really confident, I remember thinking 'I got this' and wondering what the point of me even being there was.”

The Newcastle resident had been planning a trip to India with her mum at the time of her health scare and felt confident that there was nothing wrong with her health. “Life was stress free, I was engaged, happy, healthy (I thought) and I also thought that I was invincible,” she said.

Yet when Maxine went to the doctor to receive her results, it wasn’t the situation she was expecting. She explains that the doctor said it was not safe for her to fly to India, as she could have a seizure on the flight which could be life threatening.

“I remember thinking, ‘Is he serious?’ And then my body become numb,” Maxine wrote. “Within the next 20 minutes the specialist advised me that I had a severe form of epilepsy and would have to take medication twice a day for the rest of my life. He then proceeded to tell me about all of the scary and negative things that my future could hold.”

Maxine.

As a consequence of her diagnosis, Maxine had to take time off work and was not allowed near sharp objects. She could not be left home alone, could not drive, swim, ride a bike, or consume alcohol for a minimum of six months.

“I may need brain surgery, pregnancy in the future would need to be heavily planned to reduce the risk of deformities and my medication will probably make me depressed,” she continued.

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Having been severely shaken by the experience, Maxine explains, “I remember uncontrollably balling my eyes out, for once in my life I was scared for my life. I called Karstan as soon as I received the news and broke down, I felt so numb, I didn't know what to do or say, I WAS LOST. The feeling of being lost stuck around and I found myself continuously breaking down, collapsing, and crying until I had no more tears.”

Yet as time went on Maxine says she accepted her condition and followed the doctor’s instructions. However the medication she had been prescribed began to cause negative side-effects. “I began to feel depressed, I had highs and lows, mostly lows. I exercised constantly, however it didn't seem to change the way I felt. My family struggled with the results and my mum was in disbelief and looked for alternatives,” she revealed.

Karstan and Maxine.

With the aid of her mum, Maxine sought a second opinion. “I made sure that I didn't get my hopes up, I was really there for my mum,” she says.

After more testing the specialist Maxine had seen gave her some incredibly relieving news. “I was healthy, my brain was 100% - there was NOTHING WRONG WITH ME,” she explained.

Maxine became very emotional over the fact that she had been misdiagnosed. “Months of emotions ran through my body, I was having flashbacks and then thinking - how many other people are out there living with a diagnosis that they don't have?” she questioned.

Maxine now believes this experience has made her stronger. She decided to share her story so that people going through a similar experience can understand the importance of getting a second opinion. “We are all human, no one is perfect, no one is supernatural, we make mistakes, doctors are human too and make mistakes like the rest of us, they can misdiagnosis and are not always 100% accurate, so please keep this message stored away in your mind,” she concludes.

For a full version of the post, visit The Discovery Tails.

SCROLL THROUGH the gallery for more pictures of Maxine and Karstan...

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