Tag - Epilepsy

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Purple Day—Our Epilepsy Story
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Living With The Fear of SUDEP
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Epilepsy
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International Epilepsy Awareness Day
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A Peek Inside Her Head
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Brain Waving
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Sleep Studies Are Tiring!
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How Confronting My Child’s Doctor Brought Me Peace

Purple Day—Our Epilepsy Story

When our daughter was eight months old she was diagnosed with a chromosome 3P deletion/duplication disorder. Doctors told us to expect some devastating things. Some came true, but thankfully most did not. The one thing they didn’t tell us to expect was seizures—those began when Avery turned three. We were caught completely by surprise.  One afternoon I put Avery down for her nap and when it seemed to last a little longer than usual, I went to check on her. When I stepped inside her room I knew something was wrong. There was vomit on her crib rails, she was blue, and she wasn’t breathing. I scooped her up, limp in my arms and called 911. I must’ve screamed because our son, who was six at the time, had come out from his room and was looking at me with the most fearful eyes.  I said, “Sebastian don’t be afraid, but in a few minutes some fireman are going to come through the door to help Avery.” I didn’t understand what was happening. I’d never seen her have a seizure. We didn’t even know she had epilepsy. I told our son to keep out of the way and that everything[…]

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Living With The Fear of SUDEP

SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy) When a child in our community dies suddenly, the world closes in around us. Having to explain to our daughter that her ten-year-old friend died unexpectedly was hard. It’s tough enough to make sense of it as an adult. For a child, it’s incomprehensible. The sorrow we feel for this beautiful family goes beyond sympathy. We feel a level of empathy that only other epilepsy parents would know. When a child is lost to SUDEP all parents of children with epilepsy receive a jarring reminder that this can happen. No child is exempt.  We are devastated for the family. It hits close to home as we direct some of the shock inward by recalling our own children’s worst seizures. We relive the panic. We hear the ambulance sirens and repeat the silent prayers and promises to the almighty or whomever is listening to “Just please, please let her be okay.” When an otherwise healthy child dies without warning or explanation, it shakes us to the core. For me, post traumatic stress has brought up memories from our daughter’s first violent seizures at the age of three when we came very close to losing her. SUDEP—sudden[…]

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Epilepsy

Sometimes I forget our daughter has Epilepsy. But only for a second. We’re incredibly lucky her seizures are suppressed by medications, but it’s impossible to forget the traumatic years when they were not.  Avery’s first major seizure happened when she was three and a half. I shared the story of what happened in every painful detail. I’m sharing the link again HERE. Even after all this time, I find it difficult to read. Even though it was nearly eight years ago now, those seizures just before Avery turned five were brutal.  Every year since she has an EEG to assess the seizure activity in her brain. And every year while we wait for the results we hope for the news that there is no seizure activity or that the electrical abnormalities remain unchanged, in equal measure.  It may sound odd to hope for no improvement, but if her brain activity appears normal the neurologist will take her off anticonvulsants. And this could mean more horrifying seizures.  When neurons discharge inappropriately they cause abnormal electrical impulses in the brain. This results in seizure activity which can lead to abnormal motor activity or convulsions, and loss of consciousness, and if not controlled as soon[…]

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International Epilepsy Awareness Day

  March 26 is International Epilepsy Awareness Day and Gary Collins, the Executive Director of Epilepsy Canada, will dye his hair purple on that day to raise money for epilepsy research. Our daughter Avery is among the over 300,000 Canadians, including Mr. Collins, who have been diagnosed with epilepsy. Another 15,000 will be diagnosed this year. The seizure inducing condition is a neurological issue affecting the brain and is much more common than people realize. Epilepsy affects one in every 100 people worldwide. Thankfully, medication keeps Avery’s once life-threatening seizures under control. Unfortunately 30% of people live with seizures which are resistant to drug therapies. During March, Epilepsy Awareness month, people are being encouraged to donate to Epilepsy Canada’s research grants program. Since 1966, Epilepsy Canada has annually funded important epilepsy research projects at major Canadian hospitals and universities. Money raised by the Purple Hair 4 Epilepsy and other initiatives will contribute to keeping the funding program alive. Anyone who wishes to sponsor Gary or others who have pledged to colour their hair purple can do so online at www.purplehair4epilepsy.com.

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A Peek Inside Her Head

  Have you ever looked at your child and asked, “What is going inside that head of yours?” Apparently there’s a way to find out. Just hook up them to tangle of rainbow coloured wires and take a gander at their brain waves… Avery has been having seizures since she was three years old. This is attributed in some way to her genetic disorder. Luckily for us, we have found the perfect balance of medications and outside of a few minor absence seizures, she has been seizure free for nearly two years. She was tested a few years ago and the results showed “moderate seizure activity” despite having relatively few physical symptoms. So now it’s time again; the neurologist scheduled another peek via EEG. If no seizure activity is present, he will wean her off the anti seizure meds. This is both thrilling and terrifying… “But, what if her seizures come back?!” I protested. “She’s fine on the meds. Can’t we just wait a little longer?” “We need to give her a chance,” he told me. “You don’t keep someone on medication if they don’t need it.” He’s right. I may not like it, but this is what happens now.[…]

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Brain Waving

Our beautiful daughter has Epilepsy. I refused to believe it at first, but couldn’t dispute that the squiggly lines on the electroencephalography monitor were indicative of a life threatening seizure disorder. After a year of tweaking her meds, we were thankfully able to control her seizures and Avery has been footloose and (nearly) seizure free for over a year now. Though she still has the occasional absence seizure, the BIG ONES seems to be a distant memory.   So as pediatric neurology dictates, Avery goes into hospital as an outpatient for an EEG to get a look at what’s going on in her little blonde head.   Patients must remain still and be completely relaxed for this test. Um, this patient is five and a little monkey; hence the fact that she will need to be sedated. Can they sedate me too ’cause every time she goes under I want to barf. If you ask me, there’s nothing “general” about general anesthesia. There are risks and the possibility of very real complications…especially with a medically complicated child like ours.    Alas, in order to get a proper reading she needs to be asleep. She also needs to be sleep deprived[…]

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Sleep Studies Are Tiring!

Our daughter had a sleep study last week in hopes of getting to the bottom of why she has such a difficult time staying asleep. When we arrived at the Sleep Lab, Avery was happy to be there. I suppose there’s a certain air of excitement—new environment, friendly faces, lots of attention, rubber gloves. She was rigged with wires glued to her head and bands strapped around her tiny chest. And after some cuddle time and several rounds of ad-libbed lullabies sung horribly wrong by yours truly, she went to sleep like the little trooper she is.  She was in a narrow bed, HIGH up off the hard floor and I told the technician I was concerned about her waking in the night and bolting as I slept unaware in my bed, aka petrified log with a whisper of a blanket and imagining of a pillow. Jeremy the tech guy told me “to relax” (Oh now I love it when people say that) and that they’ve never had any problems. He’d be watching on the monitor though just in case. Flash forward to 12:10 a.m…. Hellooooo bolter! The next two hours were your basic gong show. Avery wanted out of that bed and[…]

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How Confronting My Child’s Doctor Brought Me Peace

Since our daughter was little, we’ve worked with cardiologists, neurologists, therapists, orthotists, geneticists, pharmacists, speech pathologists—so many “ists.”. There was a time when I followed a specialist’s advice without question. They were the professional—the expert. Who was I to question them? That was then. Now I question everything. I research every word. I seek second and third opinions. I don’t care about the glares. I don’t care if I’m disliked. I do care about my children. They are my priority. Last week my husband took the kids to his parent’s while I hosted a party at our house. At 11:30 p.m. he phoned to say an ambulance was coming to take Avery to the hospital. She was having a seizure that wouldn’t stop. I met them in the ER. The seizure eventually stopped on its own, without medication this time. They eventually sent us home and told us to follow up with our neurologist. The following afternoon, I put Avery down for her nap. Thanks to our generous family, we now had a video surveillance camera in her room. I could see her lying in her crib on her side, staring, not blinking. I ran to her room as her eyes began repeatedly[…]

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