Tag - seizures

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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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Seizures and Todd’s Paralysis

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. They’ll help Avery.” I didn’t understand what was happening. I’d never seen her have a seizure. We didn’t know yet that she has epilepsy. I told our son to keep out of the way and that[…]

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Living With The Fear of SUDEP

SUDEP (sudden unexpected 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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Seizures and Todd’s Paralysis

Our daughter had her first seizure the summer of 2009.  She stopped breathing and her heart raced out of control. There are times, even years later, that I stand in her room reliving that night, imagining all the what ifs in painful detail. What if the ambulance hadn’t made it in time? What if, what if, what if… After starting meds, the seizures continued, but lessened in severity. Each occurred during sleep. The neurologist believed the transition from one level of sleep into another was some sort of trigger. Then Avery had her first seizure while she was awake. It lasted a few minutes and stopped abruptly, leaving her left side limp, temporarily paralyzed. We thought she had possibly had a stroke. We later learned she had experienced Todd’s Paralysis — a focal weakness in part of the body, occurring after about 13% of seizures. It’s amazing how easy it is to mask your panic when you have another child to consider. Our son witnessed the seisure. “Oh no, oh no, oh no.” he repeated.  “She’s fine,” we told him in an absurdly casual tone. “We’re going to take her to the doctor just to be safe. There’s nothing to[…]

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