Spinning Wheels

IMG_6778We have been in AL for almost two years now. Frightening thought, considering that I had anticipated better care for the boys here and ended up with less than they had before. To date, they have seen 4 Pediatric Neurologist, 1 Geneticist and still just spinning our wheels as far as the “why.” Currently, we are traveling longer than we were from MS to New Orleans just to see a Pediatric Neurologist who at least seems to  have the ability to think outside the box. I still would never leave MS given the chance to do that over!
I don’t think anything could have prepared me for this journey with Brett, even Brynn’s journey was so different, looking back seems less stressful and complicated in comparison. IMG_6885
Tonight, Brett had a mild seizure as he walked down the hall towards his room for bed. I stood there talking to him and when he was ready we proceeded to his room. I read their Warrior Devotional, said our prayers, kissed both my warrior boys on the cheek and headed out the room. Brett’s headphones are broken, so he wanted to listen to his music on his iPod dock. Simple, but unacceptable to Brynn who had to take an Ativan minutes before because he was slurring speech, racing thoughts just spouting out and his left arm was jerking in those familiar myoclonic twitches, all signs it was not going to be a good night. So argue they did and Brynn took the iPod from Brett and slung it to the bottom of the bed. Abigail calls out “Brett’s having a seizure.” Indeed, he is, so I get the magnet and swipe.
He IMG_6721seems to come around and I assume that’s all. I explain to Brynn that his headphones are broken and it would be nice if he could listen to K-Love to go to sleep. I find K-Love, wait for the play button and for it to load and ahhh, a lovely song is playing. All this time Brett has been tummy down on his bed with his chin on his arm on top the wood low headboard. I say “Brett, scoot down and lay right.” To which he answers, “Who’s Brett?” I ask him if he is okay and he looks at me, and I know by the look he has no clue who I am. So I find myself standing there thinking, how wrong it is that this is “normal” in my world. Nothing could have prepared me for the heart-shattering pain and fear I felt the first time I heard those words, yet here I am staring at my precious blue-eyed baby boy who just said them and I didn’t feel panic. As with any other part of our IMG_6648Epilepsy journey, and many others like us, I was not informed or prepared to ever hear those words. So many things that have happened have been exactly the same. I can’t tell you how many times I have stayed up and researched all  night something that happened just trying to make sense of it. I never heard about SUDEP until I read about Danny on Dannydid.com.  Ms. Willa who did Brynn’s first EEG told me, “It’s okay Momma, people don’t die from seizures.” The very first Pediatric Neurologist Brynn saw after his first known Tonic Clonic while sleeping said, “People don’t have seizures while sleeping, he won’t have another at night it will be during the day, if he has another, everyone is allowed one.” The second Pediatric Neurologist said, “His Cognitive challenges and seizures are not related.” I never heard nocturnal seizures, even though Brynn had his first Tonic Clonic seizure while sleeping until I researched it. Thankfully, we went for a second opinion and stayed there for a few years, long enough to be educated, eventually get Brett diagnosed as well. I have been known to say that no one gave me a book, a pamphlet or even some printouts that could explain most of what we have had to get blindsided with. I imagine it would be frightening to tell a parent, one day your child may not know their own name, how old they are and they may become afraid of you because they do not know who you are. I still feel as though if I had the proper knowledge it may have been less scary and could have saved me hours researching the medical literature available online! Hopefully, we will make some progress soon. I feel it’s important to get those answers, the why my two boys have this obviously genetic seizure disorder and where do we go from here would be nice too!
So here’s to you dear parent with a newly diagnosed with epilepsy child. 
1. There are at least a thousand things that could happen and very few are positive things. The most important advice I can give is to take it one day at a time and keep a really good seizure journal describing every detail until you figure out what type they are.
2. Epilepsy can damage the brain, but most seizures do not. If you feel that your child is showing signs of regression find a psychologist or neuropsychologist and get testing done. This will not only  give you a reference point should true regression occur, but it will likely also help you understand and strengths and weaknesses your child has.
3. Changes are going to happen. It’s rare to come across a parent who says that their child always has the same exact seizures at the same exact times. For most parents this can be the most frustrating part. You can never know when it will happen and this can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for a parent if the seizures become or remain intractable. This is also known to cause stress on marriage and friendships. It is imperative that you have a support system in place. Know the symptoms of Caregiver burnout, especially if you have other stressors in your family dynamics:
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/caregiving-stress-and-burnout.htm
4. Please, I cannot stress enough how important it is to learn the basics of seizure types and their symptoms.  I posted about this not long ago:
https://epilepsywarriorboys.com/2016/04/04/what-does-epilepsy-look-like-anyway/
5. Find other parents! There are several groups on facebook, you can find them by searching on facebook for “Child Epilepsy,” or similar terms and you may even have a local support group. Contact your local or State Epilepsy Foundation.
6. Know when to seek a Level 3/4 Epilepsy Center. The guidelines are here:
http://www.naec-epilepsy.org/spec_care/guidelines.htm
and to locate one use this link:
http://www.naec-epilepsy.org/find.htm

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The Stream of Rushing Water

I have been reminded over the past few weeks of the stream of rushing water. Many years ago I heard a preacher preach about the stream. Over the years I have expanded the concept as I have deepened my understanding of my own spiritual walk as well as through helping others to understand this. It has always been a strengthening thing to think upon and always seems to help me get over the rough patches. We are all as human beings in the great big stream of life little stones. Some of us have many different jagged edges. Some of us have jagged edges of bitterness, jealousy, self pity and so on. Some of us have a few big jagged edges. Doesn’t matter which kind you have… These jagged edges prevent us from going through the stream of life as Abba Father intended. It is only through bumping into other stones (people and life lessons) that these jagged edges are broken away. It can be a painful experience to have those jagged edges knocked off, but it is for our own good! In my own life I have had

many jagged edges knocked off… at times I had to stay by the bank a while to recover from the bump that it took to knock the tougher ones away. At the bank, I saw so many other stones in recovery too. Some of those stones left the bank and jumped back to the stream before I did… others stayed when I jumped back in and I never saw many of them again. Some stones will have more bumps because we need to be smoother for the life that we are called for. Some seem to keep going, as if they never had any jagged edges… There are even stones that are going with the flow and are not really chosen for a purpose, they just keep going and will reach the final destination in the same state that they were created. Many are called but few chosen. If you are chosen, you cannot reach your destination of who you are meant to be and do what you are called to do without getting rid of those jagged edges.       

You see, when David chose 5 stones to concur Goliath, he carefully chose SMOOTH stones. He chose five, not one. He was prepared for battle, he didn’t expect it to be easy and he was prepared for the Father to help him, not do it for him. Smooth stones have more distance, accuracy and they will hit the mark. Jagged stones stray off course, fall short of the mark and seldom go where they are sent. The next time you get bumped and are hurt by the words or actions of others or the life lesson that is bringing you down remember, it is necessary and will strengthen you. It will also help you to become smooth so that you will go further, not stray from the target and will help you to fulfill your purpose. As you ponder this, think about the faith it took David to say “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45) David knew his purpose, he knew his calling and he knew beyond a shadow of doubt that a small teenage boy could defeat a huge 9 foot giant, not of his own might but with Abba Father he could do anything!
In these past few months there have been lots of changes around here. Brynn has left baseline again and had a seizure riding his bike. His neuro says no more bike riding until his seizures are better controlled. Of course this means no 4-wheeler either, and this is heart breaking. Brynn has two favorite things to do in this world, ride his bike and 4-wheeler. We will be trying to purchase a recumbent bike for him to be safer since it is low to the ground and would be more stable if he had a seizure on it. We realize it could have been so much worse falling off a two wheeled bike, even with his helmet on. We have made some med changes (increasing Onfi and Vimpat PM dose) and have seen a better trend back towards his normal seizure baseline. Abigail has turned three and is learning to read very quickly. She had a surprise visit from her favorite person… Her Gan Gan!!!!!!!!

I am feeling very blessed lately by the generosity and love that the children have received from a few special people. Honestly, I believe in the past few months the smaller children have been given more than they ever have. $25 gift cards, headphones, remote control cars, spy gear & robot bugs for the boys, Lalaloopsy DVD’s, Dolls galore and clothes for Abigail… We even were blessed to receive a $50 gift card for immediate needs at Wal Mart. I feel so blessed and cherish those special friends and family that have made a difficult time easier to bare, it means so much to us all. I am glad to have you all in the stream with us… I am thankful for all of you that have sat on the bank with me and even thankful for those few who have knocked me a time or two. Regardless of the intentions, Abba Father will make what the enemy meant for evil into good for His glory… Thank You Abba Father for using our situation for Your glory… 

                                        Don’t ever doubt it, Abba father knows all…