What’s a Warrior Mom or Dad Anyway?

b88c4ff1ba453f745e54a61d222cc76f I am sure that there are a lot of various opinions of what it means to be a Warrior Mom or Warrior Dad. The past week has brought many different emotions for me, all familiar for any parent who has a child with special needs. FRUSTRATION/ANGER: Angry that I cannot get the right treatments for Brett concerning his ankles, legs and pain problems. Angry that we yet again have landed in a place that does not have more than one neurologist close by who is willing to see Brynn and Brett because “They have complex care needs.” Angry that I have to make all these phone calls just to get the prescriptions every month, it’s not supposed to be this complicated.  The list goes on, but you get the point. SADNESS/GRIEF: Going through facebook photos looking at how great Brett looks compared to a few years ago, I saw artwork he had done back in 2012. Paintings that he is not capable of today. It’s a painful sting to the heart, to remember my beautiful little boy that was to be, that is not anymore. When your child regresses and looses skills, years of development, there is a grieving process that you must go through. At some point, you realize what the physicians are not telling you, that your child will never become the child that he/she was born to be. This monster has stolen that child and now, the child that you are left with is and will be only a shell of that child. Ultimate sadness yet again as I read that another precious child was taken by seizures. No matter how many times we read those statistics, or hear about SUDEP or even tell others about the risk of death that seizures bring, it will never change the sadness that our community feels when we loose another precious child, mother, father, sister, brother, anyone to epilepsy. One seizure is all it takes, ONE. 

 So, what is a Warrior Mom/Dad to me? A Warrior Mom or Dad to me is a Parent who becomes involved in their child’s epilepsy journey to such a degree that they don’t often have time for pity parties. They don’t post on social media every time they get sick, have a seizure, visit a doctor, get new glasses or go to the park. They would rather spend that time advocating for epilepsy awareness, researching treatments and options for their own child and as many others as possible, helping support the overall epilepsy community as well as other epilepsy families and especially those newly diagnosed.
 I’m going to say this in the nicest way possible, and I do mean this in love. If you have a child who has been diagnosed with epilepsy for 5+ years and you cannot answer these basic questions you need to learn the answers to begin advocating for your child effectively. 
1. What type/types of seizures does he/she have? 2. Are they Partial or Generalized?  3. What medications is he/she currently taking? 4. Has Genetic test been done? If so was a gene identified? Which one/ones? 5. What part/parts of the brain are the seizures coming from? 6. Does he/she have a VNS? Why/Why not? 7. What’s the longest period of time since diagnoses that he/she has been seizure free? 8. How many seizures per week or month that you see on average? 9. When was the last EEG and what were the results?  10. What is your child’s seizure plan for a seizure over 3 minutes, 5 minutes? Do you have medication at home to use in the vent of a seizure that goes over the time that is safe? Why/why not?

 Frankly speaking, I see so many parents in the epilepsy community and I worry about so many of you. Especially when it’s been in that 5-10 year since diagnosis range and your still there, posting the same things or worse just like a diary of your child’s life in a support group but you never seem to mature in your journey to the level of advocate that you begin to reach out and help others the same way that you were helped. THAT is what makes a WARRIOR MOM/DAD so great. I mean who else can, right? 

~Denise

Check out my Etsy shoop for VNS Bracelets, Bands and Clips. Awareness decals, and other Special Needs items! http://etsy.com/shop/EWB2

c9b9f94ad5c117778e0df94ef083466d--warrior-tattoo-female-warrior-girl

Blessings and update on Brynn and Brett

We visited the new neurologist yesterday. My head is still swimming with all the information that we were given in just one visit. Abigail and I went to to the back pretty quickly for her EEG and Brandon, Brynn and Brett waited in the waiting room. Not long after being back there with her, a nurse came to tell me that Brett was having seizures. He apparently had a cluster of Complex Partial seizures.

 I waited for Abigail’s EEG to get started good and asked if I could go check on Brett. I found him with several people, nurses and people that worked there. They were sitting next to him, standing by him and talking to him. I later learned that they didn’t just sit by him and talk to him. They snapped their fingers and clapped loudly in his face to be sure that he was not conscious. This is important in partial seizure as a Simple Partial you are aware and a

Complex Partial you are not aware. Other than being in the hospital or home, no one had ever assisted us before during a seizure. I am sure it was a good learning experience for all the people that were there and saw it. By the time Abigail’s EEG was completed they had put Brett in a wheel chair and brought them to meet us to get weight, measured and talk to the nutritionist. We then gathered in a large room with the Doctor, 4 Nurses, the EEG Tech, Abigail, Brandon, Brynn, Brett and I. Brett was first and it was obvious that he needed some changes since he had the cluster there. We talked about Brett’s hospital admission to the EMU for 6 days. I told him that I felt that Dr. made him worse by messing with his medications. He has not been the same since he crashed the night before discharge. He slept 10 hours his last night there. Slept through discharge, including having the wires removed and had to get to the vehicle by wheelchair because he could not walk at all. He slept four hours after on the way home.

He started having a new seizure type after he got home, was having tons of little seizures that would only stop with Ativan and would return. His stomach aura was much worse and he was generally off balance and completely not with us most of the time for a few weeks. In the six weeks since he was discharged he was a lot worse than he was in the six weeks before he went. He really felt that the Lamictal could actually be causing the Topamax to not work

as effectively or that the Lamictal may not be a good drug choice for Brett. So we decided to add Depakote, since Brynn had a good response on it for so long. We talked about how Brynn and Brett respond so well to Benzo’s and even how odd it is that Brynn and Brett both tend to not get sleepy after given a Benzo. He asked curiously how Brynn responded after he started Vimpat.I told him I have a video, that Brynn was so awake and alert after starting Vimpat that we were amazed! Turns out that people that respond like they do to Benzos often have the same response from Vimpat. It has to do with brain chemistry and Vimpat is likely going to be really good for Brett like it was for Brynn. 

He even talked about the extreme Keppra rage Brett experienced and said that people with their kind of brain chemistry actually are the ones to usually have that effect from Keppra, just so much hyper aware that it has a very negative impact of their functioning. So right off the bat I got an answer to a question I had pondered so many times! So of course we decided to try adding Vimpat instead of Depakote for Brett and we agreed that Onfi should be next. We talked about Brett’s Left eye and how it often kicks out

and gets stuck before and after seizures. He was very educated about what could be the cause of this and he called the eyes bouncing up and down and side to side Nystagmus and said that he also has ataxia. He went in to great detail (a lot of it was over my head) after I came home I did research the words he used and figured it out, Cerebellar Ataxia. I realized after researching that the Nystagmus is actually a symptom of

 it, so is double vision. Boom, another mystery answered! Abigail was next, her EEG was normal and we decided that if I became concerned I could contact him and request a 24 hour or longer study. He felt strongly that whatever we are dealing with is a rare syndrome passed on from me to the boys. He said that the video of Abigail really could be parasomnias. 

I felt that since she was not wetting herself like the boys did and since I had not seen any real evidence of activity while awake I would just keep watching her. Brynn was next, we talked about Brynnon’s history and we talked about how Brynnon has been doing so well, having an average of only 1-3 seizures a week is so great for him considering his past history. 

I stressed that I wanted to leave things exactly as they are and he agreed. As we were finishing up with Brynn Brett bounced back a bit from the seizure cluster and started to play, rolling around in the wheel chair. We both smiled and I said, see… now that his postictal phase is almost over you get to see the real Brett! He shook his head and said that is really shocking that he can function so well on that high a dose of Topamax. So all in all, that was the best visit we have had in a long time. My heart is in New Orleans with their prior Neuro, but considering where Brett is on the seizure journey and the 5 hour drive for care… my head says it is safe enough to stick with this one. So, that is what we will do! 

  So after this really neat experience, I must say that is our closest experience to “The Village” that we have ever experienced. I recently read this book by Lowel Evans. I realized as I was reading it that “The Village” is what has been missing in our lives. You know it’s sad in this day and time, people rarely take time to call, write or contact people in any way. Even families have so much less contact than previous generations. Epilepsy is a stigmatized, unknown and misunderstood condition to begin with. If you take a family like mine and throw epilepsy in, well you end up feeling like you are all alone!

Since my Mother was murdered in 91′, we homeschool and we moved for work so many times our children have missed out on a lot. We haven’t really had the “family” like most people do for most of my children’s lives. I have six children and I can count on one hand the times that my children have had birthday parties where people attended. I can also count on two fingers how many times the boys were hospitalized and someone visited them. The Village concept is one that people reach out and help each other. Not

necessarily with money but just general support when people are going through hard times or trials. The Village is the community that the character in the story lives in and when he is targeted for having Epilepsy at his job, the village all comes together and helps him not only get through the hard time in his life but they help him feel loved and wanted. You can read about the book and get a copy  here:   http://thevillageiscoming.blogspot.com/

  So, The Village book got me thinking how much it is needed for the Epilepsy Community to reach the outsiders to educate them and the outsiders to reach them to support them. We started seeing some of this concept in our own lives when a friend donated to make Blue’s deposit possible. Through the small donations given by a few people we kept the hope.

Through the donation from a Rowan Company of $500 we were amazed! Blue’s balance dropped to $2,500 after that generous donation! KONG sending the boys a box filled with goodies for Blue, People sending messages to check on the boys, my sweet friend and her husband praying for the boys and donating, finding out that the Church you use to attend 20 years ago has taken up donations for Blue… All of this is The Village

concept in real life. I can’t describe what a blessing it is to know that people want to reach out to Brynn and Brett. I just wanted to say how grateful we are to those that have helped us get closer to getting Blue home! It means so much to Brynn, Brett and our family! She will likely be ready around February, and we believe that the funds will come… that the village will come together and get Blue home!

~

~

~

~

~

~

~Colossians 3:15-20 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  
~Ephesians 1:16-18 – Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers…