Long Time No Update? Sorry!

We have had some busy weeks… We have once again moved, but this time we purchased a home. 

Brett has been on a roller coaster of seizure instability for months. We had finally gotten great control of the Atonic and Myoclonic seizures when his ammonia level went too high and his platelets too low with Depakote. We went down on his dose and they reappeared again causing several falls. So we added a supplement and went back up. This is the first time with either boy we have had this problem with ammonia and platelets. 

Unfortunately, it did not give the same result and the Atonics came back full force along with Myoclonics and sleeping 14-16 hours a day. As of now we added Onfi and halved his daytime dose for a few weeks and he has somewhat stabilized again with those seizure types. His Complex Partials have not gone into status nearly as often, but the shorter Complex and Simple Partials are about the same. His VNS has been going off the same as Brynn’s for several months now, so I would have expected to see a difference if it was going to work at reducing his seizures like I believe it did for Brynn. We are almost finished weaning Depakote and are seeing improvements in his wakefulness and less seizures. 

Brynn has been pretty stable averaging just 1-2 seizures a week for an entire year. He has only had a few daytime seizures in this time and has somewhat cognitively leveled out to where I presume he will remain. We have worked really hard on inferring and basic life skills while maintaining his Reading and other scholastic levels. I have reached out to the local fire department to see if they will let him volunteer there to give him some positive men to have an influence on his life and prepare him for adulthood.

When people ask what made the biggest difference for Brynn I have a hard time knowing what to say. I do believe the VNS has had a benefit, especially on his depression. The Vimpat has had a wakening effect on his thinking and I believe it helps with the slow processing. The Onfi made a tremendous difference giving him about 50-60% reduction in Complex Partials. The Fycompa has stopped them from generalizing into Tonic Clonics as well as removed about half his Tonic Seizures. Altogether, he has gone from 4-6 seizures a week being a good baseline to his current 1-2 seizures a week. We will take that happily. He has lost over 40 pounds through watching his eating and being back in the country! We are so proud of him!      
..

On June 25th Blue was surrendered to the Breeder the Trainer got her from. I had her accessed by a local trainer. He determined that she has an unstable temperament and should have never been placed as a Service Dog. He also said she posed a risk for biting our 5-year-old Daughter due to her temperament problems. We decided that was a risk we couldn’t take. It took Brett five days to realize that Blue was not only gone but wouldn’t be coming back. He has had a really hard time adjusting to life without Blue. The trainer agreed to let us place Blue with the Breeder, who says the Mom is a lot like Blue. It’s no surprise really that one of the four puppies did not make it as a Service Dog. I have done a lot of research and have learned a lot over the past few weeks. The most staggering fact came from a fellow Mom’s blog. Her Daughter received a Service Dog from another Service Dog Training facility and she stated that they temperament tested over 100 dogs to enter 10 into the program. There were 5 graduates.” Wow. Blue came from a litter of 8. Our trainer did not temperament test the 4 available female pups she trained until she picked them up at just past eight weeks of age. How many did she put out as Service Dogs to families like us? ALL FOUR! Not only impossible that 4 out of 4 could finish successfully as Service Dogs, but very irresponsible, just ask any trainer! She stated in an interview with NSDF, that she temperament tested the dogs before they are chosen. NSDF was our sponsor for Blue and the NSDF website states Paws-4-Seizures, the seizure and multi-service dog placement program at National Seizure Disorders Foundation, is available to any qualifying individual with  diagnosis of seizure disorder or multiple diagnoses requiring the assistance of a highly trained multi-service dog. Our Experience:
10 Month old Blue was delivered on April 9th as a Service Dog listing Brett (10) as the handler. The trainer spent four days coming to our home to show us how to handle Blue. It was on the second day that we heard Blue Growl and Bark for the first time. We passed it off as dreaming because she was sleeping on and off at the time. When the older two boys would come downstairs to leave for work she would do the same. When my husband and oldest son would come in from work she would o the same sometimes. 
When we received Blue it took a full 10 days just to get her house trained, have to give ny husband credit here he questioned her training from day one because of this fact. We all knew with the first visitor to our home we had a big problem when she had to be taken outside due to growling and barking. The second visitor (a family) proved that we had persistence, no matter who it was she was going to react the same way. Imagine the horror that the “Service Dog” would cause if she were to bark and growl at paramedics coming to help one of the boys? When she growled and barked at a grocery store manager, that’s when we knew we needed help, what use is a Service Dog when you can’t even take it in public? We did everything we could do and were heartbroken to learn that she couldn’t be “fixed” to really fit into our home even as a pet. We adopted a Basset Doxie puppy who Brynn has really taken a liking to, but Brett has not been able to bond with the puppy. We are looking into adopting a German Shepherd from a rescue. She happens to look exactly like Blue, she was malnourished and is even abnormally small like Blue. Not sure if we will get her, but that’s the direction we are going at this time to help Brett with the loss of Blue. 
 As for the trainer that trained Blue, I notified her of this problem with growling and barking on April 28th that occurred on the 27th with our realtor. She suggested good firm prong collar correction. We did that with second visitors on the 29th, again had to take her outside she would not stop. Notified her again on May 9th that she did it to the manager in the grocery and she said she would come show us some things. We decided to have her fixed, hoping that it would help to calm her down if the problem was hormonal. When Blue was spayed, the vet said that she had never been in heat and did not look to be close to having her first heat cycle. So all that time, every time something negative was happening the trainer would say “it’s preheat” definitely was not. Meanwhile, I did a lot of research. She said that she would replace Blue on June 19th, I feel that we have been getting the run around ever since. We were supposed to get a photo of the Golden Retriever she was testing on Jul. 6th and she explained on July 29th that dog wasn’t going to work because she is too mouthy for Brett. So that’s where we are in our Service Dog Journey. Sadly, I have heard from several families that have had bad experiences as well. 

Recommended Reading:
*IAADP Minimum Training Standards for Public Access:
 http://www.iaadp.org/iaadp-minimum-training-standards-for-public-access.html

*Service Dogs Training Standards
These are intended to be minimum standards for all assistance dog programs that are members or provisional members with ADI. All programs are encouraged to work at levels above the minimums:

http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/standards/assistance-dogs/standards-for-dogs/training-standards-for-service-dogs/

*How to choose your service or assistance dog program:

http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/517

*Finding a program or trainer and evaluating the one you’ve found:

http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/591

Sources:
http://nationalseizuredisordersfoundation.org/nsdf-paws-4-seizures
http://seizinghope.com/category/seizure-dog/

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Before choosing a Service Dog Trainer

Our Service Dog Blue just celebrated her first Birthday! She has been off duty healing from having her spay surgery. We decided that spaying may help with the problem she has developed….
Fear Aggression, yikes! In response to the heartache of having this problem and all the emotions of having a service dog that needs serious training to correct this negative and unacceptable behavior. In any situation barking/growling at men and even in public, is never acceptable in a Service Dog. I have decided to share the survey responses from a survey I created to get the common answers of others who have a service dog to better understand what is normal and what is not when service dogs are delivered. She is clearly not ready for Service Dog work and cannot go back in public until this behavior is corrected. We have chosen a new trainer and will keep you updated as to her progress.
Brett says:

 “There can only ever be one BLUE.” 


It is after all what Faith and Dreams are made of, 


believing even when you have no evidence.

*How old was your service dog when delivered or you went to get it.

  • Answered: 46 
  • Skipped: 0

  • Under 1 Year
    23.91%
    11

    12-18 months
    39.13%
    18

    Over 18 months
    36.96%
    17
    Total 46
  • *Did your Service Dog have pee/poop accidents in your home in the first month?

    • Answered: 45 
    • Skipped: 1

    • Never
      80.00%
      36

      Every Day for a few days
      13.33%
      6

      Every Day for 10 or more days
      6.67%
      3
      Total 45
      • *How much did you pay the trainer for training your Service Dog? (Training only, not any other cost)

        • Answered: 40 
        • Skipped: 6

        • $1,000 – $7,000
          42.50%
          17

          $8,000 – 15,000
          45.00%
          18

          More than $15,000
          12.50%
          5
          Total 40
        • *Does the Service Dog meet your families expectations from the information your trainer gave you?

          • Answered: 45 
          • Skipped: 1

          • Somewhat, we have more problems than I expected
            17.78%
            8

            Not at all what I expected
            6.67%
            3

            100% Perfect both at home and in public
            75.56%
            34
            Total 45
          • *How much time do you spend training with your Service Dog, not walking or play actually training for task?

            • Answered: 45 
            • Skipped: 1
            • Up to an Hour
              48.89%
              22

              1 – 2 Hours
              24.44%
              11

              2 Hours or More
              26.67%
              12
              Total 45

              *How much do you think you spend in a typical  month for your Service Dogs Needs? (Food, Toys, Equipment, and anything needed monthly)

              • Answered: 45 
              • Skipped: 1
                • $50 or less
                  15.56%
                  7

                  $100 or Less
                  62.22%
                  28

                  More than $100
                  22.22%
                  10
                  Total 45
                  • *How long did it take for Your Service Dog to Adjust to your family?

                    • Answered: 44 
                    • Skipped: 2
                      • Immediately
                        56.82%
                        25

                        A week
                        27.27%
                        12

                        Longer than a week
                        15.91%
                        7
                        Total 44
                        • *How many specific Service Dog Commands did your Service Dog come home with?

                          • Answered: 42 
                          • Skipped: 4
                            • Under 10
                              28.57%
                              12

                              Under 20
                              38.10%
                              16

                              More than 20
                              33.33%
                              14
                              Total 42
                              • *What has been your overall Service Dog Experience? (Health, Obedience, Task Ability, Help to you/your family)

                                • Answered: 43 
                                • Skipped: 3
                                  • My Service Dog was delivered/picked up and met my needs on Day One
                                    58.14%
                                    25

                                    Helpful but not Perfect, a Work in Progress
                                    34.88%
                                    15

                                    My Service Dog does not meet my needs yet.
                                    6.98%
                                    3
                                    Total 43
                                  • Clearly we can see that there are averages here, and the averages do correlate with the success rate of the placed Service Dog. According to this survey answered by owners of Service Dogs we can summarize:  
                                    1. A Service Dog can be successfully placed at a cost of up to $15,000.
                                    2. 12 months and older is a more common age to place a service dog. (From feedback it was discovered that many puppies go to the home for bonding until they reach a year, go back to trainer for service dog training before placement into the home as a working service dog. Therefore, my data is incomplete) 
                                    3. Peeing/Pooping in the house is consistent with incomplete training. Only 3 of my responders said their service dog did this for ten10 days or longer.
                                    4. A full 75% said their Service Dog met their expectations. Encouraging!
                                    5. All successful placements said their Service Dog immediately adjusted or adjusted within a week of placement to their new home. 
                                    6. Only 3 of my responders said their service dog has not met their needs yet.

                                    Where are the answers for the last question:

                                    *What is the greatest Advice you can give someone looking for a Trainer? (No Trainer Names please)

                                    It’s best to wait for a large nonprofit to help you that only provides service dogs.
                                    ——————————————————————————————————
                                    Research & read reviews!
                                    Research, research
                                    Attention to detail re: training specifics. Give the recipients a “books to read” before they come train with the dog. During training have written quizzes for recipient/handler for recipient. REVIEW the answers together. Give more explanation if necessary. Have written/typed instructions for what to do (EXACTLY) when you get your dog home. 
                                    Make sure you do your homework
                                    Research!! There are many scams out there. Get references and follow up on them.
                                    Look for a program that is a nonprofit. Some “trainers” are in it for the money. Also look for one that specializes in a couple things not everything. 
                                    Research the good and the bad on everything.
                                    Ask lots of ?’s
                                    My short answer is DO YOUR RESEARCH / HOMEWORK. BE INFORMED! 
                                    A trainer that treats the dogs as he/she would their own children. Also, in my experience, a well trained trainer teaches the dog and passes that knowledge to the human. The dog knows what is it expected if trained well, the humans are more often the problem with “problematic” dogs.
                                    Always stay on them and try and get them to train with the persoN with disability
                                    If you have the time to commit, I truly believe getting the dog as a puppy and work with the trainers while training. This way the dog and the person it is getting trained for can start the binding process and get to know each other sooner..
                                    By using a professional organization, you not only get more than one great trainer, but you have an instant family of other people in the same situation who come to training with you. I can only say you’re missing out if you don’t go this route. It’s worth the extra funding.
                                    Get references and talk to them
                                    Make sure the trainer is 1.knowledgeable 2. respectful of your family needs 3. the right personality match with YOU!.
                                    Ask lots of questions and communicate what your needs are in the beginning
                                    Research the company and talk to people that have gotten a dog through the company. Speak to the owner of the company if possible to see what they have accomplished with their dogs.
                                    Check references and remember the SD is still a DOG! They are not robots! They require constant attention and work to keep up their training. But are so worth it!
                                    Choose someone who you like and who is close enough to help with ongoing training.
                                    Someone that is looking (to) help children and not all about the money.
                                    Someone that truly understands the needs of your child, or person needing the service animal. Someone who is able to meet your needs, but also exceed them. Someone caring, understanding, and knowledgable.
                                    Make they listen and you all understand what your looking for in a service dog.
                                    Just the name or title Service Dog brings the price up for dogs and training up like 300%. Don’t fall for this. Get your dog to a Certified Obedience Trainer and have them work specifically with your needs. You will save thousands of dollars. My complete training cost me around 750 and my dog does exactly what I need her to do.
                                    Look for an organization that provides the dog and training.
                                    Do your research and read reviews. We chose a fantastic organization that provides LIFETIME support regarding training and/or any health issues that arise as well as a network/support group of other families that have received service dogs from their organization.
                                    Make sure your approach to animals and training match your trainers–use your instincts. Like choosing a church or neighborhood, If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. there are many good trainers who see the world differently than you, and have strong biases. Make sure your biases match theirs. Also, start by getting to know your local dog community. We ultimately chose a trainer that was 500 miles away, but we would never have found her without the dog training school that is 5 miles away. It was the community at the local dog school that helped me–one person knew another who knew another. Also, don’t be disappointed if the first trainer/organization doesn’t work. We spent 3 years looking, and ultimately tried 4 places before we found the trainer and dog that worked for us. It is not a cut and dried field–service dogs–we thought we’d go with a a large well know organization, but that did not work for us. We ended up with a very small time trainer, one person operation, and it was perfect for us. that said, there is still an incredible adjustment period with the dog in our home. She is trained, but we are not. She also needs to be retaught what we expect of her in our home. She is willing and well-prepared to learn her place, but we have to be the ones to guide her and fine tune her training. Finally, there are no real guidelines or national regulations for service dog training. You really have to research what you what, and trust the person you pick to know the best approach without national regulations. Our dog serves our 11 year old daughter with daily seizures and developmental delay. We as parents are trainers and handlers. Good luck.
                                    Track record, referrals, persistence, under promise over deliver.
                                    Get references, ask a lot of questions, and ask them in different ways see if same answer! Be specific on questions!
                                    Research, research, research. When you find a trainer/organization you think looks good, dig into them. Do Better Business Bureau searches on each one. Check out their web sites, and ask questions about their financials. Know where the money goes, and who benefits from it.
                                    Go through a large organization, 75% of the trainers are frauds.
                                    Look for someone that will continue to support you even after the dog has left their facility, is communicative, and will answer questions. Even before the dog came home, the trainer sent regular updates (photos and video), gave us reading/video material to reference and watch in order to learn how to properly handle the dog, and happily answered even the most silly of questions. The trainer helped us to become part of a whole support network of handlers and SDs and was clearly invested in what was best for each tea.
                                    Make sure they are compatible
                                    You really do get what you pay for.
                                    Research and ask for references.

                                    Here are some links to help in your journey!

                                    RED FLAGS (programs to avoid)

                                    A red flag is something so significantly wrong it would cause any legitimate program or trainer to cringe at the thought. Ethical programs do not operate this way.

                                    http://servicedogcentral.org/conten


                                    How to choose your service or assistance dog program

                                    There are many factors to consider when choosing an Assistance Dog program. First, you must identify your individual needs and decide if a working dog is right for you. Every person needs to weigh the benefits of partnering with an Assistance Dog against the drawbacks. Once you have decided a working dog is right for you, finding a program that suits your needs is the next step.

                                    http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/517

We are making progress, progress is good!





It’s been a while, here I am again catching up! We are pretty excited that the Neurology Clinic we are going to sent us to a Geneticist! He will be researching the two genes that Brett’s Epilepsy Panel came back with. He also ordered a Fragile X and CGH+SNP Microarrays. He doesn’t think they have Fragile X, but he felt that we should do it just to cover that. The Microarray test may or may not give answers, but it will answer some questions.
The geneticist also feels that whatever we are dealing with is a female carried problem, and all my male children had a 50/50 chance of having it. I suppose only time will tell and it appears that we will wait several weeks to 6 months to get the full test results. YIKES! What is the test? Well, it test for chromosomal imbalances that may be the cause of developmental delay/disability on the boys by looking for any imbalance of genetic material such as additional copies or loss of whole chromosomes or deletions and/or  duplication in segments of chromosomes. The information we gain may have no clinical value as for treatment protocol, but it is possible it could. If nothing comes back the test will act as a baseline, and we will know what it is not. It will be good to have it done even if we get no answers, so at least we can say well it’s not _____. I have taken the test with a grain of salt, as I have seen so many parents hope that it would give answers and they were disappointed. I have also seen a few that did get answers from the test, so I still have hope for answers!  It would be a great benefit to have a name for this journey other than Cryptogenic Refractory Epilepsy. Even greater a benefit if we could know for future generations how likely it is that this will be passed on. Brett is still having a hard time,  

since the hospital admission he has not had cluster or big seizure freedom for more than a few days at a time. He seems to consistently do better after it gets dark until bedtime over the last several weeks. We have the Nasal Versed, Diastat and Ativan to use when they get out of hand. Fortunately, I find that the Ativan given soon enough can help him to not need the others. He is handling it well, and I know he is working at understanding his seizure disorder.  

He knows when his body needs rest and does not have to be told to sleep, he just lays down and sleeps when the “seizurish” feeling hits him. This is a wonderful accomplishment because resting is the first defence against clusters for him it seems. We purchased an awesome Purple Wheelchair for him from a kind seller on ebay. He let me trade a CARE bracelet I had for sale for the wheelchair and I paid the shipping. It is an Invacare Solara Tilt in Space model. It’s a bit big for





Brett and we have no way at the moment of transporting it. The idea came about when Brett went into status at the physical therapy office and having the Tonic Clonic seizure in the standard chair we saw how dangerous that was. What we need is a chair that can be adjusted when seizures happen to lean him back and keep him safe. CRS referred us to Easter Seals, who is working with us for a solution. We will need a Hitch for the family vehicle, but the amazing sweet lady at Easter Seals decided that he really needs a smaller chair, with wheels that he can move himself when he is able. They possibly even have a lift available for us to use to attach to the back so that we can still access the hatchback. Blue will be home soon and we will  not have a lot of extra space in the family vehicle. We expect to have it for at least a few more years, so we have to adapt it to make it user-friendly as our needs change. We are looking forward to getting out the house and truly obtaining “Positive Seizure Management” when Blue gets HOME!  It sure will be wonderful to finally be able to do things in spite of the seizures. As a family, we need to learn to live life to the best of our ability, through the seizures! I find myself in a great amount of gratitude for those that have donated to make Blue possible. Her balance is down to $410 as of today. It is amazing that a few people, churches, and one business came together and got us this far. We all have great happy feelings knowing that people have seen the need, reached out and gave.

Here is a link to the Red Basket site set up for Brynn and Brett’s Seizure Alert K9 Blue:


https://redbasket.org/320/bring-blue-home
All donations through Red Basket are tax deductible. We would like to thank Red Basket for their help in setting up the boys page. They are really great to work with and verify all askers, so you can feel good about donating to any cause on the site. 

I have been volunteering with National Seizure Disorders Foundation and hope to spend many years helping others achieve their goals! I really enjoy being the Treasurer and writing Caregivers Corner! We have some really great folks on the Board of Directors and I am blessed to have them in our lives. We would like to thank National Seizure Disorders Foundation for helping us to believe that Blue was possible and helping me not to loose faith or focus when people were not donating! 



Here is a link to the latest edition of Caregivers Corner:
http://nationalseizuredisordersfoundation.org/nsdf-caregivers-corner-by-denise-marsh-2/


   

Decembers Caregivers Corner NSDF

 This is a special place Found in our NSDF website for Caregivers only. Find comfort, support, and helpful resources here from caregivers just like YOU!
 
http://nationalseizuredisordersfoundation.org/nsdf-caregivers-corner-2/?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=NSDF+Blog&utm_campaign=Blog

This month, Caregiver Denise shares her thoughts and experiences on  stress  and a few resources she finds helpful while helping her boys live with Epilepsy.
Let’s talk about stress. It’s important to understand what stress is and how it affects your body, to fully understand how important is it to find effective measures to reduce it. Stress is a natural part of life, and believe it or not stress is a necessary part of creativity, learning and survival. Too much stress however, can have a negative effect of your daily life and outcome of our survival if not dealt with effectively. When you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, what your feeling is your body’s natural fight or flight response which releases adrenaline and cortisol. A little bit of stress, often referred to as acute stress can be exciting, and it keeps us alert. Long-term, or what is referred to as chronic stress can have long term effects on our well being.   I recently went to the Dr. because I honestly felt like I was having a heart problem. The Physician explained to me that the amount of stress I was under, compiled by my pre-existing anxiety had placed my body in a constant state of tension. I researched this and found that when you are feeling that fight or flight response in a crisis your body is going through a lot. The cortisol and adrenaline released in your body is speeding up your pulse rate, breathing, blood circulation, muscle tension and glandular function. When a caregiver of someone with Epilepsy has this happen over and over again, eventually the nervous system stays ready to react to a crisis all the time causing the body to stay in a constant state of tension. This state of tension creates a person that tends to react to small stressors the way you would normally to true emergencies. All those hormones that are created in the stress state must be released to bring our bodies back in balance. If we do not work towards reducing stress and releasing this built up tension, it can only lead to emotional burnout and complete exhaustion. The only way to break this cycle is to find ways that work for you to relieve stress. I encourage you to find ways to reduce stress in your lives. Doing this will help us be better caregivers, by having better health and positive long term health outcomes.
There are many forms of stress reduction techniques and I will just touch on a few of them.
~Music and Art Therapy
There are many options in this category! Sometimes just putting on your favorite upbeat CD can make a difference if you dance and sing along! My older child with Epilepsy has recently discovered that Art Therapy works for him. He will sit for hours and paint creating wonderful works of art. I also find it very relaxing to draw and paint.
~Prayer/Meditation
A quiet mind is more important than a positive mind. – Deepak Chopra
Take just 5 minutes a day to be in complete silence, focusing on your body and the effects of stress and learning to relax. This can be achieved in the bath, laying on your back in bed or even while sitting. Start at your feel and pay attention as you move upward focusing on noticing areas of tension and calming them. Once your body is calm and relaxed pray or focus on the positive things.meditate Think about all the blessings you have and the good that is in your life. Even if it’s just the pretty sky today or the beautiful flower you saw, find something to focus on that is positive and good. A Physician years ago use to tell patents to breathe in and out deeply. As you breathe in say (Peace, Jesus, Higher Power, Joy, Calm whatever you need) IN and as your release that deep breath slowly say (Stress, Anxiety, Tension, Sadness, Pain) whatever you need out OUT. So I often find myself saying Peace IN Stress out as I take deep breaths and so on. Focusing on releasing it seems to help me in a big way, even when I do not have a lot  of time. I find that CD’s that are designed with stress reduction, relaxation and meditation are a good choice for me, such as this one:
~Laugh
Laughter is a natural stress reducer that  is very effective at reducing stress. Watch funny videos, a funny movie and seriously just Laugh Out Loud!
~Exercise
Something we all may not want to do or think we have time for, but we all need exercise! Go for a walk, even if it is just up and down the driveway, get moving! Can’t go outside today? Stretch and touch those cute toes! Turn on the music and dance the stress away. Exercise will release those feel good chemicals to help combat those stress feelings.
~Practice Gratitude
When we make a point to keep track of Good, Positive and Beautiful things it helps us to not stay so focused on the Negative, Painful, Stressful things in our lives. I find that when I start to feel overwhelmed, if I start looking for simple little positives it helps combat the stress and overwhelming feelings. Such as, “Brett had a terrible seizure today, but he recovered well and his postictal is not as overwhelming as it could be.”
~ Volunteer 
What is available in your community or online to help you live your passion while helping others? Find it and ask about volunteer opportunities. Even as little as 1 hour a week can decrease your stress, help others, and increase your health. Volunteering to do that which you love decreases your stress and increases those feel good hormones instantly! I know from experience as I volunteer my time to reduce stress and feel good at National Seizure Disorders Foundation as Board Member and Treasurer. Leave a comment below to ask about our opportunities.
Life as a caregiver can be tremendously stressful  as we endure this roller coaster ride of good and bad days. Often it seems like we may never have a “normal” life again. I hope that today you will focus on ways to combat the stress that comes with this journey. I also hope that if you are feeling overwhelmed and need help you will reach out to those around you. Find other parents who are on the same ride and somehow it doesn’t feel so lonely. Just knowing that there are others experiencing the same stress helps greatly.
Denise MarshAbout the Author: Denise is a homeschooling mother of six who lives in Alabama. Denise’s two youngest sons, Brynn and Brett have refractory Epilepsy.  Denise volunteers her time and energy as National Seizure Disorders Foundation Board Member and Treasurer. Enjoy the monthly feature articles from NSDF Caregivers Corner written by Denise. 

http://nationalseizuredisordersfoundation.org/nsdf-caregivers-corner-2/?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=NSDF+Blog&utm_campaign=Blog

Emotional mess turns into Thankfulness!

I sat down to write this blog today with so much emotion. Joy, Thankfulness, Gratefulness,

Love, Happiness… with a little Pain and Raw Emotions from the past. This past week has brought some of the most wonderful awesome news… In a matter of hours I got word that Brynn will not have to have surgery for his knee! The Orthopedic surgeon said that his kneecap could and likely will pop out of place again some time in his and need surgery, but if Brynn were his child with all that he has going on, he would leave it alone and hope for the best! Wonderful news, I was really dreading the thought of Brynn who is at the moment more stable than he has been in years with his seizures having surgery! Not long after that news came National Seizures Disorders Foundations email with the balance we need to finish Blue’s training…

 Just under $1,600! Amazing that so many have donated and made the impossible possible! What a tremendous blessing to know that so many people have come together and helped make this happen! It should be fairly easy to raise the balance needed and that takes a lot of stress away from our daily

unknowns. We know that Blue will make such a difference in the quality of life for Brynn and Brett. We can’t wait to get her home and feel all the love she is filled with from all of the love, prayers and support that is making her possible. We will always see each of you as a part of Blue, she will always be an amazing beautiful testimony of how God made the impossible possible. We checked

the P.O. Box today and found a bunch of amazing Birthday wishes for Brynn and Brett. The cards show them they are thought of and loves by so many people from all over the place! They were amazed that they each got a card from Canada too! The cards will be a beautiful addition to their wall of Love, Prayers and

support! There was a key in the P.O. Box leading to another box. Which had a Big box from a loving person filled with Paint, Brushes, Paper, Pencils, Cards and even stickers for Abigail! They were so surprised to see that box and were anxious to open it too!
They will be painting for a long time with the two beautiful boxes of love they received from two “Strangers” that have become “Family.” 

Here are a few samples of Brynn and Brett’s work! They both enjoy looking at other paintings and really enjoy painting too! 



With all that amazing, happy, joyful, grateful and thankful emotion it made me see the coming Birthday of Mom and the Anniversary of her murder differently. Every year about this time before her October 19th Birthday I have this overwhelming sadness and tears flow so easy. I noticed it a few days ago… and as usual pretended to ignore it’s looming dark, negative, sad effect on my life. For years, it has become a part of me that I had no control of. I tried year after year to portray to anyone who would listen how wonderful, beautiful she was and how unfair it was that she was taken away so brutally, and so suddenly. It occurred to me today as I was watching the joy on Brynn and Brett’s faces from

their P.O. Box filled with love… that I can no more convey who Janice Estelle Ashcraft was as I could convey how much it means to Brynn and Brett that they are so loved and thought of. I can post 1,000 photos but they could never convey who she was or how she lived. I could write a million words, but I can never convey the effect her murder has had on her mother, her siblings, her children and even the next generation the effect will go on.

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” ~Psalm 55:22
 

I can choose however, to try to stay positive. I have chosen to forgive the person that I hold responsible for her death and I will chose to focus on the positive… no matter what life brings my way.

For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.” ~Isaiah 30:19   I will choose to be sure that my children have all the love that they have missed out by having a broken family, by reaching out and letting the strangers that love, support and pray for them know that they need them. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18
 

They will never get a gift from their Grandmother… or many other relatives who are not in their lives. They are however blessed by God to have the adopted Aunt’s and Uncles, Gan Gans and all the wonderful loving people who have stepped up in her place and for that I am forever thankful.

“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” ~Psalm 9:9
New Video for Blue!
https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/6hk0LlEFv5s&source=uds

Brett’s current common Seizure Type… 

Just because Brett is so darn cute! 🙂

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!

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~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… 


Got Patience?

What is patience? 

“The quality of being patient, as 

the bearing of provocation, 

annoyance, misfortune, or pain, 

without complaint, loss of temper, 

irritation, or the like.” 

My Momma use to tell me I had the 

patience of a saint… I never really knew 


what she meant, but I sure do now….  

I have had many lessons in patience. I was born graced with more patience than most people I know. Also like most people I know, I find as I get older my patience gets a little thinner.  I have had to practice a lot of patience in my life. I have to admit though, I often feel that I have had more than my fair share of the testing of my patience. I can say for certain that I have grown and learned many lessons from practicing being patient. One of my favorite sayings is, “The longer you wait the better it is.” I often use this when speaking to others about patience. I know in my life, the things I have really longed for, really prayed for and anxiously awaited for in anticipation… Those are the things that I really appreciated, really enjoyed and really cherished. These past few months I have seen a glimpse of a few of those things I had been patient for…  Blue, our Seizure Service Dog’s name being chosen and at last a dream came true was put in motion. 

A dear friend who I met on Craigslist, of all places, gave a wonderful miraculous gift of $1,000 to get Blue’s deposit paid so she could start training! When I think back of how we met and how we became closer than most people I have in my life…

I just have to chuckle and just shake my head in awe of it all. It was after all during the breast cancer scare while pregnant with Abigail that we met.  We actually met for the first time in the hospital parking lot. She had responded to an ad I placed on craigslist looking to buy a baby swing. She had the very swing I wanted and also gave me lots of

burping clothes, a bouncy seat, bibs and other items as well. It was a dream come true, the very “cradle swing” I had oohhed and aahhed over! Over the next few weeks we chatted on facebook and became online friends. Eventually, we exchanged phone numbers and became the greatest “night owl” phone friends ever! I was blessed to have her family

come for a visit recently. Indeed, this was only the second time we actually “saw” each other. Over that four year period we had formed a friendship that was stronger than most of my lifelong friendships. It was as if we had known each other our whole lives… Our entire families gelled together like long lost cousins. It was amazing, to look back and know that this one of a kind friendship has to be a “God thing!” 

Just before her visit Brynn had a seizure that caused him to fall. He injured his knee so I took him to the ER. The ER referred him to an orthopedic surgeon who said he needed an MRI. After a week of trying to figure out how to do this with the VNS, it was determined that he can only have a MRI at Children’s Hospital. The VNS has to be turned off for any MRI. His Daddy took him to Children’s to see another Orthopedic Surgeon who took better X-Rays and determined that he does have a torn ligament and his kneecap is also out 

of place. He has it braced now and does daily excersises to try to get the kneecap back where it belongs. If it doesn’t he will have to have surgery. The week Prior to her visit and the week of her visit the boys had their PET scans and MRI test done. Brett developed Petechiae a day or two after each test was done only on his forearms. I couldn’t get answers from the Hospital nurses or Radiology staff and took him to two Doctors seeking answers.

We never did get a definitive answer as to why, except that it may be his med combo causing his capillaries to be weakened and make him prone to bruising. The boys will both go soon for a 5-7 day EMU stay. We hope that we will get some answers from these new test at the new hospital. Brynn has done relatively well the past several months. He has experienced a seizure decline over all, and when he does have them they are generally less dramatic. He is also somewhat stable cognitively, compared to how he has been in the past. We

hope that this will continue! Brett has had a lot less Complex Partial Seizures that spread into his Temporal Lobe causing the extreme euphoria and fear. It is much easier to deal with the seizures when they are not scary for everyone else in the house. We have seen a decrease in daytime seizures overall, but they still tend to cluster when they do appear in

multiples of 2-4 a day. His visual auras/Simple Partials are persistent and no longer seem to respond to the Topamax. We did initially try to wean the Topamax due to Heat Intolerance, but quickly discovered that it caused his vision to become so poor with flipping images/double vision he couldn’t really

see at all. After increasing it back, he never fully regained control of that seizure type again for more than a few hours at a time. Just this week we finally were blessed with the amazing gift of love that we have wanted for two years now! The SAMi Monitors are here! 

They were given to the boys through the Chelsea Hutshison Foundation. I donated what we had left of the money raised with bracelet sales. I hope to be able to donate more soon. It is a wonderful foundation that is helping so many children with seizure disorders! I knew within two 

hours of the SAMi’s being on that this is a miracle, when it actually alarmed to a Tonic Seizure Brynn had while taking a nap. Such a wonderful feeling of peace, knowing that the SAMi’s are watching the boys too while they sleep! Now, back to that patience thing… 
Most people when talking about patience think it just means waiting. It’s not really about just

waiting, it is waiting while not exhibiting complaining and showing your frustration with not having what you want NOW. I know full well what Momma was talking about at this point in my life. It is seldom easy to wait for something that you need at this moment and not

get frustrated and complain. Especially when it is something that your child needs, like answers to medical problems or just a matter of being set free from something that is hurting them. In this seizure journey, my patience has been tested almost daily. I recently was thinking about patience and Momma saying I had the patience of a saint. I think I too had fallen prey to the

overwhelming desire to complain about how unfair things are in my life. How unfair it is that the boys have Epilepsy, that medications are not making them seizure free… and that is when I realized that I had become like the children in the wilderness… bickering and complaining… It’s very difficult to watch your child have seizures and practice being patient. All too easy to become frustrated with

not getting answers and the solutions to make these seizures stop. It was then that I realized, it’s not just waiting… It’s waiting knowing that it may never come. It’s waiting, believing and hoping that it will come… and knowing that our Father is in control and at the right time, perhaps it too will come! Until then, I will keep practicing being patient and like Abigail… Just keep smiling and singing joyfully, knowing that it will come! When I feel the temptation to become inpatient, I think about the children of Israel. They were right there and bickered and complained so much they just stretched out their time waiting… I am amazed when I think about how far we have come. A year ago, I never would have thought we would have a Seizure Service Dog in training and Two SAMi Monitors! GOD IS GOOD!

Please find is at Facebook.com/EpilepsyWarriorBoys to help being Blue home to help Brynn and Brett fight this Epilepsy Battle…  We do not own or claim to own the song used. The song is Blue Does By: Blue October. It is the inspiration that gave Blue her name! Please help being Blue home!!!! Donations cane be made here:
http://youcaring.com/EpilepsyWarriorBoys

Or for tax exempt donations through our sponsor, NSDF, a  501(c)3 non-profit Here:
http://nationalseizuredisordersfoundation.org/brothers-winning-the-battle-of-seizure-disorder/
*Please be sure to note that the donation is for the “Epilepsy Warrior Boys” and let us know you donated!

Hebrews 6:11-12 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Moved, Settled and been to the BIG city!

We have moved, settled… Been to the Biggest Children’s Hospital we have ever seen (3rd largest in the U.S.) and saw a new Epileptologist. We moved to Alabama, and have adjusted to a lot of changes pretty well so far. We are in the city, never lived in a city like this before! A big shock and change for us, having been primarily in the country for the last 20 years! Had a visit with a new Epileptologist, that was “interesting.” A bit different than what we have grown accustomed to.                           
Brynn and Brett will both be having PET scans, better MRI’s and 5-7 day Epilepsy Monitoring Unit EEG’s. Our last visit in New

Orleans, was bitter sweet. I really hated leaving the Neurologist that we all loved and we all knew he cared for the boys greatly. It will be good for the boys to have better testing done and we can only hope that through this we will get answers and prayerfully solutions. The boys were not very impressed with the new Dr., perhaps just a little sad about loosing what they were comfortable 
 with. I will remain positive and keep pushing through until the testing is done, and we feel the new facility out a little better. I did manage to get a copy of Brett’s 10 minute Complex Partial picked up in N.O.’s EMU, although it’s just the EEG and not him like I wanted.

 We successfully weaned Brynn of Zonegran and switched to Fycompa, a new drug. Brynn’s random jerks have returned, we are unsure if it is a seizure type or a side effect only the test will give that answer… He is overdue an EEG to look at activity/background , so it will be good to have another, and an extended EMU stay can catch so much more than a shorter stay too. The drawback is that it is outside their normal envirement, and sometimes that makes it harder to catch seizures.

Brynnon is still going strong, having his better than ever baseline of seizures. Not exactly sure whether to give the credit to the VNS or Onfi… or even both, but we are very grateful for the reduction! Brett, who had been doing a bit better seizure wise, developed heat intolerance and gets a fever when he goes outside. It is a side effect of Topamax so we added Lamictal and tried to wean the Topamax, only to see a return of the constant visual auras, tummy auras and the longer Complex Partials. We raised it back, but haven’t been able to get the same level of control yet. Brett is having somewhat of a good response to the medications he is currently taking. We are seeing a lot less fear involved in the seizures and they are much less dramatic. Actually, they are a lot like Brynnon’s daytime seizures now. Brett’s nighttime activity is still much better as well.
We have picked a trainer and are fund raising for a Seizure Service Dog. Her name is Blue! We were inspired to name her Blue after hearing the song Blue Does, By: Blue October.
She is a German Shepherd and will be trained by Guardian of the Night K9. She will be trained to alert for seizures, assist the boys when postictal and so many other things! We are pretty excited about Blue! We have already raised her deposit and only have $3,500 left to get her trained and home! I bet we will all sleep better with Blue in the house and finaly not feel on edge all the time! She will be an official, vested, certified ADI Service Dog and will go everywhere we go!  So, there ya go… an update! Short and sweet, just the way you like them!
As always, thanks for your Love, Prayers and Support!!
~Denise and Family



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Brett’s Surgery complete and other ramblings!

Brett finally had his VNS implant surgery on 5/12. The original surgery was postponed due to both Brynn and Brett being infected with Mycoplasma (Walking Pneumonia), which aggravated his asthma. So 6 weeks was needed before he could be put to sleep for his

lungs to heal. Surgery went well, other than his heart rate dropping when it was tested, no problems. It was tested twice after the wire was moved and assumed it was the wire position so it got to stay! His VNS, like Brynn’s was left on at lowest setting when they closed and he will return to get checked by neurosurgeon next week,

as well as both boys get to visit with their most favorite Neuro Dr. D. Today is Day 8 and his incisions look great! He did have some possible pus at the chest incision, as well as an ear infection last week, so he has been on antibiotics since Thursday. We are anxious, of course, to see how this will help his seizures.

 At present, Brett is having clusters a few times a

week, with days in between with some night time seizures now and again or none at all. This is an improvement from the everyday seizures we saw over the past few months. We are learning to be thankful for every little thing!

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” ~Martin Luther

 Brynn, however, is holding strong with the greatest seizure freedom he has ever had. Only having small seizures most nights and daytime he is having only really small “lost moments” not obvious bigger complex partials like before. VNS? Onfi? Med combo?  All of the above?

Who knows,

but we are very happy with his current condition!  He is having improvements in his general cognition, and we will likely talk about weaning one of his medications this neuro visit. Pretty exciting stuff! 

  We have a lot of changes
coming over the next few
weeks, many new experiences… The possibilities are endless! We are all excited!! 🙂 More on that later! ~Denise


“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” ~2 Corinthians 5:6-7


Abba Father is always faithful…

  The past few weeks have been filled with so many different emotions. The strength and endurance that only faith can bring, remained constant and persistent, I am ever so grateful for the peace that only Abba Father gives, remaining steadfast in my heart, regardless of how things look or how they feel. Regardless of the fear that comes… the thoughts that race through my mind… Abba Father is always faithful… 

¸…¸
*´¯`*•.¸He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~Psalms 91:1,2´¯`*•.¸¸…¸
 

Brett’s seizures have persisted during the day, then went back to just at night, then they balanced out to both night and day seizures. It has been difficult for the entire family, a whole new experience of not knowing when they will hit. Not knowing if the Simple Partial visual symptoms will stay, go away or continue to a Complex Partial. He experienced a dramatic increase on Sunday and had to be taken to the Emergency Room after having 3 long Complex Partials followed by 4 back to back with little or no recovery in between. He had seizures continue on the way to the hospital and while in the Emergency Room. Our oldest Son was with us and counted 14 seizures… Ativan was given for the first time to help stop the clustering, thankfully it worked. The after effects were terrible, bouts of crying that were hard to determine if they were repetitive seizures or after shocks in his brain from all the seizures. Abba Father is always faithful…


¸…¸*´¯`*•.¸Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5,6´¯`*•.¸¸…¸


Monday, we went to Children’s and he was still in a pretty bad postictal state. Off balance, confused, irritable, extreme sensory sensitive… That visit was a good one, we made tremendous progress. Neuro agrees, Brett is likely multifocal, since I have video showing Left side posturing with Complex Partial onset as well as Right side. The decision was made to go forward with the VNS implant like Brynn has. Abba Father is always faithful…

¸…¸
*´¯`*•.¸“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30
´¯`*•.¸¸…¸

YES, We Will DO Genetic Testing Before even considering brain surgery again. Brett was chosen by his neuro to be the patient that gets a complimentary genetic Epilepsy Panel done. We have been blessed by Brynn and Brett’s neuro in that he chose Brett to get the test. This was far away from our reach, very costly and our insurance would not cover it. This is a miracle for us to have this opportunity, just when I had made my mind up that it had to be done as soon as possible. I was so amazed by how this worked out perfectly, as usual just in time as Abba Father always does things… Just when you are about to throw your arms up in complete frustration and despair. Abba Father is always faithful…

¸
•*´¯`*•.¸But you, O Lord, are a compassionate; gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love & faithfulness. ~Psalm 86:15´¯`*•.¸¸…¸


Brynn has remained so stable over the past several months. He is now staying at baseline some weeks better, only averaging 3-4 seizures a week. Even a bigger wonderful blessing, he has only had ONE Tonic Clonic Seizure in the past 3 months and only averaging ONE Tonic Seizure a month. He has remained stable long enough to conclude that the medicine combo and the VNS is keeping him more stable than he has been in a long time.  Abba Father is always faithful…

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13´¯`*•.¸¸…¸

Brynn, Brett & Abigail ~May 2010~

What a journey this has been over the last several years…
Thinking back it is difficult, Brett is the same age that Brynn was when he entered the seizure sick  world. Both
boys were born in October. It was January 25, 2009 the first time Brynn went to the ER after his first recognized 10+ minute Tonic Clonic seizure. Here Brett is, same chronicological age as Brynn was in the same month… and his seizures are worse than they have ever been. I do not believe in coincidence and there is no such thing as “bad luck,” I hope that we will have answers soon through that test for my blond hair, blue eyed boys that have so many similarities
Abba Father is always faithful…

¸…¸
*´¯`*•.¸Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~James 1:2-4´¯`*•.¸¸…¸

I made a video for awareness of Complex Partial Seizures, since Brett’s are unusual and I had a hard time finding a video that showed a seizure anything like his. I hope it will bring awareness to this type of seizure and will help others who may be looking for answers, and knowing that you are not alone! Abba Father is always faithful…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_orIXJ8CrbA


¸…¸•*´¯`*•.¸For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. ~Romans 8:15´¯`*•.¸¸…¸

Brynn, Brett & Abigail ~January 2014~

So, after that exhausting Sunday filled with seizures, Monday filled with 5 hours of driving, both boys seeing the neuro, Brett being so postictal, the joy of knowing Brett would have a genetic test done, the uncertainty of why his seizures are so out of control… and the decision to do the VNS… This Momma was done! I was just at the end of my rope and so exhausted…. Abba Father is always faithful…


¸…¸•*´¯`*•.¸A merryheart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. ~Proverbs 17:21-23´¯`*•.¸¸…¸
Then Tuesday… Your never going to guess what happened! The National Seizures Disorder Foundation‘s Founder, Tonya sent me a link for the boys… She is sponsoring a fund raising campaign to raise the money for the boys to get their very own Seizure Alert Response Service Dogs! This is going to require a lot of work, and prayerfully, a lot of help from a lot of people… What a blessing indeed… and yes, just when your at the end of your rope… Abba Father is always faithful… Very grateful and feeling so blessed! However, for the first time ever I BELIEVE it not only Can Happen, but IT WILL HAPPEN! Can you help?? Here is the link, please share! Abba Father is always faithful…

http://nationalseizuredisordersfoundation.org/brothers-winning-the-battle-of-seizure-disorder/

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¸…¸*´¯`*•.¸You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. ~Isaiah 26:3,4´¯`*•.¸¸…¸