Fast Forward Realities…

It is with a heavy heart that I sit to write this blog update.  A lot has happened since my last post so I will try to catch up with pictures as I give the most recent update on Brett.

                                               

We had a wonderful Hanukkah! Abigail really enjoyed it this year and even helped light the candles. The Boys both enjoyed the Epilepsy Awareness in Disneyland bears and T-shirts that I got them! They both love their new cool beanie helmets I got them!  Last year at this time I was seeing cognitive decline in Brett, behaviors similar to Brynnon’s in Brett. I saw an increase in what I could only describe as extreme emotional outburst for no known reason and he

couldn’t explain it either. He would say things like he couldn’t see the words while Reading or he didn’t know how to borrow or carry in Math. A bright boy since birth, Brett was struggling to work at grade level when a year prior he was a year ahead. I tried to see it for what it wasn’t as long as I could. I had been catching events that looked like seizures in Brett for a few years while recording Brynn.

After being told by the Pediatrician he was faking seizures and peeing himself for attention, it eventually became easier to believe her, than to even think it really was seizures. One night while watching a movie Brett fell asleep. He got up and was completely blank looking. He stood and was making hand motions like he was touching something. I watched, tried to talk to him with no response and thought, well whatever that is it’s not normal. I researched… and I finally came to the conclusion it could be seizures and that Dr. was wrong or it could be Parasomnias. Ah, yeah

Parasomnias make more sense and the cognitive decline likely just the effects of having so much go on in his sleep. I took him to a local Family Physician showed her a few videos and said I am not saying these are seizures, but they are similar to what Brynn does, maybe they are Parasomnias. She agreed and thankfully Brett was referred to Children’s. We went for the first visit and I think I may have been the only person who saw the video there that was convinced that it was Parasomnias. He had a sleep deprived video EEG and was diagnosed with Epilepsy in September. He started Keppra, which caused horrible rage and anger. 

We switched to Trileptal and over time it did seem to help his daytime become a little better. I did not see much change in his nighttime. We went to his first visit with Brynn’s neuro Oct. 1st, and at that visit he said he would not wait until he is maxed out on five drugs to consider Epilepsy Surgery and that he was concerned about genetics.

All of a sudden, just when I got comfortable a few weeks later, he became very verbal about what was happening to him visually. All those crazy symptoms he had complained about blurred vision, altered perception of what he was seeing, altered sizes of things, his vision moving…

The more questions I asked, the clearer the picture became. I reported these things to the Neuro. It was decided that he needed another medication added, so we added Topamax. The dose was to be 25 mg AM & 100 mg PM to avoid any further problems in his schooling. It was great at first, he slept soundly and peacefully more nights.                                                                                                         

His daytime seemed much better… but over the next few weeks my life became a whirlwind. Brett started having bigger daytime events that terrorized him and everyone who saw it. I did not know if he was loosing contact with reality or having symptoms of a terrible mental disorder… 
but he started having something happen after the Complex Partials that I did not know could happen.

TERROR, Irrational Fear, Screaming, Wandering and if being restrained or stopped RUNNING. We started recording the events on the third day. Something was happening that never happened before. I called the Neuro to report these events after I researched and figured out that the fear could be part of the Complex Partials. I suggested that perhaps the daytime dose being so much lower wasn’t protecting him well enough in the daytime, because now his nighttime events had disappeared. The neuro agreed and we doubled the daytime dose. After a few days it was evident it was helping some. I called again and was told to go ahead and get the doses even. It spaced out the events for several days.

Then as if nothing had changed it went back to every day. I decided the best action I could take was to request the neuro watch the videos. After he viewed them, it was decided that we needed to take action and have him go in for an extended EEG to see if he could be a possible brain surgery candidate. We returned home yesterday from Brett’s first Children’s Hospital admission. Brett had a seizure while being hooked up to the EEG leads, which made me think that may be a wasted visit. I did have the nurse that helped keep him on the table as well as the EEG Tech witness what happened, but I knew without it being on EEG it wasn’t enough.

That first day while hooked up he had a few auras that I didn’t push the button for. That night he was a teeny bit restless but not anything to push the button for. The next morning he got his breakfast tray and was not excited about that bagel he asked for once he saw it. He picked at the bagel and the rest of his tray. A bit later he asked when is lunch… at 10:30 lunch is a bit far away for a growing boy, so I offered to go buy him one of those Red Baron personal pizzas out the machine downstairs. After asking him if he was sure he didnt have the vision thing or feel like he was going to have a seizure, I asked his nurse if she could

keep an eye on him and she agreed. I waited for a while for the elevator, and eventually made it down. I anxiously looked for it… the shiny package that he wanted… Cheesy goodness, there it was! The machine wouldn’t take my debit card so I scrounged up a few bucks from my wallet. I grabbed a Green Tea for myself and was out of there… a guy called Ma’am your change! I grabbed that and again was on my way. Made it back up… and found the Nurse next to Brett in an obvious seizure… tears in running down his face… I spoke to him and he had that fearful look…

My little boy was lost,  completely lost. Didn’t know where he was or even who I was. I told the nurse he is having a seizure, pushed the button… Dr. M came in soon after and asked if that was a typical seizure. I didn’t see onset, but knew by the last part I saw it likely was, other than he didn’t try to get out the bed or take the wires off. So she said she would look it over and if it was enough, we may be able to leave.It seemed like forever before she came back. When she did she said you never want a neurologist to say your child is fascinating, but his seizures are very fascinating. He appears to be a good brain surgery candidate based on that seizure and it was such a good example she

will be using it in the future. She totally got how it was diagnosed as “Night Terrors” and how it was confusing to me that it could be a seizure, because his awareness comes and goes. It’s an unusual etiology and the progression of the seizure was very unusual. With the amount of Auras he was having she suggested that we stay the extra night and try to capture more.

I was done, and felt like I needed to go home. So I opted to do just that. So… all those crazy visual symptoms are Simple Partial seizures confirmed by EEG, as well as the Complex Partial seizures confirmed. She confirmed as well that a seizure he had a few days prior with jerking in both legs that eventually became whole body jerking was indeed a Tonic Clonic. He had the Right side only jerking every now and again at night and eventually during the day. When the seizure focus goes off it in the Occipital Lobe it moves to the Left Visual Assoc. Cortex causing the crazy Visual symptoms. At that point it is considered a Simple Partial seizure. It it keeps going and shoots through his Temporal Lobe causing the fear, euphoria and

more obvious Complex Partial it is considered an Aura. An Aura is a sign that a bigger seizure in coming experienced by much of the people with Temporal Lobe seizures. When his right side starts jerking it has spread through to the Motor strip and that time it was both sides jerking it had generalized (spread to the other side of the brain) into a Tonic Clonic. It is a good thing to have answers and know that there are options. I still have a lot of questions before Brett will be having Brain Surgery. The main question is Genetics. I cannot

think that it is “bad luck” as she put it. It’s too much like Brynnon. Both boys have the same genetic makeup, you can see it by looking at them, by the seizure type and progression and by so many other signs.  I think it would be very traumatic to have Brett go through Brain Surgery, and it is a step I am not willing to even consider without genetic testing. Brynn only had one Focal area at one time, now he has three. So in my mind, why would you go through that kind of trauma and hope for seizure freedom if eventually it will return and what if it is worse?

I don’t think I have the courage to even explore the surgical option without knowing a whole lot more. Whatever happens, I know without a doubt that our Abba Father is in control. No matter how it looks or feels, I have full confidence that Abba Father has Brynn and Brett in his hands and they are perfectly made.

The beanie Helmets I got the boys are from:
http://crasche.com/

The Cute bear Brett has with him at the hospital was a gift from CeCe Cares:
https://www.cececares.org/

The wonderful totes, bears and awesome T-Shirts came from:
http://www.epilepsyawarenessday.org/

.        

My thoughts on Suffering… and an update!

Suffering is to one what normal is to another is to what devastation is to yet another. Suffering is part of our human existence. There is no way to avoid it and not one of us will escape it. We have all done it and we will do it again. The only difference in us humans is how we suffer, and what we do when we feel the effects of suffering.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” ~Helen Keller

We are a spoiled generation

of humanity that carries expensive cell phones, has our nails done, goes to the movies but somehow fall short and cannot afford the electric bill. We are spoiled to the point that we feel the least bit of doing without is suffering. We expect to be able to do what we want, when we want it and expect to be rescued from “suffering” when that suffering is just consequences for our actions. No, I am talking about true suffering…

The loss of a Loved One, Persecution for beliefs, Being Bullied, Not having food in your home or basic shelter, Painful Disease… The list goes on… Have you ever read the story of Job? That is “Suffering.”
There are benefits of suffering too. Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7) kept him from becoming proud. Knowing that he had a thorn in the flesh and still kept his faith even though it is not believed that it was ever healed sure makes a great example for me. So we who suffer and continue to fight the good fight and walk in faith can be an example to others. Not only an example but because we have suffered we too can join the ranks of all those suffering and comfort those who suffer.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our

Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
There are many examples in scripture of suffering that was brought on by transgression. Much easier to not think about, but often we are suffering because we have sinned against our Father and we are simply experiencing the consequences. Like David, we too must face consequences for our actions. For not one is without sin and we all shall reap what we sow. I am not talking about that kind of suffering here either.

So I encourage you, if you are suffering pain, trial and tribulation today, remember…

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18


On a more personal note….

as I know many follow Brynnon’s story here… He is stable at the moment, staying for the most part at his baseline. Since we went on July 15th to have it increased,  he has developed a side effect of nausea and pain in the upper stomach area from the VNS and he may have to go back to have the settings changed to see if it will alleviate this side effect. We are waiting on insurance approval to try a stimulant to see if it will possibly help his cognitive disorder. We will try it at home and see if we notice improvement and at his next visit he will be dosed up so that when he has a Cognitive Evaluation they will record any changes from the last one in July. 
I wasn’t really excited about the stimulant at first, but was willing to try when his Neurologist sugested that it may help him retain information in his learning  journey and perhaps even help his slow processing. After researching it and seeing that it is used in lower IQ children and can possibly have a good effect on him. I feel that since he has stayed around his baseline (his normal 4-6 seizures a week) for the most part for several weeks now, and since he is 13, still only Reading at a 1st grade level and overall cognitively functioning at a 6-9 year old level… it is certainly worth a try. I have to admit I have since gotten a little excited at the possibilities and figure anything is worth a try. All in all, we are having a very nice relaxed Home Schooling Summer…. 

Sorry I haven’t updated lately
    We have had a lot going on…
    Will update more soon…
    or perhaps a bit later!

   ~Denise 
“I do not ask You to take away my suffering;
I do not even want to know why I suffer;
but only this, my God….
Do I suffer for Your sake?”
~Levi Yitzhok of Berditchev

Endurance

Waiting… I never really enjoyed waiting. I admit, I use to be better at it too. I remember people use to say “Denise, you have the patience of a saint.” Just words, but I must have been given a great gift of patience. I have to work harder now at Patience, because I feel I lack something, Endurance…  I get anxious now waiting. I feel like I do not have the strength to wait things out.

When you have a child with refractory epilepsy, so much waiting is required. No matter how much patience you think you have, watching your child have a seizure will make you feel like you do not have the endurance to go on…
You start this medicine with so much hope that it will make the seizures stop. It does, for a while and another is added when things get out of control…               On and on this process goes…

 Finally one day the Dr. says, this may be the best we get. We did the VNS surgery for this reason. The medications tend to help Brynn honeymoon for a time, but once again his body just gets use to it or learns how to seize despite the medication. So, we did the surgery with the hope that he would do better than the one third chance of a 50% reduction in seizures…. and we wait… and wait… Did you know that in training for endurance, you could end up with a negative impact on strength if you do not also practice resistance training. Waiting in faith is like training and without prayer we too would end up weak. The boys and I pray every night for Brynn and all the children and adults we know that have seizures to not have seizures anymore. We praise Abba Father that one of them has stopped having seizures and a few others improved! This has encouraged our faith once again and helped me to become stronger… and continue to endure! We weaned one medication and started a new medicine… and waited some more.  And…. Once again, we have a honeymoon! Yes, Brynn is back to baseline and better with the Onfi! He is not having Tonic Clonic the moment and the Tonics and Complex Partials are so much less traumatic! This honeymoon started out great, fizzed out and then came back full force it seems! We are so excited and enjoying this time! We started fund raising to get Brynn a SAMi Seizure Alert Monitor Camera System. Brynn and Brett always being find of Survival Bracelets wanted to make them. So we bought the 550 Parachute cord in fun colors and got to learning! Brynn and Brett like to try, but they haven’t mastered the art of making

them… So at present I have made oh about 70 of them!  Saving and Hope to buy him a Recumbent bike soon too! After he had the seizure while riding the bicycle he has been heartbroken that the neuro said no more bike riding. He has only been able to ride his 4-wheeler once so far. The recumbent bike sits low to the ground, has three wheels and in the event he has a seizure while riding at least he will be close to the ground and not fall over… We even had a Lemonade Stand for the first time last Sunday! The boys had so much fun and raised $20 for the SAMi fund!!

So here we are again, waiting… and being patient… Knowing ever still that Abba Father is in complete control… It will be as it will be, in HIS time and only then… Not the easy fun we had hoped for, but you know… at least we are having some fun along the way!!
Ah, indeed…
The longer you wait the better it is!!

Don’t Ever Doubt It,
Abba Father Knows ALL!!

It’s been a while!

It has been a while since I have taken the time to update here. We have been busy with home school and a few other things. Brynn has finally tested at a 1st Grade level in all areas of Reading. We have worked really hard on Inferring, Context Clues and Reading Comprehension.

This has made a bigger impact than he has experienced to date in his learning. It is a beautiful thing to see he figure out a word based on context and his confidence has grown so much that he does not hesitate to guess a new word or one he can not decode. He seems to have lost some decoding ability along the way, so we will have to figure out how to get that balanced.  Brynn received a Hernando Bear, sponsored through Angels 4 Epilepsy and TG Bears. He loves his Hernando and sleeps with him. He is a good companion and as Brynn says he is his Epilepsy Fighting Bear. He was promised a bear through another organization months before his VNS surgery. He never got it, so I bought him another bear. He said he didn’t want to take it to surgery because it was not an Epilepsy Fighting Bear. Hernando is so special to him… Monica, the beautiful woman who hand makes the bears, said she put extra fight in his Hernandos stuffing! He cut out the sticker from the box he came in and proudly displayed it on his memory shelf. That shelf is full of beautiful memories… 


  Seizure wise Brynn has experienced an awakening cognitively since the introduction of Onfi stopping a lot of the little seizures that you can not see. The bigger seizures are still there, just not as often, which has made a difference in our lives! He is spending a lot more time talking and has had spontaneous laughter more and more. Silly boy, we have really enjoyed having more of the real Brynn back these past few weeks. Just before his Children’s visit last week, we saw a decline cognitively and an increase

in seizures. He had a runny nose, headache and was declining so quickly cognitively, I took him to the ER. It was decided there that it was an increase in seizures and allergies due to the high pollen count. We went to Children’s Monday. His neuro increased the Onfi from 10 mg to 15mg 2X Daily. This has already made a difference, and we will not start the daytime dose until Monday! We also agreed it was time to l et go of the Klonopin, since he does not need to be on 2 Benzo type drugs regularly. He was only on .5 before bed and it has been two years since he started it. I haven’t noticed a difference, except perhaps a little clustering, which seems to have been helped by the Onfi increase. I expect once we increase the daytime dose we will level out again. We also were able to attain the Zonegran Brand Name Medically Necessary again. I do wonder if he may have done better with the brand name when he started the Onfi. It was such a dramatic difference… I guess time will tell. This time when his VNS was adjusted he had no change in is voice, no hoarseness and no coughing at all. I kind of missed the robot voice all the way home… but I us am happy that he seems to have gotten use to the device. His VNS is set to 1.25 cycle and 1.5 magnet. Speaking of the VNS,

we bought this custom made band for his VNS Magnet from Kimberly’s Crafts on Facebook. It’s just what he needed as it fits his ankle instead of his wrist. The magnet will destrtoy any electronic devices, credit cards and so on that it comes in contact with. So we needed one for his ankle, when I could not find one I contacted her to make it! It came out great! His neuro once again said that we will likely not see seizure freedom with Brynnon, and that our goal is to keep seizures at a minimum for him while not affecting his cognitive ability negatively. I am anxiously awaiting seizure freedom, I will not loose hope that he will one day be seizure free. We are still only 6 months out with the VNS, perhaps before this honeymoon phase ends we will notice a difference. We will likely discuss trying to wean Vimpat next, as we are not sure what impact this medication has on his seizures either. No matter what we will not touch the Zonegran, having the month of August as a permanent reminder of just how much he needs that medication.
 

Brett is doing great with the Alpha Omega Life Pacs. It was a good decision to place him in that curriculum to allow more one on one time with Brynn, since Brett has the ability to work independently.
 

Abigail has begun to want to home school. We are working slowly on the Starfall books and preschool workbooks. Hard to believe she will be 3 in just two weeks. 


We had a wonderful day on Epilepsy Awareness day! Everyone wore PURPLE and it made Brynn feel so special that it was his day! So here are a few pictures of our lovely purple day!

New Year off to a good start!



I am really liking this year so far!
Brynn’s 8 week Depakene wean in COMPLETE! Only noticed an increase in small seizures and some increased daytime tiredness, which seems to be leveling off now. We are enjoying his stability seizure wise, with only 1-3 larger seizures a week. Not sure if it is the VNS or the Zonegran increase that is making it possible, I guess time will tell! Even the larger seizures he seems to bounce back from easier and have less effects afterwards. We will go back to Children‘s hospital next week for his VNS increase. I do
feel so much more relaxed with the last several weeks feeling so positive for Brynn. I worry when he sleeps 12-14 hours a day, but if he is not having a seizure increase I can see, I remind myself that he may just need that extra sleep. Will still discuss it with the Neurologist as we know he has seizures we cannot see also. Excited to get our tax refund in a few weeks to help fund fresh new materials for home school. I purchased McGuffy’s Readers for Brynn and he seems to like them so far. A change from the Merrill Readers he has used for so long. I hope that we can bring him to at least the 1.5 level in Reading with them. We have pulled Sequential Spelling from our curriculum as well. It started with his Neuro stating in the office that if he needs assistance in any way to answer the questions (additional statements or questions) it is not counted as right. He couldn‘t answer where he was (Children’s Hospital), What city he was in (New Orleans), What day it was or even what Month we were in. We had talked about going to the appointment on Tuesday, in New Orleans at Children‘s for weeks. He writes the month and day everyday in his home school. I was kind of upset at first thinking, but it’s not his fault that he needs reminders or hints. It’s just the way his brain works, he has to have something to tie things together. He knows New Orleans is where the Super Dome is and he knows Children’s is the Hospital he goes to. After the initial shock that he couldn’t answer, I was upset. I was upset because it got me thinking, well if he can only spell “should” if you give clues (Should, would, could-U should know this) then does he really know how to spell should? If you have to say anything to get the right answer, is it right? My gut ached as I realized, no it’s not. It feels better to think it is, but in the real world it’s wrong. If after 2+ years of giving those reminders in the AVKO Sequential Spelling he still cannot spell those words without me sounding them out for him and giving hints, I must conclude that he has not been successful with it. So we started an old Jones Spelling book. He will be given three words every Monday to dictate sentences for. I will write the sentences and he will copy and read them a few times a day. On Friday he will be given the sentences and be asked to  write them. It’s his sentences, that he made up, so he will be connected to them. Hopefully, this will give better results than spelling 25 words a day has. Brett (8) is Reading at a 3rd grade level, so he will begin to use Alpha Omega LifePacs this year. He is confident and able to work independently, which will allow more time for me to work one on one with Brynn. Abigail will be working in Pre-K to keep her busy! 🙂 I will be buying Brynn lots of work books focused heavily on inferencing, Context Clues, Writing, Punctuation and Thinking Skills. After discussing things with a teacher friend of mine, she helped me realize the reality that he is 13, and he just may never read above a first grade level. I knew this before, but I thought if we worked hard enough he would advance forward over time. He has stayed at this same exact level for almost two years now. So at this point we need to focus on fine tuning the skills that he has attained as we add more, hoping that he will retain them. Deep down inside I am a bit excited to see if this lower seizure baseline will stay as it certainly will help his cognitive function. I will be asking about Neuropsychological testing again at this visit. As it is important to know what if any impact the past seizures have had on his overall ability. 
 A real beautiful person, the swing lady I talked about before, is sending the boys and Abigail $100 gift cards to spend on clothing. What a blessing! She is also giving a $200 gift card for household stuff. I think I see a new set of pots in my future! 🙂

We are definitely more at peace here in MS, the air is cleaner and our minds are too! I am learning to trust in our Abba Father and lean on Him for understanding instead of fighting through all the details myself, trying to figure it all out. Learning too, that we don’t have to understand every single thing, we just have to trust Him and His will in all things and know that it will all work out for His Glory. I have done all I can do, now I will stand and trust Him! He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it!  ~Denise
 
   

Surgery & all moved in, back to MS!!


Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalms 34:14)

 
Whew, what a ride!  

Look at that smile! 🙂 Day 3 after surgery.
Creek…

The children & I are settling in, back in.. the Mississippi woods!                 What an adventure it has been! Packing for weeks, Brynn’s surgery and two U-Hauls later and here we are! Was crying out for Shalom in the home for a very long time in LA, well we got it! There is even a beautiful creek along side the rental property. What a gorgeous view! Brynn has had so much fun exploring and is looking forward to many days on the creek once he is healed all up! Love the peace we are feeling… absolutely wonderful! Who doesn‘t move to another state and have a few hiccups… I am just glad that the move is complete, well almost. There are still a few things in LA that we have to get here to MS.

In Recovery…

On Oct. 25th Brynnon had the VNS Implant  Surgery. The surgery went well, no complications during surgery. After surgery, well things could have been better. He had a difficult time waking up, had a seizure upon waking and threw up until just before midnight. After that, things have gone uphill. He is healing well, feeling good... Incisions are looking good so far, and he is eating well too!

http://old.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/treatment/vns/vnssurgery.cfm#.UJH_vIUhxq4
 
The children are having fun, getting a break from major Home School work last week and this one. We will prayerfully be back on a better schedule next week, these past few weeks have been so busy and rough! Most of the unpacking is complete, pictures are up… and even staying caught up on dishes and laundry! Ah, the PEACE!   

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:24-27)

 

Seizures are back to the 4 a week (30 sec. or greater) baseline, mostly Complex Partial, some Tonic and a few Tonic Clonic… Praying that this VNS will help him, but fully aware that this is going to take some time, lots of time if it does help before we see it. Starting to see the little ones return causing the absence type and the little cognitive ones that cause stuttering and slurs when he is talking… The Zonegran increase really helped those, not sure if the return is due to the stress on his body from surgery or if the increase of Zonegran is wearing off. Not too worried, as long as the bigger ones stay at 4 or less a week. Least that is tolerable and so much better than the seizure monster we saw in August… 

\0/ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; \0/ that bringeth good tidings of good, \0/ that publisheth salvation; \0/ that saith unto Zion, \0/ Thy God reigneth! \0/ Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; \0/ with the voice together shall they sing: \0/ for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. \0/ Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. \0/ The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean [thing]; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. (Isaiah 52:7-11)


  Don’t Forget!!
NOVEMBER IS EPILEPSY AWARENESS MONTH… 

Surgery countdown, Moving and back to Peace!

WINNERS!! $5 Math Challenge!!

Here we go… Surgery is in 10 days, next Thursday for Brynnon’s implant. We should be able to leave the hospital that afternoon after the approximate 2 hour surgery. His will be on when we leave the hospital, which is relatively new as I understand it they have been doing it this way at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans for about 6 months. With the Zonegran back on board and increase to 400 MG he has returned to his “normal Baseline” of 4 seizures a week lasting over 30 seconds. We will be moving as well, planning to sleep in our rental soundly when we get home from the surgery. We are greatly looking forward to going home where we can have PEACE again. Recharge after the last 4+ years, which have been terribly hard on us as a family.

Brynn and Brett with Pop Ollie in MS

The children and I will be returning and my Husband will stay here for now. Trying to make it the least stressful as possible for Brynnon. Hard to do when he loves the neighbors here so very much. Going to be leaving the two oldest children (22 & 20) here as well, that just makes things harder on us all. I know that in the long run it will all work out and this move will bring the needed changes our family desperately needs. So, home we will go… back to the peace and quiet that we loved so much. Back to nature and back to good God believing and fearing people. People call Pearl River County Mississippi God’s Country and Holy Land USA. The reason is the remarkable peace that you feel there, it‘s like no other. We have been in many places and that is the only place that ever felt like home. I will update when I can, will be back and forth over the next week or so… and looking forward to going HOME when the surgery is done. The next ten days will be intense… Packing, Moving things, surgery, moving more. We will be having some fun and visiting family for a few days too though! Prayerfully the nest time I post, it will be from the Mississippi woods… Ahhh, I can almost feel the peace just thinking about it! 🙂

Brett and Abigail

         

Children’s trip update


Brynn’s appointment went well. Dr. Einstein was there today after he sent the Intern in… I gave a good lecture to the Intern who will become a Pediatrician soon. Explained to her that Brynn should have been diagnosed at two years of age or even earlier. Explained that his symptoms were overlooked and explained with “Night Terrors, Infant Gas, Articulation Disorder ect.) Told her that I made a promise to myself that I would tell this to every Intern and Pediatrician I come in contact with. If someone would have listened to me many years ago we could have helped him a lot sooner. We are going to schedule a trip down to chat with Surgeon about VNS and set the VNS implant surgery date. He thinks it will be a valuable tool for Brynn, but cautioned me on thinking it is a cure for him. He said we can Hope for a 50% reduction, but he doesn’t expect it to be that for Brynn. I appreciated his honesty. I expressed my fear of the future and said I want it because I want to have any tool that could potentially stop status, he understood and agreed that it is important to have any available tool to help Brynn.

Brynn 12 Brett7

He said because he is Refractory and failed so many meds he doesn’t see him being seizure free, but it is important to only do one change at a time. By the way, if he has failed so many, why is still on all the failed ones except Trileptal? We are going up to 400 mg on Zonegran. We’ll keep the Depakene at 1,250 mg twice daily, Vimpat 200 mg twice daily and Klonopin .5. Once Brynn gets back and stays at his baseline average of four seizures a week for a while we will try to wean Depakene and introduce Onfi, since Brynn’s brain seems to like Benzo’s. While doing the Neurological exam he noticed the small seizures I have been asking about for two years now, asked me if I noticed him spacing out… Told him he has always done it, he said he didn’t notice it before. Told him I call it checking out, that sometimes he goes back to what he was doing, sometimes he doesn’t remember what he was doing.

Tera 22, Abigail 2 and Brynn 12

Of course this is probably seizure activity that we cannot see and he said once we get the big ones under control we need to work on those as surely they effect his daily function. So thankful he noticed them… His Neuropsychological report from a year ago questions is this is happening because he noticed it while spending time with Brynn. His 3 day EEG even mentions seizure spikes with no clinical signs. So, productive visit for Brynn… many more questions for Mom… Still feeling insecure about all this, as I don’t feel like my Brynn is safe. I still daily fight fear of what if, when and why. On the why, we talked about that too. He said he just doesn’t feel like we will get anything back from genetic

Brandon 17, Abigail 2

testing. Even if we did it would not change anything. I said well at least I would know WHAT it is. He said we cannot go in and rewire his brain, it’s just not wired correctly. There is not easy fix here and having a name for it is not going to change it. I disagree, but respect and understand his opinion as a physician. I am in hopes that increasing the Zonegran will bring positive changes… and I am looking forward to ANY change for the better that the VNS will give Brynn. He suggested I wait on the Neuropsychological re-testing, as he needs to be in better Neurological shape for it to be accurate, to see where he is in comparison to his baseline cognitive function before that horrible seizure that took away two years. He looked at the 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 writing samples from Brynn’s home school. He wouldn’t talk about regression, says it’s Cognitive Disability. Not looking forward to that trip again, but perhaps we can get a room next time and actually visit family. There is always Ronald McDonald house for the Surgery day. Here’s to HOPE… and lots of it! It’s all in YHVH’s hands anyway, what do they know… I got a message while at the Dr. and my phone was off. The buyers for our property were approved for the loan, so looks like we will be moving really soon… No idea where, LOL It’s all in the Father’s hands… Don’t want to make any more poor decisions like we did coming here. We will walk away with considerably less than our down payment… and loose all other funds we spent getting Bri’s room built and so on… Oh well, live and learn… boy did we! Kind of excited about what the future could bring… ~Denise  

Horrible Month…


Wow, this while month has been completely stressful in every area of our lives. The month of August was terrible for Brynnon, not counting the small seizures (Absence) his total for the month was 65. He suffered 38 Complex Partials, 23 Tonic and 4 Tonic Clonic. This all started with 7 Tonics in a cluster on July 31st. His average was 4 per week in the months of April-July. On July 13th we completed the wean of Zonegran to try to help his cognitive function. He was at MedCamp the following week. He did have a Tonic Clonic on 7/25 that was 1 1/2 minutes. I considered it all to be stress, especially since my Husband was offered a job in NC. So off to NC my Hubby Flew to talk about this wonderful opportunity.  Before he even landed our cash buyer on our property backed out! Argh…   Our 2 year old Daughter took off running from us with a pencil and fell lacerating her eyelid. If that wasn’t horrifying enough the ER left a pencil shred in her eye. Lots of other little stress inducers… I assumed it was stress… 
All assumptions came to a crashing halt when I went back over all the video and filled in the seizure calendar. I was horrified at the amount of seizures. Horrified even more that I let anyone convince me that 4 seizures a week was okay. Horrified that I had let my guard down and let this go on… 

  It’s one thing that I was giving that extra Klonopin for clusters several times a week…..



When I saw that it didn’t seem to be working and worse this didn’t seem to end. I made the call to his Neuro. He started him on Ativan to break the clusters up. It took three nights to see any effect, but gradually it did work and broke the clusters up. The assumption was made that it was taking the Zonegran away. Looking at the calendar it makes sense. So we started the Zonegran again. 100 mgs for 4 days, then 200, then 300. Finally on the 3rd night of the full dose everything has calmed down. Not quite where he was before August, but certainly much better. Brynnon has always completely detested Zonegran. It’s a capsule and he cannot swallow it, so we put it in pudding. We will go back to Children’s on 9/11 and we will be talking about the VNS implant. His Neuro says it’s best to think of it like a medicine. Some do not see results at all, some receive seizure freedom.He feels Brynnon has about a 33% change of receiving a 50% reduction of seizures with it, but it will take at least 6 months to see this result. I have already decided it is worth the risk based on the assumption that it could help him in the event of another status seizure and it would be wonderful if he could be one of those that it stops all seizures! He also mentioned Onfi… Knowing how great Klonopin worked for so long and after seeing the Ativan kick in and get control of those clusters, well I think Onfi is worth a try with it being in the Benzo family. I just don’t know where they will fit it in. We will surely be talking this over next week. After going through these past weeks, I know one thing for sure… FOUR SEIZURES A WEEK IS BETTER THAN 13 or 14 A WEEK, BUT HE NEEDS TO HAVE ZERO. So, praying that September will be a better month for Brynnon and our family.

My sweet Brandon will be 17 on 9/5. I just cannot believe that time has passed so quickly. I have always reffed to him as a “Dear Child” after hearing a sermon years ago. The Pastor said a dear child was one that was after the Father’s heart, obedient to his parents and full of love for others. That Brandon has always been. He only lied to me once in his lifetime, about whether he completed his home school work. I do  not remember ever having to discipline him. All he ever needed was to be told, sometimes firmly, but that was enough… 
 

Okay, I put this off long enough….  Went back to Children’s for our June appointment. Brynn is currently stable at an average of 4 Complex Partials and 1 or 2 tonics a week. Just ONE Tonic Clonic in the whole month of June and one so far in July. May be the best we will get… Could get better…. could get much worse and fast. Wouldn’t it be nice to know…


 Cognitive functioning has slowed again, and we have weaned Zonegran.   Keeping Klonopin, Depakene and Vimpat for now. We went for a Video EEG on Thursday and Friday last week. He had a good night, so I am unsure if they caught any seizures. Talked to the Eleptologist about Brynn also. She said that he has Congenital Intractable Multifocal Epilepsy.
I asked if it caused his Cognitive Disorder and MR,
she said no… He was born that way. She also told me that with his left Occipital Lobe, Frontal Lobe and Right Centrotemporal .     He actually could be blind, could have not talked or walked. She said he does very well in spite of what is going on in his brain and that Children’s brains are amazing that they can go around these issues and one area takes over the others lack. She told Brynn he was brave and she was proud of him for doing so good through the testing… and she told him he is AMAZING! We talked a little about Genetic testing, said I will have to ask his Neuro about that. I mentioned Fragile X, she said most Fragile X  children are moderate/severe MR, he is mild MR with Cognitive Disorder, could be Fragile X but could be Prader Willi or others too…

Hmmm, Prader Willi… that syndrome that I was laughed at for suggesting to that Neuro before his second known Tonic Clonic? Yeah, oddly enough I haven’t even thought about that syndrome in the two years since Brynn’s Epilepsy got out of control. Looking back on the conversation I should have asked tons of questions… but I froze mentally after she said he could be blind… could have never learned to talk and walk… I was so taken back by the miracle of it all. He can ride a bike, a four wheeler… He may only read on a 1st Grade entry level, but you should see him change a tire and work on a bike…. You should see him play on his iPad… You should see him laugh and play… 

          
Of course now I think what if it moves, starts somewhere else? What then? No negativity Denise, you didn’t come this far to become a faithless fearer of the future! No, take it all one day at a time and be ever so grateful that my precious Brynn can indeed walk, talk and see. Appreciate everything he can do and make the best out of what he has, whew. So… onward we will go. Going to ask again for genetic testing. I went back over his previous Video EEG report and I understand it better now after talking to her. I understand th faulty wiring comments better and I actually comprehend what dysfunction in the brain means. I still have a lot to learn about this Epilepsy monster, but I have come full circle to reality…
The reality is that he was just born this way. Our Abba Father makes no mistakes. He is a beautiful miracle, as all children are. He just sparkles differently and his light just so happens to flicker too much at times. What an amazing boy he is indeed! Hard to believe in just a few months he will be a… TEENAGER!
 Brynn
is so excited to go to Med Camp on the 15th for a whole week!! I am excited for him to have such a wonderful opportunity to have a fun filled week in a medically supervised environment to ride horses, canoe, swim, hike, archery and most importantly meet other children like him! 🙂 

 
 

Lots of beautiful sparkly children will be there… just like him!      🙂