Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seizures Return With a Vengeance

Up to this point, our son's experience with epilepsy was very mild. The stresses were manageable, as were the seizures. Looking back, we were incredibly naive. We only had the smallest glimpse of what life with epilepsy was really like. The generalized tonic clonic (grand mal) seizures that our son had were frightening but since he really had so few, after a time the memory of them easily faded.

That is until December 4th 2009. I received a call from my our elementary school telling me they had called an ambulance because our son had a seizure. I almost didn't believe it. So many years had gone by without any seizure activity. Weren't those days were long gone?

I arrived at the school and found the teachers and paramedics surrounding my son. He was extremely disoriented, but ok. Obviously everyone was concerned and quite shaken up, it was the first seizure any of them had seen. I reassured them that it was normal for him to be quite tired after a seizure and that I would be taking him home to rest.

I'm sure everyone fully expected me to take the ambulance to the hospital. I knew how the system worked here, and I knew that we would sit for several hours to see a doctor who would tell us what we already know. Instead, I called our former Neurologist (we had moved to a new city) and we were began the treatment of Valproic Acid again.

Since we didn't have a local Neurologist, we knew it would be several months before we would get one. However, we weren't too concern based on our previous experience. The Valproic worked before, we expected it to magically stop the seizures again.

Again, we were mistaken. The seizures just kept coming. In one week in December, he had 10 "grand mals". His condition still wasn't severe, but the fact that the number of events were increasing despite the use of increasing medication was upsetting.

For a few months there began to be a bit of a pattern. He would have a seizure, sleep it off for a couple of hours, and then be back to normal. I always counted on him to have only one event and wake up fully recovered.

Eventually, this expectation began to fade as well. The trend changed from 1 event at a time to 2 or 3 throughout a day. The seizures also began to take a real toll on his overall functioning. Sometimes it would take him a week to get back to his regular speed in activity and thought processes. Along with the lapses in his thinking abilities was a new type of seizure we hadn't seen before: absence seizures, or petit mal.

Our son's absence seizures were also increasing. He appeared to be daydreaming and staring off into space, but he was really having 2-10 second seizures throughout the day everyday.

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