My pregnancy and delivery of Aaron where completely normal. He was a very content little baby with no apparent problems. He developed pretty normally (maybe just slightly behind) until he was about 8 months old. That's when we first noticed that sometimes when he was lying on his stomach, his head would drop down and hit the floor. For a while we thought he was kind of throwing a tantrum or that he was just losing control for a second because he was just a baby
I'm showing this video because I think it's important for people to recognize that there are so many different types of seizures. If I had known that then maybe it wouldn't have taken so long to get Aaron diagnosed and start his treatment.
Our pediatrician again was able to quickly get us in to see a neurologist as Primary Children's Hospital and as soon as he saw the video he immediately went to look at Aaron's EEG results again. He said that at first glance it did look normal but when looked at carefully he could see those split second seizures. He ordered another EEG to confirm before starting Aaron on medication.
I just have to take a second to talk little about the EEG. It is an experience in and of itself. We needed to have Aaron sleep deprived so they could monitor his brain's electrical impulses as he was going to sleep so he was pretty cranky already. Then they put 24? little nodes all over his head, then wrapped it up with gauze so none of them fall off. Here are a couple of pictures:
He actually was such a trooper and he had to go through this whole process twice, beside the MRI, ct scan, blood draws, and urine tests that he also had to endure. All of these tests came up with no answers to why he was having seizure so they say it's idiopathic which means there's no known cause or in other words, "We're too big of 'idiots' to understand what's going on." :) I'm actually totally kidding because I know they do what they can but it is frustrating to not know why our sweet little baby is suffering this way.
We started on one medication that seemed to reduce the seizures quite a bit for a while but not in the long run. Then it was another medication that didn't work and which we realized, once we got him off of, was keeping Aaron in such a fog and probably making him dizzy that his development was really slow. About a month after getting him completely off that second medication, Aaron started taking his first steps at 21 months old.
Two more medications later, we finally have his seizures under control. When he was two we started him on a medication that he wasn't able to take until that age because of the risk of liver failure (scary, huh!) in children under two years old. It seemed to do the trick in combination with two other medications (#1 and #3). He's now on two medications and we were hoping to get him down to just one but our attempts to wean him off of one have been unsuccessful. He started having a few break through seizures so we'll just stick with the two for now.
Aaron is such a blessing to our family. We have learned so much through him. He goes to special-ed preschool which he loves. He has great teachers and he continues to make progress even though it's very slow. He's developmentally delayed in all areas but his speech is the most delayed. It's so good that he can communicate to some degree with sign language. His fine motor skills aren't really good so his signs are hard to understand but I can usually figure it out.
He loves people and recognizes those he knows and loves best even from a distance. There are many people that when he sees them, he'll squeal loudly and run over (in his funny little way) to hug them. He can be a trouble maker because he has the mentality of an 18 month to two year old but he's the size of a four year old. He gets into EVERYTHING it seems and because he's taller than a two year old he can reach even more stuff. But we still love him.
I know this has been a super long post but on this Purple Day I really wanted to share our story of how epilepsy has affected us. There is so much to learn about this disorder. There are several different kinds of seizures and they look dozens of different ways. Most people have heard of grand mal, or tonic-clonic as they're now called, but there are so many different kinds. Aaron's have been called myoclonic but when I read the description of myoclonic seizures it doesn't seem to describe what he has. Besides the differences in seizures, doctors don't even quite understand why or how the medicines work. There are dozens of medications and they do the best they can to prescribe the one that will work for a certain type of seizure but it seems like sometimes it's a guessing game.
Thanks for reading and be sure to wear purple today in support of the millions who deal with epilepsy.