Sunday, December 12, 2010

Because one child with medical issues isn't enough

For the last couple of months Sophia has been struggling a bit in school. She has had a hard time paying attention and she has had a number of potty accidents. Her teacher suggested we take her to the doctor to get checked out.

Between my observations, the teacher's observations and a discussion with my sister in law, I asked the doctor to refer her to a neurologist. He did (immediately) and we went for our first visit with the pediatric neurologist this last Tuesday.

After taking a family history and talking about what has been going on with Sophia, the doctor was pretty sure she was having absence (pronounce ab-SOHNS) seizures. Basically, what happens is, Sophia zones out for between 5 and 10 seconds. There is no major shaking, no falling down, no passing out, just a kind of empty stare for a few seconds. She is oblivious to anything happening. Sometimes, she will have an accident during one of these episodes. It is "normal" for a child to have dozens and dozens of these a day.

While at the doctor's office, the doctor decided to try to induce a seizure. These types of seizures can be induced by hyperventilating. She brought in a pinwheel and told Sophia to just relax and try to keep the pinwheel turning. After a few seconds you could see Sophia start to get winded, and then her eyes floated down and twitched a little. The doctor spoke to Sophia and got no response. After about 10 seconds, you could see her re-engage. The doctor spoke to her again and Sophia responded as though nothing had happened. The doctor turned to me and said "That is a perfect example of an absence seizure."

She is scheduled for an EEG next Monday (the 20th). It should be interesting - she is not allowed to sleep for more than 5 hours the night before. The appointment isn't until 10am, so we will have to try to keep her up super late and then I will have to get up really early with her and keep her awake until her appointment.

She has started medicine (ethosuximide) that is a target specific medication. It will only help with absence seizures. If , for some reason, she starts to have other types of seizures we will have to change her medication. There is a possibility that these seizures can "escalate" to gran mal seizures, but it is fairly rare according to the neurologist. She may also grow out of it. We just have to wait and see.

As sad as I am about Sophia being diagnosed epileptic, at the same time it is a relief to have a definite diagnosis instead of just wondering why she was struggling so much. Please continue to pray for us. I could certainly use a break from all these medical issues!