Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ages and Stages

Ava's been talking and learning so much these past few weeks. Although her seizures have returned, she's taking it all with stride. She's really been making us laugh so much lately with all her cute little two year old antics.

Yesterday, we decided to restart anti-epileptic medication. It was a very tough decision, but we have to do what's best for not just Ava, but everyone in the family. We will be starting Clobazam next week, and hope it gives us some better control without affecting her learning and language as negatively as some of the other meds.

During our appointment yesterday with our Pedi. Neuro I really saw our situation in a very different light. As I was complaining about the recent seizure activity Neuro reminded me how terrible and unhappy Ava was on Depakote, and her months of no sleep on Keppra, when in the end, she was still having the same amount of seizures.

Quite frankly, I must agree with Neuro, this is the best Ava's felt physically in quite some time (despite the seizures). It really made me realize that the medications were: a) not providing decent control and b) making her feel worse than the seizures. So the fact that she's feeling good for the most part, and able to learn and remember things despite the seizures made for a really tough decision yesterday. I've been so obsessed with the seizures and my ultimate goal to be "seizure free", I never bothered to think about how she might feel. If she could tell us.....would she want to be on medication.......or deal with the seizures and feel "normal".

So in the end, all parties agreed. We must keep trying to work toward giving Ava the best quality of life possible. And right now....that means a low, low dose of meds to give us a shot at better seizure control, and us continuing with the diet.

Because it was so difficult to get and keep our feisty little two year old on the Ketogenic Diet, we all decided that taking her off the diet to test it's effectiveness would be ideal, but just not in the cards for us. I've worked so long and hard to actually get her to eat on a daily basis and not reject the foods, and because she had such wonderful success in the beginning, we're going to stick with it for awhile longer.

We also decided to head to Massachusetts for a consult at Mass General to help us fine tune the diet in any way we can to get better success with some more experienced dietitians.

Last night, after pondering everything that happened during the day, and after a comical phone conversation with a friend I was truly amazed by all the stages (and ages) we've been through with the epilepsy monster.

About Ava

Ava Simone LaBonte was born December 1, 2005, a healthy baby. She was a happy, healthy, normal baby until six months old, when we noticed some odd movements, which we thought were exagerated startles. Ava had her first EEG at 6 months, and it was normal. Six weeks following the EEG, Ava began having head drops....and we knew this time, something would show up.

At 8 months old, Ava was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, a rare form of epilepsy. She was treated immediately with a 4 week course of ACTH. Ava spent 6 weeks "seizure free". All of Ava's MRI's, CT's, and blood tests have been "normal".

On November 20, 2006, Ava had a grand mal seizure which could not be stopped, and she was put in a drug induced coma. We left the hospital on antiepileptic medication, and have been on medication ever since. Ava is currently diagnosed with Generalized Epilepsy.

So far we've tried the following medications: ACTH, Trileptal, Keppra, B-6, Depakote, Carnitor, and currently on the Ketogenic Diet.