Friday, June 20, 2008

The Cancellation List

Soooo...we've been on "the cancellation list" for a consulation with Dr. Thiele and the nutritionist at the at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are approaching month 6 on the Ketogenic Diet, and our seizure control has slipped out of our hands,.

Before totally giving up on all the diet did for us, we just didn't feel right about taking Ava off it until we had a second set of eyes look at her to see if any changes could be made to help us regain the control we saw in the beginning. It appeared, last week, that "the cancellation list" really translates to the "never going to call you...ever...list"! We were NOT expecting anything to come of our MassGeneral hopes, and we were patiently waiting for our July 29th appointment with Dr. Bergin at Boston Children's Hospital.

Surprisingly we got a call 4:59 Friday afternoon to see if we could make it in Monday. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity. Both Matt and I really liked Dr. Thiele, and their super cool waiting room & blood lab in the next room! We talked a lot about meds, not giving up on the diet, and....the VNS.....gulp.

I had been pondering the possibility of the VNS for a few weeks now. My thoughts were.....why waste a year or longer on drug trials that most likely won't work and dope her up and hamper her ability to think and learn. All though both neuros understand our thinking.....they (our local one and Dr. T) both feel it wouldn't provide the control we are looking for, and think with some adjustments to the diet and playing with the meds, we can be in a better place.

I'm willing to give it a try. I'm still waiting for the nutritionist to give me her recommendations, and see how I can make it work. We're raising her Clobazam a bit, which I'm not too keen on (as it makes her VERY hyper). So that puts us at 20mg per seems like a lot. But it IS helping.

I also found out yesterday that we FINALLY got our insurance approval to get our SCN1A genetic testing. What a long wait! We waited almost 4 weeks for our insurance company to decide whether or not it would be "worth it" for her to get the test done. It really blows me away sometimes. Ava has been suffering having seizures for over 2 years, with no cause determined, what is there to decide on???

So, since it's been so long since I've posted I'll fill everyone in on some family news (yes...there are actually other people in our family other than AVA *LOL*) Christian finished his baseball season with a great last game, and not after puking a few times afterwards because of the heat **that's my boy**! Both kids had end of the year performances at their school, and we are sooo proud of how well both of them did this year in school (despite all our drama around here sometimes).

They found an injured bird in the yard yesterday, and drove me nuts for hours. So, yes, I'll admit that I did put a make shift splint on it's leg (hoping it would fly, fly, away so my 3 kids would STOP touching it) to no avail. So after lots of tears, our neighbor made a little house for it to spend it's last hours in.

Is it wrong that I'm laughing about this right now????

Anyway, the following morning Ava cried for approximately 1 full hour because she wanted to hold the bird (who was out on the deck in the "penthouse suite). After seeing the look on my face, Madison & Christian had a "quickie funeral" for little Tweeter and we called it a day.

On a side note, this past Saturday we ran (or rather...trotted) the Matthew Siravo 5K road race. The kids did a race as well, and really got a kick out of it. So in hopes to redeem myself, a friend and I will be running another 5K race this upcoming Wednesday.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So it's no secret that I've really been pretty down the past few weeks. I know, like always, I'll roll out of the gutter and get back to being myself...but right now....I"m just having a really hard time bouncing back.

That being said....I just couldn't resist sharing this with everyone.

Today, after 1 meeting with the school liasion (which didn't exactly go well), 1 speech therapy session, and 1 two hour Early Intervtion playgroup....I was feeling pretty drained, and really needed a pick-me-up. I decided to head to Starbucks (and order a very large iced coffee with lots of sugar!) before going home and finishing the day.

So we're waiting in line, and as I'm telling the barista my order....Ava screams "GET MOMMY'S COFFEE". I just couldn 't stop laughing! I guess it was obvious even to my 2 year old who had been examined and in therapy literally all day....that I was the one who needed something.....RIGHT NOW!!!

As stressful, and heart breaking as things can be sometimes....I sure do love having another little one. She might not be perfect, but at times, I just have that overwhelmeing feeling that she's exactly who she's supposed be. I don't know what the future holds for her, but something tells me.....she'll handle it just fine.

With a little coffee....I might just be o.k. too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Breaking Records

I know it's been awhile since I've updated, but I've just been having such a hard time dealing with things.

So let's start with the good news. We've made it passed our dreaded 8 week milestone. We've never made it longer than 8 weeks withough a major status seizure and hospital trip. This week will be 10 staus epilepctus.

It's been so hard to see Ava struggling with the drop seizures again, after almost 4 months of "freedom". I've just been so sad to see this happening to her. She just wants to be a "normal" two year old sooo badly, and absolutely HATES when we have to make her take a break from the sun, or physical activity when she's having a bad cluster of seizures. My heart has been very, very heavy these past few weeks.

I'm really having some serious reservations about putting any more time into the diet, as what we are seeing daily is telling's not working. We've had discussions back and forth. Neuro, me, Matt, neuro again. We weren't able to see the out-of-state (Mass.) Dr. we had our hearts set on, and will have to wait to for our 2nd choice to squeeze us in the end of July.....which right now...seems like forever. I'm just not feeling 100% about terminating the diet until I feel like we've exhausted every possible option with it. I need a good, experienced set of eyes to look at our menus, mealtimes, every little thing we're doing....and see if there is anything different that would help us get better control.

There really isn't any other anti-epileptic medication that is on the table for us right now. All the choices we have left....aren't good ones. Somehow....something just has to give for Ava. The Clobazam seems to help a bit. Especially the first few hours after she takes it. I called neuro yesterday to see if we could add a small afternoon dose, and see where that takes us.

Madison and Christian have been soooo busy with sports, school plays, and end of the year stuff. It's been a lot of running around to baseball games, softball practice, school play rehearsals, performances...etc.

I wish the sun and heat didn't irritate Ava so much, as it makes it really difficult for us to have "fun in the sun" so to speak. We signed the kids up for a 1/2 day camp and 15 field trips over the summer. They are totally psyched to start (after the summer we had last year)! Most of their school friends will be there, and it will give me a few hours to get organized in the morning.

I've been swamped with appointments trying to get Ava ready to transition all her therapies from Early Intervention into the school system (on top of all our regular appointments)! Lots of "seizure" talk....which I've had up to my ears of these past few weeks! I'm soo worried about how she's going to do in school physically. Heat, loud noises, and sunlight are major triggers for her. We're still working out the details, but I can already's going to be a fight for us to get what she needs to be safe at school next year.

Well off to make some more Ketogenic meals!

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.