Project Seizure-Freeedom

I have found that through the most difficult and painful times in my life is

when I have grown the most and God never left me.

He hasn't left you either.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Become Empowered

While speaking at the Barnes and Noble in Madison, Wisconsin, several in the audience had surprised expressions when I gave statistical information about medication and epilepsy. For many, it is shocking to hear that after the first medication fails to control seizures, there is less than a fifty percent chance the second medication will work. After the second medication fails, there is less than a twenty percent chance that medication will ever control seizures. If we knew this information going into that first doctors appointment, would it change the treatment plan for seizures? I hope so.

As recommended by Epilepsia (a publication for neurology professionals) after the second medication fails, the ketogenic diet should be tried. The ketogenic diet carries less risk than any drug on the market, and has a proven track record of nearly one hundred years. So why are so few kids and adults prescribed *dietary therapy for seizure disorders?

Knowledge. The answer to the question above, is simply lack of knowledge and understanding of the diet by medical professionals who treat seizures. In the 1950's when anti-seizure medications were developed, the diet became prehistoric in a sense. Most thought the answer to seizure control was here; but it hasn't arrived for more than forty percent, of the three million Americans who suffer with epilepsy.

If you are the parent of a child that has uncontrolled seizures, and are considering dietary therapy, take the above statistics with you the next time you visit the doctor. When you know the facts, and are aware of all the treatment options, it's easier to make a confident decision. Become empowered.

*Dietary therapy for seizures includes, the ketogenic diet, modified atkins diet, or low glycemic diet. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview at Noon

One of  the blessings of getting a book published is that it has given me a platform. A platform to share what I've learned through our journey with seizures and autism, and the ability to support others on their own journey. 

On Friday, April 29th at noon in Madison, Wisconsin, on channel 3, I will be interviewed by Madison's own Charlotte Deleste. I'm never sure when an interview is planned what questions will be asked, but no matter what, every time there is the opportunity to share our story and the miracle of the ketogenic diet, there is also the possibility that it might help another child. Being informed is to be empowered.                        

If you live in the Madison, Wisconsin area, please tune in to WISC-TV channel 3 on Friday at noon; and you are also warmly invited to join us as we continue to spread awareness for seizures and autism at Barnes and Noble Madison stores on Saturday, April 30th.

*Please note poster to the left for more detailed information. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quarter for a Clear View

It was intentional. The view finder (click here to see as shown on the blog page) was given much thought prior to being chosen as the face of this blog. At first glance it's a bit of a nostalgic, touristy kind of photo, but when I read the instructions on the view finder; the wording, "turn knob for a clear view" caught my attention, and in its own way, mirrors the message of empowerment contained in this blog.

Wouldn't it be great if when we first heard the words, "something isn't right" all we would have to do is pay a quarter, crank a knob, and viola! A manual with instructions would appear; with all of the treatment choices available. Our vision would be clear! We would have all the information to make informed decisions to best help our child or loved one. No more trying to unlock a door from the pile of a thousand keys, or trying to solve a puzzle with many of the pieces missing. Just drop a quarter--wouldn't that be something?

When Christina was diagnosed at seven months with epilepsy, we tried every anti-seizure drug and had every test. No answers as to why the seizures started and worse yet, we could not stop the seizures. An even greater tragedy however, that affects hundreds of thousands of children, is the lack of disclosure and lack of knowledge by those responsible for our children's medical care. In fact, when we stumbled upon another treatment option and inquired about it, the neurologist told us it was not safe for small children. We believed this. Who wouldn't? This was a neurologist, highly regarded in the community, and we trusted him.

Desperation set in when we almost lost our beautiful daughter after several more months of life-threatening seizures. With no treatment options left, and we took a leap of faith and traveled twelve hundred miles to Mayo Clinic. Within days of administering the diet there, the seizures stopped.

When the dust settled we realized that advocacy turned the tables for our child.

Dr. Jeffrey Buchhalter wrote in the forward of Good Morning, Beautiful: 
When a family confronts a medical care environment that fails to meet the needs of the child or parents, what can they do? As one who has devoted his professional life to the care of children with epilepsy, I can tell you that this occurs not out of lack of concern on the part of health care providers, but lack of expertise and familiarity. This book shares the journey of how one family learned what they could do. Its intent is to impact others' lives and inspire them to do the same as families must assume responsibility for care. 

In order for our vision to be clear, we must step up and take on the responsibility for our child or loved one's care. We are advocates. And even though it may seem overwhelming at times, you will get through it. If I can, anyone can. Mother Theresa once said, "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."  Can't tell you how many times, I felt this same way, but  through it all, the greatest success was found in never giving up.

For a listing of facilities that provide second opinions and great ketogenic and autism care, click here.