Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our Life With Epilepsy {Epilepsy Blog Relay 2017}

This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay which will run from June 1 through June 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

This is our first time participating in the Epilepsy Blog Relay but if you've read our blog before then you know that Epilepsy is life for us. I turned 38 a few days ago and I have had Epilepsy since I was 3 months old.  I am a wife and a mother to four children, three of which have had some type of Epilepsy during their lifetime.  I have been an Epilepsy Mom for 14 years now.

My oldest, thankfully, does not have Epilepsy, though he does have struggles of his own.  He's allergic to penicyllin and mold.  He struggles educationally.  He has sensory issues.

My second born, my daughter, was the first of my children to have Epilepsy.  She was 3 months old when she had her first seizure, 2 weeks following her vaccine series.  She continued to have tonic clonic, absence and complex partial seizures until she was 5.  At five she stopped having seizures and began having migraines instead.  At 14, she's been seizure free for 9 years though she still has migraines occasionally.

My third child, my second daughter, began having seizures at 4 months, 2 weeks after having her vaccine series as well.  She also has tonic clonic, absence and complex partial episodes.   She is now 9 and has not outgrown her seizures.  As the years pass, our hope becomes less that she will outgrow them.  She has yearly EEG's which show nothing and she's on Lamictal currently after having allergies to everything we tried in the past.  She is mildly delayed due to an allergic reaction to Trileptal when she was an infant.

My fourth child, my youngest son, has a different condition.  He official diagnoses is Involuntary Breath Holding Spells that trigger Epileptic Seizure.  Involuntary Breath Holding is a common childhood disorder which becomes dangerous when seizures that follow last longer than the average 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  For my son, the seizures last anywhere from 10-20 minutes.  20 minutes is the longest we've allowed them to go without stopping them with emergency diastat medication.

Epilepsy brings many challenges in life.  I went from being the person that seizes, to being the person who watches their child seize.  Our family is rare in that we have 5 known directly descending generations with Epilepsy beginning with my great-grandfather down to my children.  My children are the first generation since my grandfather's generation to have multiple siblings with Epilepsy.

Being a person who has seizures is hard.  Being a Mother of children who have seizures is harder.  I do not know what our days will bring as Epilepsy is not a predictable disorder.  Even though my oldest is not currently having seizures, it does not mean she never will again.  It's a disorder we are always watching for, looking for even the smallest of events that may be a heads up for a larger event.

I don't wish our life on anyone and yet I know our life could be worse.  I've been lucky in that we've never had more than one of my children (or myself) seize on the same day.  I call us blessed because I know this could be worse.  I see it in the Neurologist office and in my Epilepsy groups online every day.

I began blogging in 2009 and I wasn't sure what this blog would be about.  It didn't take long for me to find my purpose here though.  Sharing our life and our story about Epilepsy, our day to day challenges, things we go through in an effort to helps others who, like us, struggle to understand and live with this disorder.

When I began blogging there were not many Epilepsy Mom bloggers.  I can understand why.  This isn't an easy thing to share.  When our families are seizing, then we'd just rather it go away and we'd rather pretend we're normal and it doesn't exist.  But the truth is, it does exist.  It doesn't go away.  It's always there, even when it's not active.

There's always the fear.  The fear that the day will end with a seizure or the morning will begin with one.  The fear that a seizure will happen in their sleep and you'll wake to find them not breathing the next morning.  The fear that you'll have a day full of too much excitement that leads to a week of seizures that are unstoppable.  The fear of Status Epilepticus and SUDEP.  The fear never goes away.

And you never forget.  You never forget how your child or your loved one looks laying lifeless and out of control.  You never forget the feeling of helplessness you as a parent feels.  You never forget the confusion a seizure creates.  And you definitely never forget the thankfulness you feel when your child or your loved on wakes up and comes around from the seizure's effects.

Epilepsy life is hard.  It's not a life any of us would choose but it's one that we are forced to live every day.  We deal with the not knowing, finding hope and strength in whatever we can to get through it.  The Epilepsy community is a tight nit one because we each understand the challenges and triumphs of living with Epilepsy.

Epilepsy is our life and you can read more about it and how we deal with our day to day through the many other Epilepsy posts we have shared on our blog.  I promise there will be many more posts to come as we continue to share and work towards helping others understand what living with Epilepsy is like.  I hope our blog encourages you to share your own Epilepsy story with others.  Advocacy and Education for Epilepsy is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our families.

May each of you be blessed,
Dana Lambert-Hodge
NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post tomorrow with Danielle Daley on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Italianbabydollxox for more on epilepsy awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com.

Don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on June 30 at 7PM ET.

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