Just a little worried…

Back in June, Colleen had an appointment with the orthopedist. This was during her terrible medication withdrawal period, so the actual appointment did not go well at all. After X-rays we’re taken or her hips and back, the doctor noticed some wear on one side of her hips. She asked if there was popping, and of course, my heart sank because I had noticed it quite a lot. I even told Colleen she was too young for that.

Actual exam is where the appointment fell apart, and Colleen screamed the rest of the time. Whether because her hip really hurt or part of the medication issues…or both. I don’t know. She has a follow up in December, but every time her hip pops, I panic. What does this mean for her future? She’s been doing so well and getting stronger, but will it be hindered by hip issues.

This is something I’m hoping others can share their experience with. I’m so sad for her, and praying that it’s not extremely painful at the moment.

Lean In

I said hopefully the next time I wrote a post, we would hopefully be through this, and to be honest, I was beginning to think that there really wasn’t going to be light at the long, dark, lonely tunnel but it’s been three nights of peaceful rest. I’m still on edge, always expecting screams to come, but Colleen seems to have turned a corner. And I can only begin to imagine how bad it was for her body to take a month and a half…nearly two, to recover. This past Tuesday, she fell asleep around 12:30PM, while I was at work. She didn’t wake until almost 6:30, and that whole time I was thinking, β€œplease, just let her sleep!” Her exhausted body desperately needed it.

June 29th vs. last night (Mate app that pairs with the Embrace watch)

I’m not sure how we made it through. I don’t think I’ve ever doubted myself more than during this period, questioning everything I was doing just to try to help her, while seemingly making it worse. But, if there’s one bit of help I can give, it will be advice that was given to me: lean in.

I was the lonely soldier. But I was losing. And I am so thankful that people saw me in my brokenness and reached out to offer support. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation now or in the future, know that to don’t have to do it alone. Lean in and ask for help wherever you can. Even the most simple of gestures can mean the world. I’m here too, if you need to talk, or for someone to listen.

These days are hard

I’m currently laying next to Colleen, my hand draped lightly across her back, hoping it’s enough comfort for her to sleep. It is just enough in this moment to keep her peaceful, so I dare not move. Her sleep is barely tethered to the first stage it seems, and we are both exhausted.

Everyday is something different and it was my hope that by now, she’d be doing better. But, here we are, far past this being a “stage” and into unanswerable territory. Last Tuesday, desperate for answers, Colleen was brought to the local pediatric ER. I know it wasn’t an emergency at all, but I felt that if someone didn’t help, I was likely going to be the one in the ER. The anxiety has been terrible…

My fears of being judged for bringing her in quickly faded when they decided to admit her. I had suspicions about the root cause, but I needed answers. Because three weeks of this was far too much.

After regressing a lot in her areas, especially energy, her ability to walk and daily seizures and myoclonics, we were finally able to get neurology to add a new medication, a Onfi (clobazam). By day 4, it was clear this AED was controlling far more than her seizures. After a little back and forth and a trip back to Boston, we got the dosage down and side effects that were manageable. Not ideal, but still manageable.

It still proved to be too much, and her behavior steadily worsened. Colleen wasn’t Colleen. Which is why, after three weeks of violent tantrums consisting of throwing herself around, terrible sleep, insomnia, and biting herself or whoever she could get ahold of, she was brought to the Pediatric ER.

I don’t think a stone was left unturned. Blood work, MRI, new EEG…everything was normal. Which was a relief.

But it still left a big question mark as to why this was happening. Onfi side effects were quickly dismissed as not being possible that it was still in her system and capable of causing this.

Luckily, since there was such a huge team, a psychiatrist that saw her listened to our concerns and was able to find a couple of studies from the past that indicated that is was in fact a small percentage of the testing population that did experience these extreme side effects.

We are now currently going on a month of this and I’m still so tired. I am wondering if and when I will have Colleen back.

Throughout the day is so much better than before. We have been meeting her a pediatric doctor who specializes in behavior and have a plan. But, much of it is a waiting game.

I never would have imagined that something like this would have challenged me so much. I’ve felt so lost, hopeless and depressed. It’s one thing to be raising a disabled child and they’re doing well. It’s another thing completely to have her struggling so much, so sad, and to not be able to help her.

For the past few days, it’s been a few nights of okay (falling asleep by herself), then just waking up early, to just downright miserable. Inability to get comfortable, insomnia, smaller glimpses of her upset episodes.

I genuinely hope that by the next post, I can say this was a major hurdle we got through, but we got through it.

I hate epilepsy.

I keep hoping I’d have better news to share, but the truth is that the last few months have been hard for Colleen.

At the beginning of November last year when we went to see the neurologist, we brought a list of all of Colleen’s regressions. It’s tough to look at. To see where she was and where she is now. 5 steps forward. 20 steps back. A medication increase really seemed to do the trick. And because there was room to increase a little more, we did. She was doing amazing in school and was able to participate and make strides. Her friends got to see their happy Colleen! Then the week leading up to Christmas break, she came down with the flu. We missed time that should have been spent with family. She slept a lot. Her myoclonic jerks increased.

And now, 4 weeks after she was finally rid of the flu, she’s still really struggling. I’ve lost count of how many times she’s had to come home because she was falling asleep. She’s had more bruises than I care to count from having her myoclonic jerks out of no where. I am sad for her. Her friends miss her and she has barely any energy.

Of course, I’ve been contacting neurology every few days. They’re going to get so sick of me calling that they’re going to have to do something. I’m just at a loss. They finally agreed to reduce her medication a little, and now we get to wait another week to see how she does. Praying this helps and she’ll finally get her energy back. And a little bit of freedom! I’ve had to put some toys away for fear she’s going to have another myoclonic jerk and hit her face again.

Here’s to hoping and praying my next pose has better news, health wise!