We’re two months in to the ketogenic diet. The doctors say that it’s working. We’ve been able to go down on meds without a significant increase in seizures, although the reduction was more due to my son being toxic on the meds rather than the gradual weaning of meds that sometimes follows the diet. But we also haven’t been admitted to the hospital in months, which admittedly is a pretty low bar.
His behavior is better, but it’s still bad. There is less screaming, and the outbursts don’t last as long, but they still happen. And his impulse control is still nonexistent. We’ve had to add a chain lock to our front door to prevent him front running out on the street, which he did. We can still see it in his eyes, when his brain gives up on making any decision and following natural impulses that, for a 5-year-old, involve flipping, and running, and hitting.
It’s still hard to look at him and to see him struggle. It’s still hard to do something fun only to have it end with a seizure because his body gets too tired to prevent it. This picture was taken at a festival in the park next to our house. About 30 minutes after it was taken, he was on the ground having a seizure, concerned bystanders offering to help.
In the past month, we’ve gotten help to come during the day. We’re also getting additional services through the hospital and through the state. We are getting better at managing. Managing his routine. Managing his seizures. Managing his behavior. The help and structure have made the day-to-day easier.
Easier, but not easy.
Like I imagine so many other families are dealing with, epilepsy has its own gravity that forces everyone to exert much more energy to keep moving. Every step is harder to take. Everything takes longer. Even the simplest things are exhausting. I wish I could grab my wife and son, strap on some rocket boosters, and break free from the unrelenting pull of gravity, but so far, we continued to get pulled back by more seizures or other complications.
Easier, but not easy.
There are families that don’t get easier or easy, and I’m grateful for the progress that we have made and for the support that we continue to receive. I’m still hopeful that all this will somehow, magically go away and that we won’t talk about the year when my son was five and he had all those seizures. We’ll skip ahead from his Disney World fifth birthday party to whatever we do for him when he’s six, and forget everything in between. Short of a magic wand to make it go away, I wish I had a remote control to fast forward to that time.
That would be easy.