Absence Seizures are episodes that I didn’t even know existed 3 months ago. I had never heard of them and thought most seizures were of the grand mal variety, I knew of other types of smaller seizures but really didn’t know much about them. Things can change so quickly.
A few months back, most often after picking her up from kindergarten, I began to notice that Riley would often stop talking mid-sentance and begin to stare off. She would often swallow and look like she was about to be sick. I would call her name and she wouldn’t respond for a period of 10-15 seconds. I wondered what was causing this but decided it must be a combination of stomach nausea and the attention span of a six year old.
Near the beginning of May I took a course to re-certify myself in First Aid and CPR. During the First Aid section, the instructor discussed what to do if someone has a seizure. He mentioned that all seizures are not the Grand Mal type that people often think, but in some cases they are first noticed because teachers think children aren’t paying attention in class. What appears to be daydreaming is actually a type of seizure. Hearing this was like a kick in the gut. It instantly struck me that Riley was having seizures.
I came home and immediately began to do research and quickly found information about Absence Seizures. The description of the seizures fit Riley’s actions perfectly. I talked to Matt and he found videos on YouTube. The first video I watched was so hard because the little girl in the video had a seizure that looked exactly like one of Riley’s. I watched the videos over and over again and cried because I didn’t know what the future would be like for Riley.
On that Monday, I called the Dr. and they had her come in that same day. They checked her out and agreed that Absence seizures were a possibility, but an EEG would need to be done to be certain. We scheduled the EEG for early the next week. Riley had at least 5 seizures during the EEG, which was hard to watch but beneficial in getting a diagnosis. The EEG confirmed that she was having Absence Seizures.
Two weeks ago we saw her Pediatric Neurologist for the first time. He feels that her seizures are treatable with the appropriate medication. We started with a 1/2 dose and moved up to the full dose last week. So far and we haven’t had any of the side effects that can be common with the antiepileptics. She will have to have a blood test done later this month to be sure that the medication isn’t causing any liver or blood problems. Since moving to the full dose the seizures seem to be under control. We are very cautiously optimistic at this point, she is a trooper and handling all of this so well. I couldn’t be more proud of her, she is such a great kid. We are so lucky to be her parents. She has been stronger than me through the test and diagnosis process and for that she is my hero.
We’ve had to make a few minor changes. She can’t take a bath unless we are nearby, she is really starting to understand the joy of a nice warm shower. We have to be even more vigilant about helmets for biking and constant supervision while swimming, which we were before the diagnosis but we talk to her about these precautions a lot more frequently now. Since the seizures are a state of unconciousness, she doesn’t really understand that she is having them and has no memory of them after she has one. It’s been a learning experience for the whole family.
So there’s the update. Our one wish that the positive path we’re on now will continue progressing forward. We’re very lucky and she is one tough ballerina.
And in the midst of all this, she graduated from Kindergarten. Yay Riley!