WHEN YOU’RE NEAR ME I HAVE DIFFICULTY

Cole is prone to startle triggered seizures, which had him on preventative mediation nearly from birth. There were a few childhood years where he was weaned off the phenobarbital and medication free but a few years ago he had a new kind of seizure that had him still seizing when the paramedics arrived about six minutes after our call to 911. We’d never seen him seize like this and fear got the better of us.

His neurologist put him on a new medication, Levatrice, which seemed to help prevent the seizures entirely, for a while. It seems with the onset of puberty, and the hormonal changes that come with it, as well as general growth, the seizures are back as a regular thing. The school bell, our dog barking, and, more frequently than I like, my voice, when loud, calling from another room are regular triggers for the startle seizures.

Though recently, the seizures seem to have changed somewhat, evolved. The usual manifestation of his seizures involves his body freezing, seizing, with his arms a bit twisted and his face frozen in what looks like terror, and then it’s over. Now once that phase passes, there is an addition of fluttering eyes and mouth for an extended period of a minute more.

The seizures frighten me. I know that they are largely harmless, and that he has little awareness of them occurring, although he does show signs of acknowledgment before they happen sometimes. However, I also know that there have been instances when seizures have been fatal to teens with cerebral palsy. When Cole has a bad seizure, his face goes pale and cold within seconds of its onset. It scares me but I can’t let on him to that anything’s off. I usually try to maintain continuity in whatever was happening before the seizure so when he comes out of it, he’s just where he left off.

We’re again at the point where I think we need to strategize with his neurologist to see if there’s a different medication that can help quell the seizures. I think he’s at the highest end of the recommended dosages for this medication. He’s perhaps outgrown it. I’ve hoped he’d outgrow the seizures entirely, but it seems like he’s instead growing more into them.

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