Monday, February 21, 2011

where has the time gone???

Wow.  I can't believe it has been a month since I have blogged last.  Time really does fly by!!
My baby girl is now an 11 year old young lady.  She had a couple great birthday party's and was so happy with all the hoopla!!
She had a birthday slumber party... whew... 7 giggling girls!!! 
Present time!!!

The whole gang...

We had planned a face painter and balloon artist to come and entertain, but she cancelled the day of because her whole family had the flu... so i had to (quickly) come up with some ideas... I got tshirts and let everyone have at the paint!!!  It was a lot of fun!

Hannah's masterpiece....  :)

The next week, we had a birthday party at my parents house.  Nana gave her a very special necklace.

Cheerleader birthday cake!!!!  oh yeah!

This was a military appreciation event we went to.  I love this pic!!!

Seizures have been crazy.  We had increased her Depakote one more time and it really wasn't helping her seizures. She was still wetting herself and having her night time jerks.  So, Dr. Neuro decided to add Vimpat to her pill regime (now on Depakote, Klonipin, and Vimpat).  They gave me the titration schedule which I started a few days later.  I really dragged my feet.  I LOATHE medications changes... additions... subtractions... whatever.  It always sucks.  So, we started the titration on a Saturday.  By Monday, I could tell things were not going well.  By Tuesday, she was pretty much seizing non stop.  By Wednesday, she was still seizing and her behavior was through the roof.  It was AWFUL.  I had stopped the med and had my SOS call to the neuro office.  They called back with a new titration schedule.  We were going to stay on the med but start it again, much, much slower.  She is SOOO sensitive to med changes.  So far, so good....  She is increasing Vimpat every three days, slowly working up to therapeutic dose.  She is still having seizures.
I have been revisiting the idea of the VNS... vagus nerve stimulator.  Talking to parents whose kids have had the surgery, researching on the internet, dusting off the old epilepsy books again....  I am going to talk with Dr Neuro about it.  (I haven't addressed it with the new doc)... I am interested to see what his take on it would be.  Every single person I have talked to, seizure relief or not, has said it has improved their mood.  Their kids are not early as moody after the surgery.  hmmm... interesting.  About 50% of them have had a huge decrease in seizures.  I know it's not a cure.  I know that.  BUT, if it can give some relief, and help her mood... I am thinking that is a good thing!!!  To be continued with this topic....

I am also getting all of Hannah's documentation together to go for a consult in Chicago with Dr. Laux.  She is THE expert on Dravet Syndrome in this country.  Even though Hannah does not have the gene mutation, Dr Neuro still thinks that Hannah has Dravet.  So he really wants us to go visit her and get her opinion.  They want a lot of documents.... I am working on gettting those together, and then they will schedule her appointment.
We are also working on getting her psychological testing done.  All of her teachers really feel like she has had a lot of regression and isn't doing what she used to be doing.  I don't know.  I really think she is just having a lot more seizures that she had been.  That will look like regression.  We will see....

AND.... the arm.  Hannah's arm is continuing to heal nicely.  In January, she went from the long arm cast to a shorter cast.  Then, in February, they felt it was healed enough to switched to a brace.  It's nice because she can soak in the bathtub without anything on her arm!!!  She hasn't done that since Thanksgiving Day!!  In March, she is allowed to go without the brace; this makes mama VERY NERVOUS!!!  She still has a rod in there, afterall!!!!  The rod stays in until June.  Her arm should be completely healed by then and the rod will come out.  This will involve another surgery, but hopefully it goes much smoother than the last one....

Whew... that was quite an update....  I will try not to be absent as long next time!!!

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Beautiful Hannah...

How this journey started....

Hannah was born prematurely at 34 weeks gestation. She was a relatively healthy preemie; initially having difficulty maintaining body temperature and needing to grow. She weighed 4 pounds 9 ounces at birth. When she was four months old she began to drool, non stop. We were told the first year she was "teething." At 18 months old, we really started searching for reasons of why her shirt was always soaking wet. We saw various specialists who always sent us to another specialist, saying "everything looks okay." She spent years in oral motor/feeding therapy to help her not to drool. It wasn't until she was four years old and in preschool that we started to get some answers. Her preschool teacher commented one day that she wasn't reponding when her name was called. I took this information to her pediatrician who then orderd an EEG, "just to rule it out." Much to our shock and amazement, the results showed, she was having seizures. That is the day our journey REALLY began. Once she began taking seizure medication the drooling almost stopped completely. (She will still drool to this day when she is having seizure activity). Since then, it has been a roller coaster; countless medications and medication changes. She has never really reponded well to any medication.

About two years after she was diagnosed with epilepsy, the doctors noticed that her blood pressure was running high. After many tests, she was diagnosed with hypertension. We still are not sure why, but her cardiologist feels her blood vessels are thicker than normal.

About this same time, we also began looking into why Hannah was such a horrible sleeper. She would thrash, talk, move every which way, during her sleep. The sleep studies revealed that she has alveolar hypoventilation sydrome, which means she has too much carbon dioxide in her system when she sleeps. To help this, she wears a BI-PAP at night. This has been monumental in giving her more effective and quality of sleep.

Every day is a challenge for Hannah and our family as a whole. Blitzen has been an absolutely wonderful addition. She calms herself sometimes just by petting and loving on him. He has been trained in behavior disruptions and will sometimes be able to stop a meltdown from getting out of control.
It has been extra hard on the whole family since daddy is deployed to Iraq. He has been gone since January 09 and will gone until Jan 2010. We get to talk with him by phone and on the web cam; which is nice, but not the same!! Blitzen has helped to make his absence go just a little smoother....