Sunday, November 20, 2011
The Beat Goes On
At this week's 18 month appointment with Sadie's pediatrician, I saw that her file had been upgraded. Most of the other kids' records are held in file folders. Sadie's records are now held in a large 5-inch three-ring binder. Luckily, we've made only a few additions to that binder recently, as the past few weeks have been relatively stable for Sadie. So we thought we'd take this opportunity to update you on what is going on with certain aspects of her life and general health.
Seizures - Seems like the logical place to start, since they (unfortunately) are such a big part of her life. Sadie is still having between 5-10 clusters of seizures a day. Mostly occurring when she is waking up. The clusters can last up to 10 minutes and vary in intensity. Relatively speaking, this is a better place than where she has been previously. We've now tried nine seizure meds (yes, nine), and have come to the conclusion that it is unlikely that we'll see significant improvement with medication changes alone. So we have been exploring surgical options. More on that to come.
Oxygen - Sadie has been off oxygen for about 2 months. (Yay!) She receives chest physical therapy (CPT) as well as an inhaled steroid (Flovent) twice a day. Chest PT is administered by tapping on her lungs with a little oxygen mask. It works to keep her lungs open and air moving freely. It's such a relief not to cart around oxygen tanks everywhere we go! We've even weaned ourselves off the pulse oximeter monitor (during the day, at least, she's still on it at night).
Eyes - Sadie's last MRI showed a growing cyst behind her right eye (the smaller eye). Her opthomologist will monitor the cyst by viewing her MRIs every 6 months. He is not terribly concerned and advised us that if it does create a problem, he can easily drain it. We did discover some good news recently with the help of Sadie's vision therapist. We now suspect that she does have some light perception in her right eye. Her therapist patched the eye with good vision and waved a light stick in front of Sadie. She promptly reached out and grabbed at it - much to our astonishment. Go Sadie!
Therapy - Sadie's therapy schedule is still going well. She is making strides with her therapies, and we've continued music therapy, and even added a massage therapist once a month! (Too bad massage therapy isn't also for mommy!) Sadie has also been using her stander during physical therapy. The stander is equipment that keeps her upright in a standing position. She stands for about two hours total every day. Because she isn't bearing weight on her own, the weight-bearing position helps for better development of her bones and joints. (The photos above show some of Sadie's activities during physical therapy (standing, sans stander) and swinging in the gym at the therapy center.)
Ketogenic Diet- Sadie has now been on the Ketogenic Diet for the past 15 months. We continue to measure out her food to the precise gram. She is taking her bottle pretty well, and we'll start to transition her onto a sippy cup soon. We've hit a stumbling block trying to get her from pureed foods to foods with a bit more texture. The high fat ratio of the Ketogenic diet has provided some challenges with transitioning to foods with more texture - there are only a few things that have such a high fat content. We're using a few recipes (such as a pancake made with her KetoCal powder, or a little bit of chicken mixed with mayo and avocado). She'll hold the chicken or pancake in her mouth, but won't chew or swallow. We're seeking out some supplemental feeding therapy from Children's Memorial to see if we can overcome this hurdle.
Sleep - Sleep is still a major challenge with Sadie. Her naps during the day rarely last longer than 20 minutes, then she is awakened with a seizure. After 18 months of not sleeping through the night, we put her on a medicine called Neurontin, which has helped slightly. She is still awakening at night with seizures, but will typically go back to sleep. Unfortunately, she rarely sleeps past 6 am. The past few nights, she's been up for the day at 4:45 am and 5:30 am respectively. We are considering hiring a night nurse to monitor her seizures at night so we can get some rest.
Surgery Update - We're still waiting on some test results requested by the doctors at Cleveland Clinic. We're planning another visit to Cleveland in the next month for a consultation with the doctors. If everything goes well, we'll likely schedule Sadie's brain surgery for the beginning of next year.
We're hoping that the upcoming Holiday season continues to proceed smoothly for Sadie. Please pray for no hospital visits or unexpected illnesses. We want to keep that medical record binder as thin as possible!