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Faces of Epilepsy
Becky ElkinsBecky Elkins started out as a very “typical” child. My pregnancy and delivery were uneventful and her development was all on task. Becky’s Daddy, her big sister (Sara), and I were all thrilled and our only challenge was just adjusting to becoming a family of four…we had no idea what kind of adjustments were actually going to be ahead of us.
Life changing moments happen during even the most commonplace activities. Sara and I were getting bagels when Tony ran in with Becky with a panicked look. “Something is wrong with Becky!” he said and Sara and I saw that Becky was shaking in her little snowsuit. None of us had any clue what was wrong, but once we entered the emergency room everyone else immediately knew. We were reassured that this was just a “febrile seizure” and it was very unlikely to ever happen againnonetheless, our world as we knew it was never really the same again.
Becky’s seizures at first came with fevers/infections, then they came with colds, then they just came for really no reason at all.
At that point we knew that we had a problem on our hands. We started her first anticonvulsant with a bit of nervousness and lots of hope. As each medication failed and most medications were wrought with side affects, we continued to feel nervous, but our hopes dwindled incrementally. Along with the seizures, we eventually began to see a steady decline in Becky’s development and cognitive skills. We soon realized that seizures were just one of the many challenges of epilepsy.
When the word “intractable” became part of our vocabulary, we began to try to find other treatments.
A trip to California followed for a holistic treatment. An intercranial EEG was a failure. A Vagus Nerve Stimulator was inserted and eventually removed. Finally, a second intercranial EEG resulted in bringing back that feeling that we had for so long not allowed ourselves to experience HOPE. All of the tests showed that after 12 elusive years, Becky’s seizures were consistently coming from one little spot, and that this area was operable. The resection was done and unfortunately, it quickly became clear that it did not help our daughter at all.
It is not in my nature to say that this outcome has been an unhappy ending. The truth is that our little Becky is truly our pride and joy!!!! She is the happiest, bravest, most confident, most loving individual that I have ever come in contact with. Everyone who meets her learns incredible life lessons, and we as a family have been given an experience that has and will continue to enrich us forever.