August 18, 2008

The Remarkable SPS-SIATCW

When your child is "diagnosed" with an idiopathic illness, you can't help but wonder what might have caused it. Ever since Jade's seizures first appeared in late May, Fawn and I have been wracking our brains, looking for possible causes - and finding none.

The doctors, also wanting to find a cause, ran their normal battery of tests.

Low blood sugar? Nope.

An infection or rare disease? Not according to the spinal taps and bloodwork.

Injuries, tumors or abnormal brain structures? Not according to the MRI or CT scan.

Mineralizations in the brain? Doesn't appear to be the case.

Genetic? There's no family history of seizures and Fawn and I are pretty diverse, genetically.  But without anything else to go on, it's pretty much the only possible cause that the doctors haven't ruled out. Of course, there isn't a good way for them to test for that yet so they just call it "idiopathic".

It was comforting to know that the doctors ruled out a lot of really nasty stuff, but it's still disconcerting, as a parent, to not know the cause.  Is it something we did?  Is there something in her environment causing them?

They say that everyone has a seizure threshold; if something causes you to cross that threshold, you have a seizure. The further it's crossed, the worse they get. Some days, Jade's seizures are better and some days they're worse. She has multiple small seizures every day. Sometimes she has dozens. 

Fawn and I notice a definite increase when she's got a runny nose. Sometimes we can't explain why there's an increase or decrease.  The doctors asked us to keep a seizure log, which might be used to help detect patterns.

Every time we notice a seizure, we write it down and ask ourselves, "What might have triggered that one?"

It's like there's a little program running in the background of our parental brains, asking "Could this have something to do with it?  Could that have something to do with it?"  For lack of a better name (I tried really hard to think of a better one), I will call the program the "Subconscious Parental System for the Scanning, Identification and Analysis of Threats to a Child's Well-Being" (SPS-SIATCW).  Not to be confused with "Parent's Intuition", which only gives a parent the feeling that something is amiss, the SPS-SIATCW provides much more detail.

Every parent has as SPS-SIATCW.  It's the same system that lets a parent know that her child is dangerously ill, even if a doctor doesn't think he is.  It's the same system that lets a parent know his child is being picked on by a bully.  

It's the same system that I got to see in action one night in my teens while I was watching TV in the living room with my Mum.  Suddenly,  she leapt off the couch and declared, "Your brother and sister are up to something!"

It was done in the same manner as the TV version of a certain caped crusader when he declared, "To the Bat-Cave!"

Like Robin to my Batmum, I hopped off the recliner we jumped into the Mummobile.  After all, seeing my little brother and sister get into trouble would be a lot more fun than the garbage on the boob-tube.  

We drove off in search of them, but where were they?  They could be almost anywhere!  

Using her SPS-SIATCW, it's like my Batmum had some sort of Batmum-Beacon that showed her where her kids would be.

We found them only minutes later at a house with underaged drinkers.  For shame!  The delinquents!

(They were so busted!)

Of course, not every parent's SPS-SIATCW works quite so well as that.  Sometimes, the SPS-SIATCW spits out a possibility that bears further investigation.  Sometimes it spits out total garbage.

Mine has been spitting out a whole lot of both.

Are Jade's seizures somehow related to the increased amount of daylight?  Some seizures are caused by calcium deposits in the brain.  Is the increased sunlight causing her to produce Vitamin D that's making the calcium in her system to build up in her brain?

Are the seizures worse when the barometric pressure is high?  Is the high air pressure putting pressure on her brain?  Too much cerebro-spinal fluid and inflammations caused by menengitis can cause seizures, after all...

Is there mold or are there allergens in the house?  We paid to have the house tested for mold and allergens. The tests came up clean.

There's a breaker box in her room and a wireless router and modem in the room above her.  Are the seizures being triggered by radio waves or electro-magnetic interference?  Alas, it doesn't seem to matter whether we're at home or away - she still gets them.

A friend recommended that we eliminate cow's milk from her diet, suggesting that it can lead to ear infections that can, in turn, trigger seizures. We tried it but nothing changed.

And the SPS-SIATCW keeps chugging away...


Anonymous said...

Then there was the woman who suggested to me that Jade's epilepsy might be connected to the fact that I stopped breastfeeding her a few months before the seizures started... She's a lovely, caring woman, but? Grrrr!

Anonymous said...

Since you seriously beat out the North American average for length of breastfeeding, I think you can safely rule that out as a connection -- you gave her a great start in life. In fact, it probably explains why she's handling the whole seizure thing so well -- she knows her family is there for her and she has a strong and healthy little body to see her through.

Marian said...

I know my Batmum Beacon kicked in a few times with you as well Michael. Speeding down the Queensway maybe! I definitely bluffed you on that one!!!

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA! Nice one mom!