Monday, January 9, 2012

Update Monday morning 1/9

What a difference a few days make!  Dale had an extremely unsteady weekend complete with shaking badly, needing quite a bit of assistance walking, and even falling.  Let me start at the beginning......

At the neurologist's office Thursday, he recommended that Dale start taking anti-seizure meds to control his seizures and, hopefully, prevent any more from occurring.  He was concerned that Dale might eventually have a "big" seizure or fall during a regular seizure and injure himself further.  I was (and still am, frankly) resistant to the idea of Dale having to take meds like that; I really want his seizures to just go away on their own.  However, even I have to admit that the cycle of seizures is continuing despite our efforts and that Dale is so unsteady and shaky that his brain is not allowing his body to strengthen on its own.  After a couple of rough days this weekend and a fall on Saturday, Chad is ready to try the doctor's suggestion.  (Saturday's fall:  Dale was seated in the chair in his bedroom while putting on his pants.  He simply lost his balance with one leg entrapped in the pant leg and fell off the chair.  Since Dale has not yet regained the reflex ability to catch himself mid-fall, he hit the floor pretty hard and wound up with a nasty rug burn on his face near the corner of his eye.  He looks like he got in a fight!  :-)  We told him to make up some great story to tell folks so he would sound as fierce as he looks!  Sunday:  Dale had real trouble just walking into the church building and down the aisle to our seats, both going in and coming out.  Chad considered keeping him home Sunday night, but it was Dale's turn to stand up in church because he had had a birthday, so we took him.  He did all right then.)  Chad and I talked more Sunday afternoon about my fears about the medication---I was/am seriously concerned that the side effects will not be worth any hoped-for benefits---and his hopes---he thinks Dale should at least try the medication to see if it might control the seizures and perhaps steady his limbs enough to give them time to strengthen, restoring his confidence and showing his brain that there is no need for any more seizures.  (Does any of that make sense?)  I understand what Chad is saying, but I still don't like it!  The doctor told me that the medicine he prescribed is a low-dose med without some of the worse side effects that other popular meds can produce, but I did some reading online about this medicine (Trileptal/oxcarbazepine) and its own side effects.  It really sounds like the cure is worse than the condition!  I know, I know---not all people experience these side effects, but the fact that they are possible is a source of concern to me.  Here are a few:  drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, diarrhea, rash, double vision, trouble speaking or walking, trouble with balance.  BUT.......being the meek, submissive wife that I am (yeah, right), I told Chad that I would have the prescription filled and start Dale on it.  This decision came only after a chilly weekend between my dear, long-suffering husband and myself---and a whole lot of prayer!!!  I'm telling husband deserves some kind of medal for putting up with me for eighteen years!  Surely there's some special crown in heaven for that......

Anyway, on to better and brighter things!  Dale's birthday on Friday was a roaring success.  We brought to school a half-sheet cake to cut up into small (but not too small) pieces to share with everybody because we felt that everyone would enjoy celebrating Dale's birthday this year.  Our church and school have been so supportive and loving, praying for Dale and our whole family so much and doing everything they can to help us that we wanted to invite everyone to share in our joy of celebrating a birthday that might not have happened.  Thanks be to God for the blessing of our son and for giving him the (second) chance to turn thirteen!

We invited a few of Dale's friends over after school Friday to come to his birthday party.  Our van was packed with boys Friday afternoon.  Wow, is there ever a difference with four extra young, excited, bouncing-off-the-wall boys in the house!  It made me thankful for my four girls and one boy, even if there are extra emotions running rampant at times.  The guys turned on the Kinect immediately and began taking turns (!) playing against each other with the various sports games.  Our house quickly filled with the shouting, shoving, wild antics, and general hullabaloo that always accompanies boys playing.  We set out snacks and drinks and, after an hour or so, called everyone to the table to enjoy some pizza that our wonderful friend had dropped off, followed by Dale blowing out the candles on his cake and opening his presents while I served the cake and ice cream.  All told, everybody had a great time at the party.  Dale even thanked me that night for his party, stating that it was the best one he's ever had.  (Mind you, he's only had one other official birthday party.  In our house, with five children' birthdays each year, our kids get a big party when they turn 10, 13, 16, and 18.  Every other year we celebrate with just the family.  So Dale did not really have much with which to compare this year's party!  But I'm glad he enjoyed it.)

I have to tell on myself and share a "funny" at the same time.  Wednesday night on the way home from church, Chad and I were having a discussion in the front seat.  Dale, sitting in the middle seat, couldn't help hearing our conversation and wanting to interject his opinion from time to time.  After his first unasked-for tidbit, I answered his question and then told him that I was not talking to him and asked him to be quiet.  Amanda, sitting beside him, had already tried to shush him.  Not two minutes later, he again broke in with a contribution.  At this, I turned around and said in exasperation, "Dale, shut up!"  We all laughed, some of us out of frustration and Dale because he knew he had irked me.  Chad remarked, "Two months ago, I bet you thought you would never say that to him again!"  And he was right---two months ago, we were so excited by every word that Dale managed to speak that we could not imagine telling him to hush.  But now, Dale has progressed to the point that, sometimes, we want him to stop talking.  Either he's getting on his sisters' nerves or pushing into a conversation not meant for him or giving his unvarnished and unwanted opinion!  At any rate, we are very glad Dale has regained his ability to speak and express his needs or desires; we just would rather not listen to his smart mouth at times!!!

To wrap things up, please pray for Dale during these next few days and weeks as he begins taking this new medication.  Pray that there will be no side effects or, if there have to be any, that they will be negligible.  Please pray that I will accept any side effects that may occur without judging or "I-told-you-so-ing" my husband and that I will not be looking so much for side effects that I freak out at the slightest sign of one.  Pray that Dale will adapt very well to the meds and that they will not affect his ability to move, speak, or learn.  I know God created some medicine; I know He created some people with the intelligence to create even more medications; I know He gives us doctors to help treat illnesses and problems.  Dale's neurologist said that he basically developed epilepsy as a result of his traumatic brain injury.  This medication is what the doctor believes will help Dale; my husband believes it is worth a shot; it's my job to trust and obey.  Once again, I thank God for the valuable teaching I received growing up and in Bible college that prepared me and conditioned me to obey when I am supposed to.  Now I just need to work on submitting without all the uproar beforehand!!!

Thank you to everyone who sent Dale birthday greetings.  I have been passing those along to him and sharing the jokes as well.  God bless each of you dear people who every day read these updates and pray for us.  We hold you close in our hearts.

Ecclesiastes 3:14  "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever:  nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:  and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him."


  1. I have been dealing with a bad case of vertigo since Sept. The reason I mention this is that the symptoms sound the same as Dales in the balance and falling over area. The diagnosis is simple and the treatment involves the Epely Manouver (Google it, it's very simple)
    They may have overlooked this possibility or you can try the EPELY manouver...can't hurt. It is working for me but my case is quite severe so it's taking time.

    A smart-mouthed teenager huh? What a gift!!!!

  2. OOPs...forgot the joke again!!

    What's the difference between chopped beef and pea soup?
    Everyone can chop beef, but not everyone can pea soup!

  3. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DALE! I hope 2012 is going to be a fabulous year for you.You're a teenager now and that is a very exciting milestone.
    Thrilled to read about all your progress - isn't it great to see all your hard work pay off? You have a great family and that is helping you get back to yourself. Keep it up and remind mom and dad how much you appreciate all their hard work too!

  4. Nothing like a room full of children celebrating a birthday. I'm so glad that Dale had his buddies over. I had concern that his friends would think he might too fragile or was weird or suddenly strange. How nice that Dale is accepted just as he is.
    When my children left for college, we realized that we not only missed them, but we missed their friends coming over as well. Their friends became almost like our second tier of children. Our home was suddenly too quiet. It took a while to adjust.

  5. I'm glad that Dale had a nice Birthday! As far as the seizure medicine Trileptal,this is the same one our daughter Anna took for 3 years. She had no major side effects at all, and I would not hesitate to have her start taking it again should she ever have another seizure. We were glad that it kept her seizure free until she was able to outgrow that problem.

  6. In response to your question: Does this make any sense? Yes.

    While the internet is a good general source for information, it is an unaccountable source. Give me a dollar for every time I've had to work a person through emotional pretzelhood because of Google overload and I could take your whole family out for dinner at a very fancy restaurant.

    All medications have potential side-effects. What we forget is that there are potential side-effects in not taking medication as well. When dealing with physical issues not all issues "go away" and sometimes a little wine is required for Timothy's stomach.

    It is so exciting to hear of all of the good things cleverly disguised as frustrations such as Dale's ... uh... contributions to your discussion. :-) Keep up the good work.

  7. For Dale
    Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."
    She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed.
    My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.
    I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA.
    He said they love animals very much.
    I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office.
    I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

    The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.
    I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

    She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

    I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.

    Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her, "Colonel Sanders."
    Guess where I am now...

  8. HAHAHAHAHA!!! I couldn't help myself. I posted this on my blog, giving full credit to "Paddy" and linking the reader to Dale's blog. That'll be more folks praying. Thanks Paddy for a real day brightener.

  9. Hmmmmm. Somebody is making my jokes look sick. Nonetheless, I laughed as well. I hope Dale likes it.

  10. Just a short "you go Dale" note and a hug for you Kirsten! I know when we had to put my son on medicine for his ADHD, it was REALLY hard for me. I had to put myself in HIS place and try to see how tings were becoming when he wasn't able to control his behavior and thoughts. I am a nurse, so, believe me, I know what all the side effects that are listed for medicines..the companies legally have to do that (you'll note on commercials how quickly they run through them!), but to be honest, it really is a SMALL majority that end up having side effects, and even if they do, as the patient takes it more, their system gets used to it..if not, there are OTHER meds that could help. When it comes to someone hesitating about giving their loved one medicine, I say" If they were diagnosed with diabetes, wouldn't you want them to take the medicine?", you wouldn't want them walking around with a high and unstable blood sugar, right? Think about this in relation to Dale..and at least, give it a shot. It might be one of the best things you can do to add to Dale's other therapies...Bless you for your wifely submission. <3

    Saralee from Baltimore

  11. My son suffered a brain injury in utero and has had seizure activity off and on since then. At about age 3, we started giving him Trileptal. I saw almost no side effects, other than some drowsiness for a short while after taking it. He's now almost 8, and just finished weaning off of it. He has shown no seizure activity for about a I guess my message is that it can work well with little side effects and can be temporary. I will pray for you and your family, as others prayed for us. Something that always helps me is remembering that worrying is a lack of faith...that tends to bring me up short when I fret and "future trip." Bless Dale and all of you. You guys are an inspiration.