Diagnosis and medication

Sleep deprived EEG, Melatonin and Sodium Valproate.

It’s been a tricky week for W. Not only has he been getting used to Sodium Valproate, but he also managed to get a cold and then underwent another EEG – this time sleep deprived.

W has been exhausted this week. The increase in dosage and the occurrence of a cold, caused a normally rather polite and sensitive young boy, to mutate into a grumpy, irritable, zombie. This thankfully seemed to be short lived.

Sleep deprived EEG

We let W sleep 8 hours (he normally sleeps around 11). We turned the evening into a fun experience and hunkered down on the sofa with a massive bowl of popcorn and a family film. He loved being a ‘big boy’ and being allowed to join Mummy and Daddy for the evening.

Popcorn fiend

We woke him up around 5am to ensure he was tired by his appointment time of 2pm. We had to go to a children’s ward one hour before – to be given Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone and just aids a gentle drift into sleep.

W slept pretty quickly (this was a massive relief after our hideous sedation experience before his first MRI). The EEG wires were placed onto his head pretty quickly whilst he watched a television that had been wheeled into Neurology. He wasn’t impressed that I’d forgotten his Paw Patrol DVD. During the EEG, which lasted around an hour, they monitored electrical activity in his brain and recorded his movements. After this he was woken up (we think at this point he may have had an absence seizure-tbc) they then tested for photosensitive Epilepsy by asking him to open and close his eyes whilst a light flashed.

W took a while to get back to normal. He did however wake up pretty quickly from the Melatonin and traveled home without any fuss.

Unfortunately before bedtime he started sobbing inconsolably. It had all been a bit too much. He was very overtired and didn’t really understand. We washed the ‘sticky stuff’ off his hair, that was left over from the EEG and I cuddled him to sleep.

Distracted whilst the wires were placed on his head

The next morning our W returned. We have two weeks to wait for the results. We hope that they shed some light onto fully diagnosing his Epilepsy.

We are all looking forward to the weekend and having some time to repair,

Clare x

Diagnosis and medication

Sodium Valproate

Week 1- 4

The idea of medicating a small child (Or anyone for that matter) is a daunting one. I read all of the leaflets and researched online. It didn’t help. In fact it made the situation worse. The best thing I did was ask a ‘friend of a friend’ for advice, as her little one had also been diagnosed with Epilepsy. It was a breath of fresh air. I hope to do the same for anyone reading this.

The side effects for any medication can be vast. They can vary depending on the age and gender of the person taking it (Sodium Valproate is particularly risky if there is any chance of pregnancy -it can seriously harm an unborn baby) Everyone will have a different experience of the same brand/medicine. The side effects of Sodium Valproate are frankly scary – hair loss, liver complications, tiredness, hunger, over activity, mood and behavioral change etc. – but remember these are ‘possible’ side effects not definite ones. For us, so far, things haven’t been as bleak as the inside leaflet suggests .

Week one we started with 1ml in the morning and the same again at night. We hardly saw a change in W. There were no tonic clonic seizures, but he did have a cluster of absences. The seizures didn’t stop straight away which we expected.

Week two (2ml/1ml) and week three (2ml/2ml) is where we started to see some side effects. He was starving. I don’t mean a little bit hungry. I mean starving! We had to restock the cupboards mid week with healthy snacks. He was out eating me and then some. I watched him basically swallow a banana whole! I had visions of him turning into a little, toddler sized, bouncy ball. He also went from tired to super energetic on a couple of occasions making him rather grumpy. I do however wonder if this was a side effect at all or the fact he’s 3. In all honesty he was behaving like a toddler and nothing more dramatic than that.

Week four is where we are now (3ml/2ml). This week the hunger has slowed down. He appears tired, but not as grumpy. A couple of times his speech hasn’t been as clear as normal, but this was at night, after a long day at nursery and returned to normal after a rest.

Remember your little one will be monitored. If any unwanted side effects crop up, let your Neurologist/Epilepsy Nurse know. For us it’s going well.

I’ll update you on week five soon,

Lots of love,

Clare xx