Monday, April 26, 2010

Ketogenic Diet-Curing Epilepsy With Food

Recently, I posted about working to heal myself of my health issues by changing my diet. You can read about that here. This is not a new concept for our family. In fact we have been doing this for years.

We have 5 children. They range in ages from 10 - 17. My oldest son has had epilepsy since he was 4 months old. Actualy diagnosis at 6 months. For the 1st 4 years we were n the medication track. We did not know there was any other option. The neurologists that we had, did not tell us of any other options,except, that when one medication became ineffective, we would need to change it or increase the dosage. And on and on it went.

That is until Feb of 1997. In that Feb, I was watching a show called 'Home and Family'. They had a family, the Abrahams family. And their son Charlie had seizures. I was astonished. I had never heard anyone discuss epilepsy before. Not outside our doctor's office. Charlie's Dad, Jim, is a movie producer. You would know him from the Airplane movies. Anyhow, when Charlie's seizures were not stopping, Jim went on a mission to help his son. And he discovered the ketogenic diet, something that has been used at John's Hoplins since the 20's. And to their amazement, the diet stopped the seizures. After medication and brain surgery could not!

Jim went on to make a 'Made for TV' movie called, First Do no Harm, starring Meryl Streep. That was why he was on that television program that day, promoting this movie. It chronicled the life of a mother trying to help her son, who finds the ketogenic diet. Of note, the movie was made for TV, for the purpose of getting the valuable information into as many hands as possible. And it worked!!!

A few days later we watched 'First Do No Harm' and were ready to jump on a plane to John's Hopkin's much like the mother portrayed in the movie. Our local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles did a profile on the 11 o'clock news about the diet, and a family that had been using it for their daughter. They also spoke with her neurologist. That night, we looked in our insurance book, and lo and behold he was listed! We called him the next day and started the process of getting our son on the diet.

Just prior to starting the diet. Our son had a series of seizures or perhaps several large seizures, throughout the night, that we did not know were happening. And in the morning I found him still seizing in and out, and unable to move on side of his body. We took him to the hospital. He had what was called a Status Epilepticus seizure ( or series of seizures) and suffered what is called Todd's paralysis following the seizures. In crisis, we had called our old neuro, and she placed him in the hospital for 3 days. Her answer, poly therapy. Dual drugs and a high dose of the current one. WE never filled those prescriptions. That was because...

The following monday, our son was admitted into a different hospital to start the ketogenic diet. Within in just a few days, his seizures were gone. And we were able to wean him off all medication. It was astonishing! Lights were turning on for him that we had never seen before! It was simply amazing to watch.

Later that year.. I had 2 more of my children begin to have seizures. And for them, instead of having to travel down the medication road, we were able to put them straight on the diet. With huge success!!! 2 years after our oldest started the diet, we had our last child. And to my horror, she began to have seizures. However, the ground work was laid. We put her on the diet, and again we had great success!

My young three children that had to go on the diet, were each able to only stay on the diet for a period of 1-3 years. They each returned to a 'regular' diet. And epilepsy has become just a speed bump in their road of life!

My oldest son however was not as fortunate. He was on the diet for 7 years. And it was always effective, as long as he complied. However, as he got older, he was choosing not to comply. And we had no choice but to remove him from the diet ( he actually did that himself, by not following it) and put him on medication. Today is still much better than it was when we started. He was having 30 seizures a day when he started the ketogenic diet, and for several years we were having them 1 every couple weeks.. stretched out to every 4 weeks. Right now we have not seen a seizure for 6 months. We went one year last year. He is still plaugued with grand mal seizures. So when they come, they are fierce. However, his life is much better today, because of the ketogenic diet.

If you have stumbled onto this site, and you have never heard of the ketogenic diet. I am not going to explain it for you here. Others have done it so well that I will send you onto them.

First, please vist our doctor's website, you will find a wealth of information there.

Also, I would like you to take the time to watch these two videos. They are from Dateline. They say 2004, they actually aired in 2003. They chronicle the jounrey of the movie producer and his son, and tells you about the diet. You will also see a tiny snipet about our family. ( should mention they say in the video 'all 4 of our children' have epilespy. Actually 4 of our 5 children have had epilepsy.

Here is part one.

And here is part two.

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