March is always a tough month for me. It is also a very joyful month for me because it’s the month that my 2nd daughter was born. But in recent years, March is also a month I associate with epilepsy and hospital visits. Without fail for the last three years, it seems to be right around this time that we make our annual trek to the children’s hospital. I’m holding out hope that this year will be the year we miss this trip.
And so because of this, March always has me on-edge. In fact, as I write this, Cece is fast asleep on one of her sisters, feeling a little bit under the weather probably because of environmental allergies, and I’m hoping that writing will keep me from having a full blown anxiety attack...though I think I’m already in the throes of it.
After our last hospital visit about a year ago, I mentioned to my husband that I think I have PTSD from all of our medical adventures with Cece. He actually agreed with me, and I’ve been meaning to make an appointment to talk to someone about it, but motherhood...I’ll get to it later, right? By definition, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
And so, where I might just say, “Oh, it’s just allergies or a cold,” for one of my other children, my mind goes elsewhere when it comes to Cece because a cold is never just a cold and a fever is never just a fever. After doing my initial mom check - Runny nose? Fever? I then go to the next line of questioning - Staring? Body tremors? Jerking movements? Trouble breathing? All of which are signs of possible seizure activity. And when you go through this process enough times and land in a hospital for several days, it’s very easy to get triggered by a low fever.
And once I get triggered the flashbacks start, the anxiety rises, and worst-case scenarios start playing out in my head.
I had to walk away from this entry and planned to come back to it, and wouldn’t you know it, Cece had a breakthrough seizure the day after I wrote this! It’s almost like I could sense it was coming. Thankfully, it was short-lived and we didn’t have to go to the hospital. It lasted about 3 minutes, and after speaking to the on-call neurologist, we were advised to up one of her meds for a few days just to give her a little extra protection.
So, this is the part of the blog where I pivot to talk about a mother’s intuition, which I hadn’t planned to talk about!
I look back at that 24-hour event and even re-read what I had started writing, and I just shake my head. It’s amazing that as moms, we know our children so well that we just know when something is “off”. Those gut instincts that everyone talks about are real! So, I just wanted to take a moment to remind all of you fellow mamas - to always follow your gut. And actually, we can call it so many different things, right? Our gut, mother’s intuition, Holy Spirit, or our angel whispering to us. I have no doubt that these are all gifts from God.
These are the gifts that prompt us to check in on them in their room, that allow us to demand services that we know they need at school, that embolden us to tell the doctor to run that test because we just know that something is not right, that help us to discern what we say yes and no to; that tell us to go left instead of right.
She hasn’t had another seizure since that breakthrough episode (Praise God!), but she has had a different kind of breakthrough! She’s WALKING! What a comeback from that setback. The seizure happened Thursday evening and by Friday night, she was walking all over our family room. By the time we thought to record her (because we were all just watching her in disbelief), she stopped. She’s still not consistently walking on her own, but when she’s not thinking about it, she’s walking and standing all on her own! Something I’ve been praying for her to do for so long.
March is halfway through (and so is Lent), and that episode was just a reminder that our Good Friday gardens always lead to Easter Sunday resurrections. Sometimes it takes only 3 minutes, 3 days, or maybe even 3 years...but God is faithful and He never breaks His promise.