- My son was identified with epilepsy when he was a child.
- At 18 months outdated, he was having 80 seizures a day.
- He was admitted to the hospital to decide if a keto eating regimen would assist cut back his seizures.
In 2000, when my son was 18 months outdated, the uncommon type of epilepsy he’d been identified with simply after his first birthday grew uncontrolled.
Anticonvulsants did not contact the each day string of benign-looking head nods he’d been having; some days we would depend up to 80 seizures.
If we could not get these seizures — or infantile spasms — below management, our son might find yourself with an mental incapacity and probably lifelong uncontrolled seizures, in accordance to his physician.
Desperate, I turned to one thing I’d examine: that the ketogenic eating regimen may also help control seizures in kids. Research has discovered that about half of youngsters with epilepsy who go on a keto diet see a 50% reduction in their seizures, and 10 to 20% of children’ seizures have been diminished by 90% or extra. Outside of treating epilepsy seizures, medical doctors do not recommend the keto eating regimen for kids and teenagers.
I consulted with Judy Tomer, a dietitian who headed the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital’s ketogenic eating regimen staff. The eating regimen would not be straightforward, she warned me. Keto youngsters have to enter and preserve a excessive diploma of ketosis, the state that causes the physique to produce ketones, that are thought to be answerable for seizure management, she mentioned.
Controlling seizures utilizing the keto eating regimen
My son would eat about 800 energy a day, Tomer informed me, most of them fats; the remaining a good mixture of protein and carbohydrates.
A pattern breakfast may encompass a tiny portion of a carbohydrate. For my son’s calorie degree, she famous, that might be 3 grams, the equal of a big grape. He might have an equal quantity of protein — perhaps a strip of fried bacon. The remainder of the meal would have to be fats, a small portion of which might come from the bacon.
My husband and I agreed that we wanted to give this a attempt. Initiation would start with a hospital keep for our son, the place he could be step by step launched to the excessive fats ranges the eating regimen requires, and his blood-sugar degree could be carefully monitored.
Before leaving for the hospital, I stocked up on the instruments Tomer informed me we would want for the eating regimen. I purchased a digital gram scale, a brand new set of measuring cups, and new measuring spoons. I cleaned our pantry of its common toddler fare — Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, saltines, chocolate chips, graham crackers, and bananas.
It was laborious, but it labored
After our son was admitted to the hospital, there have been educating periods with the dietitian and her workers. They believed he would enter robust ketosis, as measured by blood ketones, by the third day of his keep. I used a pocket book and calculator for these periods: It was important that we execute the eating regimen appropriately — errors might endanger our son’s well being and restrict the eating regimen’s efficacy.
The eating regimen was grueling. After three days on the hospital, we have been again at house. A typical morning included doling out three blueberries on his high-chair tray — which he pinched and downed feverishly, one proper after one other. I’d weigh a strip of cooked bacon and hand it to him, then report it in my pocket book. Then, to make up the fats allowance, I’d fill a drugs spoon with olive oil and sugar-free Kool-Aid, capping it with my thumb and shaking it vigorously to droop the oil and masks its style. I’d maintain my palm on his brow to tilt it again so he’d swallow the oil as an alternative of spitting it again onto the high-chair tray, whose white plastic sheen had already been dulled by smudges of bacon grease.
There have been no unplanned excursions. A tenting journey with household that summer time was fraught — a cousin shut to our son’s age would run up clutching a bag of Doritos, brushing the tacky mud from his chubby fingers. I’d been hovering, and I swept in simply in time, grabbed my son’s hand, led him to a close-by swing set, and gave him a can of eating regimen soda with a colourful flexible straw as a peace providing.
Although it was excruciating, my son stayed on the keto eating regimen for over a yr. It was working, a minimum of partially. He nonetheless had each day seizures, but we would depend 5 or 10, not 80.
When his neurologist steered that it was time to attempt a extra aggressive remedy to attempt to get to no seizures and no unwanted effects, we agreed. Driving house from that appointment, we made our first cease at a McDonald’s drive-thru, my son’s face crinkling with contentment as he jammed two or three fries at a time into his mouth, clearly happy by the crispy, salty, carb-y snack.
While most individuals with epilepsy shouldn’t have mental disabilities, the years of uncontrolled seizures took a toll on my son’s mind — but his life is something but a tragedy.