Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Since Sonzee's CDKL5 diagnosis I have always done my best to make sure that she is looked at as "Sonzee", as an individual, as a person first before the 5-character string that sits "quietly" next to her name on every document that I fill out for her.  To be honest when a doctor uses CDKL5 as their reasoning behind whatever symptom or situation we find ourselves in, it infuriates me to no end.  I have at times considered it to be an excuse, a way for them to place a "blame" on something because they probably do not have a reason themselves as to why she is enduring so much difficulty.  

While I have always felt that her medical team has always held her best interest at heart, there have been so many instances that I felt frustrated with them, thinking that they "just didn't get it".  After all, my rationale was that despite caring for her medically, how could they possibly feel the same way about her as myself and Sam.  After all, they have so many patients, they have so many other priorities, they do not have the time to figure her out.  The situations we find ourselves in with her have taken me on one huge never-ending roller coaster of emotions and it seems around this time of year I tend to have an epiphany and continue to travel on this lengthy journey of grief.

There is usually a situation that occurs that brings the epiphany to light and this year it was our trip to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  We went specifically for Gastrointestinal (GI) motility testing.  Of course, the doctors were aware of her seizures and her overall diagnosis of CDKL5, but I "strategically" did not request a neurological consult while there because I wanted us to just discuss her motility.  I did not want the "blame" to be on CDKL5, I wanted to be told something else was responsible for her situation.  I wanted to know that there was a chance that she could maybe, someday, be a bit more "typical" and tolerate food into her stomach.  Dare I say it, I wanted some "hope".

When we left Philadelphia, that is exactly what we left with, hope for the future, hope for her feeding, and hope for her to be gastrointestinally typical.  I held in my hand an extensive list of potential trials and suggestions and with uncertainty, but "hope", Sam and I walked into her Dr's office this past Friday.  We sat and discussed all of the options, we came up with "the perfect game plan", we spent a ridiculous long time asking questions and listening to what our doctor's thoughts on everything were.  These test results gave us information we never had before, a "reason" behind her issues, and simultaneously the infamous "aha moment" filled my mind as I listened to Sam's final question and heard the answer.  

"Just so we can sleep at night. (Well to be honest I have been sleeping fine), but so we can sleep at night, what these test results show is that her dysmotility was not the result of anything we did?  It was not due to us giving her steroids? It was not due to us having the g-tube placed? There was nothing we could have done to prevent this from happening?"

"No, no, nothing you could have done, this was happening regardless, even before you realized it.  This is just the result of her and the effects of CDKL5".  At that moment I realized how much Sonzee's doctor has been on our side this entire time.  It is so easy to be blind when you are living in the trenches, there is limited visibility when you live in this life.  You pick a team that will hopefully eventually help you to see through the forest.  Just as our doctor left to write out the recommendations and send us on our way I looked at Sam and asked him the question we used to never agree on.  

He went into the hallway and saw Sonzee's doctor standing by her desk and began asking her more questions, the questions that yielded the answers we needed to hear, but did not know to ask.  The answers that proved to us that our doctor was always looking out for Sonzee, but she was also supporting us on this journey.  On our quest to separate Sonzee from CDKL5 we are the ones who forgot to consider the "bigger picture".  No, CDKL5 does not define her.  Yes, despite CDKL5 she can make valuable gains.  But despite only being a 5-character string, the complications set forth from a genetic mutation such as CDKL5 create limitations that will always be present and unavoidable.  No matter what our hearts might yearn for, the specific and individual mutation makes our little bear who she is, and it is the reason she is rare, she is special, and she is HER.

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