Wednesday, May 30, 2018

But then...

More times than I care to recount in the past 3 years I have made a "prayer request" post for one of our CDKL5 siblings or their family as they were in the hospital, on hospice, or already passed.  The topic no one wants to openly discuss but that every parent who has a child with CDKL5 tucks into the recesses of their mind.  Maybe we can rationalize that these posts are rare.  Maybe we can pretend that because there are much older children who are diagnosed with CDKL5, this won't "happen to us".  Maybe, because this time it wasn't us, we can pray for a multitude of reasons and go back to our reality.  Maybe when we wake up the post will have been a "false alarm" and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

While there is a numbness that begins to creep into your body after making so many of these types of posts and losing so many of our beautiful children, there are always pieces of your heart that will never be put back together.  A portion that breaks because this child has been "adopted" into your family, and you have most likely been following his or her journey and witnessed his or her struggles and accomplishments along the way.  A portion that breaks because you have most likely stood in this position before with another family and you have an idea of how this is going to unfold and you know a parent is about to part of the group that you still cannot understand even exists and never want any part of.

While your heart is broken for this family, the reality is that your heart is also broken for yourself.  You cannot possibly imagine your child's journey following in the same manner, even if you could imagine it, you do not ever want to.  You cannot fathom how this family is going to make it through this, because it is incomprehensible how you would.  Other families will tell you that you cannot dwell on it, that you cannot live life fearful of this occurring, to an extent I think that is accurate, but then the reality sets in.

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Monday, May 28, 2018


Yesterday was Sonzee's 5-year-old sister's birthday celebration.  It was a planned "girls only" party.  8 girls including the birthday girl were going to spend the morning getting their hair, nails, and makeup done.  My heart yearned for an inclusive experience for Sonzee.  I was apprehensive from the time of booking how this would play out, but I knew it was out of my hands.  I have learned to set the standards high for Sonzee, but to keep my expectations low to protect myself from the potential pain that comes with the "special needs life disappointment".  So, when we arrived at the facility and the girls began to rotate into their respective stations I continuously mentioned that we would try Sonzee, but that it was okay if it did not work out.  I yearned for her to take part without it being stressful for her, without her being upset, and without me wishing the outcome had turned out differently.  

Finally, it was her turn.  I was nervous about how the staffing girls doing hair, makeup, and nails would react to her continuous body movements.  It did require Sonzee's sister and myself to hold her hands and feet to get her nails done due to her kicking her feet around and her desire to want to eat her fingers throughout, but once she realized she was being pampered she settled right down and only got a little nail polish on her shorts and inner thigh.  She did not argue one time while the girl put gel in or combed her hair, or spent time doing a french braid side pony tail.  She loved the glitter shower at the end.  I helped make a beaded necklace with her, to be honest she was not overly thrilled (but those beads are tiny, and I honestly do not care for the patience it takes either).  She danced with her sister, and it brought me such an immense amount of joy watching her be included.  The staff included her, the girls included her, her sisters included her.  My heart was not prepared for the amazingness that occurred.

Lately things have not been the best.  We try to focus on the positive, but the weight of CDKL5 has been increasingly heavy over here.  There is the false sense of security because things have been going okay with the big picture, but the little things are what make the floor fall out from under us in an instant.  When will that happen?  The uncertainty of everything remains only a small thought away, and it takes a toll the further into this journey we travel.  It is easy to get caught up in that ball of yarn.  Yesterday while celebrating the past 5 amazing years I was reminded about happiness and joy.  I was reminded that life passes by in an instant and it will not be slowing down.  I was reminded about Sonzee-stones, simplicity, and the little things.  I was reminded that there is nothing I can do about the future, nothing I can do to fix the past, and that I need to be present in the now.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Image result for quotes about it being one of those weeks

It is 1:29am, the house is quiet except for the washing machine and dryer that are spinning in the background, and my headphones playing music that takes me back to my high school and college years.  The lump in my throat keeps trying to bring itself to the surface and I feel the tears in my eyes trying to break free.  I am honestly not in the mood, so I will force a quick swallow and give a fast blink.   Sonzee's "obvious seizure" seizure freedom came to an end today.  As odd as this will sound, we are thankful.  She has not been herself with them gone.  She has spent the better part of the past week crying, whining, chewing her hands and vocalizing her discomforts.  Pain medication has been her only reprieve and we honestly have no idea what we have been treating.  With the return of a new type of seizure also brought her some much needed calmness, and me some much needed steps toward sanity.

There will never be any winning when it comes to this life of hers missing a healthy CDKL5 gene.  Seizures, no seizures, it all sucks.  I am unfazed by this portion of the journey at this point, completely used to it and out of the umph to convince myself that things will ever significantly change at this point.  I keep wondering how we ended up with this as our path to walk, trying not to question why we were the ones chosen to deal with what continues to feel an insurmountable challenge.  I keep wondering when our reprieve will come, when we will be thrown a bone, because it seems more challenges just continue to get sent our way.  It leaves me wondering what am I doing wrong?  What is it I still need to learn?

Tomorrow our middle girl turns five.  I often wonder what things would look like had we stopped having kids after we had her.  Where would our lives be?  How would her and her older brother and sister's lives look like.  It is hard to believe that had we never had Sonzee or her younger brother our youngest would be five years old.  Things would be vastly different.  While it would be easy to say that things could have been easier, that we would not have any challenges, I do not know if I truly believe that.  Having had Sonzee I have always wondered if she took on the task of a challenging life to spare something horrible happening to one of her siblings.

As the years have gone by.  As Sam and I have been given different experiences on our parenting journey some have been more difficult than others.  Each one has impacted us in different ways, and thankfully made us stronger individually and as a unit.  We do not have the answers, we have no idea where this path is leading, or what the story will look like at the end.  What I can say with certainty is that it definitely has not gotten easier, it most likely will not, but I suppose have been gaining the correct tools along the way and each time something new is thrown our way, we are getting better at handling it.  

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Playing the part

I often find myself wondering why people are "chosen" to live the lives they are specifically given.  I like to equate it to casting actors in a movie.  The majority of the time I find myself saying "no one else could have done that role as perfectly, the casting director did a fantastic job".  Occasionally, there are those movies that might have been a bigger success or at least turned out a bit differently had another person been given the part.  However, there is nothing that can be done after the roles are assigned and the movie is created. In all fairness, it is difficult to see how good or bad the movie will be until it all comes together and at that point the actors did their bests, the movie is what it is, and there is no going back to the drawing board.

The thing about casting is that it is highly subjective.  For whatever reason the specific actor was picked and not everyone might agree with that choice.  I find myself wondering if the actor selected always feels that it was the best choice.  Maybe someone else urged them to try out.  Maybe they went for it on a whim.  Maybe they did not really feel they would get it.  Maybe in the end they did not actually want to be that character.  Yet here they are given a specific opportunity to represent this character.  They have to now give it their all and put their best foot forward.  They have to become one with this character as if they have always been this person.  They have to own their role.  For better or worse this is what it is.  There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. 

This week especially this has been on my mind.  I have been cast into the position I have been for literally G-d only knows why.  Despite my hefty desire to shout up at the sky and say "what are you doing?", "why is it I can handle this?", and "how is this even possible?" I am playing this part because it is mine.  I didn't realize I had been auditioning and I am sure someone else can do this entirely better.  I have no idea in what direction this movie is going, or what the end will look like.  All I know is that this was given to me for a specific reason and like I have been doing since April 2015, I will just keep having to fake it until I make it.

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Monday, May 14, 2018


"You can't change the outcome, but you will never get the time back"-Raquel Schnitzer

There have been a lot of different things going on lately, none of which I have any control over, and  naturally that sends my brain into a tailspin.  The fear of the unknown tends to paralyze me in a way that makes me over analyze and panic about every little thing.  No matter what I do it is nearly impossible for me to stay focused in the moment and actually be present because I am dreading what might be.  I dislike the feeling immensely, but also have found it an insurmountable task to focus on anything but, until yesterday.

Yesterday was mother's day.  A day that I have been honoring for myself since 2010 when our first daughter was born.  So much has happened to make me the mom that I currently am over these past 8 years.  Yesterday standing outside a Starbucks after painting pottery Sam took this picture.

Image may contain: 6 people, including Randi Zaila, people smiling, people sitting

I studied this picture over and over, and the quote above struck me like a lightning bolt.  Whatever "big picture" outcome is going to unfold in the lives of my children or myself I will never have a say.  As hard a pill that is to swallow, I cannot do anything about it.  I can assist with the twists and turns, but if I spend all my time and energy worrying about where the roads will lead I am going to miss the entire point and joy of this life.  Eventually the answers to all the questions will be given.  They may or may not be the ones I want, but in the end, what will matter is what we all did together and the fun times we had in the process.  

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Handling it...

It has been a year and 3 days since this post was written.  I was around 2.5 months pregnant and too afraid to talk about it, for so many reasons.  I had lost the pregnancy before, we were debating on what, if any prenatal testing we would be doing, and I was so afraid of people who knew our situation with Sonzee judging our decision to have another child.  While the odds of having another child with CDKL5 are extremely rare, especially since neither Sam nor I have a mutated CDKL5 gene, we have 3 other children without a mutated CDKL5 gene, and because Sonzee's mutation is de novo, we were not really concerned that our next child would have the same mutation, but what about something else?  I distinctly remember carefully choosing the closing sentences of that post because I was trying to believe this to be the case.
I do believe everything will be the way it is meant to be, but no, I do not always feel things will always be fine.  I do however believe no matter what it is, you will be able to handle it.
 Here I sit a year and 3 days later wondering if I am "handling it".  Part of me feels like a completely unraveled ball of yarn.  I feel the lowest in my belief of "everything being fine", in having faith that this, our life, is what "is meant to be", and that I am actually able to handle everything being thrown my way.  I do not recall a point in my life that I have been so afraid of what new piece of information I will be given.  When everything "works itself out", will it be what my both my heart and brain want and need?  I do not feel special because I was "chosen to handle" the situations I have been given.  I know it takes a much higher level of person to feel blessed and chosen to be fighting certain battles, and to be honest, I am just not there. 

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018


We woke up this morning to a gloomy sky and then some morning rain.  I love that the high today will be 74, which beats the 104 it is supposed to get to over the weekend.  Sonzee was up early this morning whimpering and uncomfortable.  She has been back at this routine for more than couple of days now. The catch 22 of her body ridding itself of Onfi is the fact that she is either more aware of her discomforts or now able to express them.  On the one hand it is so disheartening, but on the other, at least she can communicate with us.  Sadly, it does not put her in a much better position because we are still at a loss on how to help her.

It had been so long since she was in routine apparent discomfort, we were not sure why she stopped complaining, so we let it go.  We were fighting bigger battles trying to get her seizures under some sort of control, which continues to seem pointless, but it gives me something to do.  The seizures I know are an endless battle, the GI issues I feel should have some sort of resolve, yet the hamster wheel continues to spin, and we continue to get nowhere.  It is difficult to decipher if the seizures are causing the GI issues or vice versa, the two are so closely intertwined, we are playing another version of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" and nothing we try seems to help either.

I feel like Sonzee's challenges are like the rain we had this morning, and weather in general.  They come down hard and unforgiving for a period and then they slowly get worked on, but not completely because there will be sprinkles for some time after.  Then eventually the skies will clear, and the sun will shine brightly, and we will enjoy those days for however long they last.  But the rain will become more frequent until monsoon season is in full force and we will do our best to stay dry.

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