Wednesday, September 26, 2018


It's Monday night and I am finding myself in a situation I know all too well.  Around 3:30pm they transferred her from our past weeks residence of 8118 to PEMU room 8138, to get a behind the scenes look at her seizures.  I have now spent the past 4 hours hitting buttons and documenting potential activity.  The familiarity and absurdity of this life rerun catches me after the last button pressing.  She has been whimpering for 20 minutes now, almost an ironclad confirmation that the reason I hit the button was validated, I will know for certain in 12-14 hours.  As I look into her blue/green eyes they taunt me; that was stupidly the wish I made the whole time I was pregnant, "please let me have another blueish eyed baby".  I see the glossiness in her eyes as she whimpers and the emotions build behind mine. 

I don't understand.  I really do not think I ever will.  Why her?  Why me? Why us?  We should be home with her siblings, with Sam, in our house.  I should not have to be here alone during another holiday.  It hasn't even felt like one to be honest.  Since Saturday I have read more than 500 pages of a book I never would have considered opening, finished 5 magazines from cover to cover, timed airplanes taking off and landing, and studied the arrival and departure of cars from every parking lot that is within my view.  This is not my first time completing the tasks that I just listed.  In fact, I am pretty sure I have resided in each of these rooms at least one other time over the last 3.5 years and have partaken in other meaningless time eating activities.  At least I got the rooms with the bed.

My heart hurts for Sonzee in so many ways.  Another specialist now added to her list, more diagnoses added to her already lengthy compilation, and more pain.  Always pain.  Why couldn't her CDKL5 mutation give a lifetime of laughter and trouble with being too happy?  Why couldn't she just not have a CDKL5 mutation to start?  Instead we have nights of pressing buttons that result in more taunting alarms that are triggers in and of themselves, taking me back to the very first stay when she was only 4 weeks old.  I can still picture everything about that stay, as I stared at her image on the screen in the video I even saw her look the ages she has at each PEMU hospitalization, these wounds won't ever heal.  The room itself is taunting as it gives us new information but rehashes the old. 

A CDKL5 mutation for her is the gift that keeps on giving...or rather really doesn't give anything appropriate in order for her to be pain free and content.  When I think she has hit rock bottom I quickly learn there was so much further she could go, because she has hit it now.  That is until the next byproduct of having a CDKL5 mutation comes sneaking out from the depths.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thought but never said...

I should be folding the massive amounts of clean laundry sitting in the hampers; besides seeing the other kiddos, that was my 2nd reason for allowing Sam to switch "night duty with Sonzee" for tonight.  I have somehow managed to order two Shutterfly books, one 16 x 20 canvas of our most recent family photo shoot, made and stored the baby his food, ate some amazing dinner brought to us by our longest Phoenix friends (and amazing cook), answered a lot of texts, watched our 2nd oldest yank out another tooth (gross, it is always so gross) but still have not folded the dang laundry.  Instead an earlier text conversation is repeating itself in my mind.

"It must be so incredibly hard to watch your child go through this..."
The replies I wrote and erased:

Watching her seize I am honestly used to, except on occasions.
I am used to it all.
Eh, she has been in pain for so long, it doesn't even phase us anymore.

I settled with:
"It sucks :-("
I debated sugar coating my reply.  That is usually my " go to".  I try to pretend.  I do not know why, who am I actually fooling?  I settled on the middle ground, with a quick and succinct reply of "It sucks...(semi cushioned) with the sad face".  It is the truth, it does suck, and the sad face is how I have felt the majority of the time when it comes to all things Sonzee.  The reality is this is so incredibly hard.  In fact it is so beyond incredibly hard there really are no words to do any of the feelings justice, and unless you are a parent of a child with CDKL5 or some other disability or genetic mutation that results in a nonverbal child along with every potential pitfall that could possibly occur in life, then there really is nothing comparable to offer the situation to.  

I cannot even find a way to express the extreme guilt, sadness, anger, and broken heartedness I have felt since Sunday.  Before now I could not really imagine feeling worse than I already have over the past 3.5 years of her life.  These last 30ish hours have brought on an entirely new level of all of my feelings.  More than 5 people today reached out to me concerned they were the ones who potentially hurt Sonzee, they are not even related to her, so I can assure you telling me any similar phrase to "Do not be hard on yourself", is never going to make a difference.  I am her mom, I should be able to know what, how, or if ever, (and g-d forbid) who is hurting her.  The depressing reality is, I DON'T AND I REALLY DO NOT THINK I EVER WILL.

This feels like the heaviest blanket of extreme parenting failure there ever could be.  In addition is the paralyzing fear of wondering what if we cannot find an actual fix? Not a band aid, but an actual useful, ongoing, actual real permanent fix?  What if she keeps getting hurt?  What if we wait too long to bring her in?  What if we keep causing her to suffer more and more?  Doesn't she suffer enough as it is?  

So if you ever find yourself thinking "It must be so incredibly hard to watch your child go through this..." the brutal honest answer is that it is something I wish and pray for with every ounce of my being that you never have to ever learn about, think about, imagine, or experience, because no parent should ever have to experience this form of parenting and from the bottom of my heart to every parent who does..."It sucks :-(". 

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Thursday, September 13, 2018


Her alarm was going off loudly.  Her nurse was in the room with her and I was trying to get dinner on the kids plates after a long day.  I do not know why, but after 3 rings of the alarm I start to get irritated that someone couldn't just press "snooze".  I have a list of potential reasons, but I am sure I would have to really dig deeper to find the real root, and honestly it just annoys me, there really is zero harm in it continuing to sound.  Regardless I stop putting food on the plates and I walk to the room.  I don't get the door to the hallway closed behind me before I hear "It's ok, it's alright Sonzee, I am here, it's ok". 

I walk through the space between her two bedroom doors and walk next to her bed.  Nurse Teri says, "Ya, it's a seizure, we are at 1's ok Sonzee".  I bend down next to her feet, rub her ankle, and then rest my face against her foot because every once and awhile these damn seizures get the best of me and no matter that I have watched her seize over an hour between the past two days, this 1 minute causes the tears to just swell in my eyes.  I wait for a pause in nurse Teri's consolations and then say "No Sonzee, it isn't okay that you are seizing, nothing about this is ok, but nurse Teri and I are here...", then I give her a kiss and have to walk out because I don't want nurse Teri to see my face. 

I get into the hallway, close the door after walking out and take a deep breath before I walk back into the kitchen.  I manage to get the tears out of my eyes before getting back to the girls.  They know Sonzee was/is having a seizure because we are all used the alarm by now, and her oldest sister decides she wants to say how she feels bad for Sonzee because of the seizures and that she does not go to the same school as them.  I honestly do not remember what her sister replied to her with because I was in preservation mode and just wanted to do whatever I could to not face them, not hear them, and not have to talk to them.  The one skill I am still (barely) holding onto is not crying and being emotionally upset in front of them, so that was only my priority, well that and getting them fed and in bed so I could get the tears out of my system.

So here I am at 10:51pm with my YouTube music on in the background, my individual serving of cake as my dinner, and my desk looking like a toddler emptied a box of tissues for fun.  It seems that not only does Sonzee's GI system and seizure presentation follow a pattern, but my emotions share a similar cycle.  I wonder how long it will take for this history to stop repeating itself because clearly it is more than 3 years 7 months and 1 day, and I should probably ensure my Amazon subscribe and save has extra tissues next September.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A "new year"

This past Monday and Tuesday we celebrated Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year).  On Monday morning Sam and I debated whether we would be bringing Sonzee to the synagogue in order to hear the shofar (blowing of the ram's horn).  In general I am usually the one that is in favor of bringing her along to family events, while Sam tends to play devils advocate and suggest that Sonzee would much rather not walk .3 tenths of a mile in 105 degrees and sit in a loudish room, "stuck in her chair".  On most occasions she will be in pain, just have had a seizure, or present in some other manner that will make me side with Sam, but on Monday morning, I simply did not care.

Her first seizure of the morning was at 7:57am, seizure number two came a little after 9am, Sam was holding strong with his opinion, but I am more stubborn, and after all this is Rosh Hashana, SHE IS GOING WITH US.  Sam left with the older kids, and I put her baby brother for a nap while she was sleeping the seizure off.  A little after 11 her brother woke up and I was getting everything into the stroller and I told myself I was going to check her one more time to see if she was awake, and if not, I would leave her home.  G-d threw me a bone, she was just waking up, so I told her nurse to get her up because she was coming with us to synagogue, and off we went.

Seizure number three happened in the back of the synagogue, but she was there, she got to hear the shofar sound, and she received the (Cohen Gadol blessing) priestly blessing while she slept in her wheelchair.  We were going to be eating lunch at friends and we decided she and her nurse would come with us and hang out there versus going home.  It was on big seizure four of the day (within 6 hours from her first) that she was given her loading dose of keppra and snuggled on the couch with her nurse.  What a way to welcome a new year...good thing the secular calendar has another celebration in 3.5 months that we can hit refresh for.

I will admit her presence with us all day was 100% selfishly directed, but is it too much to want some normalcy?   As Sam left with the older kids yesterday, he said "see you at 11:30", I yelled back, "no you won't".  He said "You have to hear the shofar", "So does Sonzee", I retorted.  I will admit that I threw myself a toddler tantrum and refused to go to synagogue because "If Sonzee was not going, neither was I".  I was angry, to be honest, I still am.  While she had fewer seizures today, (thanks 3200mg of Keppra, VNS, and Fycompa for doing what you're designed to do?) I am still a bit bitter.  I just hope Monday is not going to indicative of what is in store for her year to come, but I suppose if it is, it isn't anything we aren't used to. 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Every so often I will open a blog post from a year earlier to see where we were on this journey and see what, if anything, has changed and if so, in what manner.  I didn't remember that in September of last year I only wrote one blog post.  It gave me a chuckle that it's title was "muddy water".  I couldn't remember based on those words what the post was about so I opened it up and was reminded that a year ago Sonzee and I traveled to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to try and figure out her GI issues.  In another "funny" coincidence I sent her GI doctor here in Phoenix an e-mail 5 hours prior to rereading the post.  I swear the days pass by but her story remains similar to the hamster on its wheel...attempting to run full speed somewhere, never getting anywhere, and ending up just completely exhausted.

It has been a month since we've met with her GI doctor.  Part of me feels like it was just yesterday, while another side of me feels like it was an eternity ago.  We have followed through with our temporary game plan, and in the mean time her seizures have returned into their usual end of summer beginning of fall nightmare.  No matter what we do now for her GI system it would not be possible to judge the outcome fairly because her seizures "dull" everything away.  It is a perpetual cycle.  A cycle that we have come to know and one I was pushing hard NOT to repeat.  I thought by pushing for care conferences beginning in Feb/March was a sure way to "outsmart" her body systems.  I should have known better, but I really thought we might actually get somewhere in my little game of beat the clock.

I lost. 
We lost.
She lost.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Sonzee's Spa

Yesterday was one of those days that was strictly driven by an excess of adrenalin.  It will certainly take some time to fully decompress.  It was a day full of abundant smiles, an overflow of happy emotions, and a couple of moments of hidden happy tears.  It was a day that you can only dream of experiencing but honestly as a parent you never actually dream of happening to your family.  Forget when the reality of it all sneaks up on you much like the situation that brought you to the same point did in the first place.  It is one thing when you tell your children to close their eyes on their birthday and "make a wish" while blowing out their candles, but when you dream up a wish that you know will bring an immense amount of joy to every remaining day of your 3.5 year old daughter's life from this point forward (no matter how many more there will be) it hits you like a ton of bricks when it comes to fruition.

The sheer magnitude of yesterday is almost too much to actually comprehend.  There is a 22,450lb aquatic training vessel sitting on a slab of concrete in our backyard.  Typing those words brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.  I did not even process that we have a child who qualified for a "Make a Wish", and now I cannot process that when I look into our backyard there is now "Sonzee's Spa".  Much like the day we were handed a packet about epilepsy and told to take our then 5.5-week-old daughter, who was still having at least 12 seizures a day while on medication, home from the hospital, Sam and I felt completely overwhelmed with the spa, the spa manual, and the chemical routine we were given.  

I wonder how it is supposed to feel when you have a "Wish Kid".  We know the reality of having a medically complex child.  Nothing has changed in a day, but oddly after yesterday it weighs a bit heavier on my shoulders.  If I am honest every day that passes by I get a little more scared about how many that means we might have left.  I choose to keep these thoughts in the recesses of my mind, yet answer honestly when asked about her prognosis by others.  I know there are different philosophies of how best to "handle" this reality, and every parent who finds him or herself in this position has their individual way they feel is best.  For me it is to acknowledge the reality but not become suffocated.  I will compare my thoughts to the brown water in Sonzee's Spa.  Yesterday the water was as dark brown as possible, but the chemicals will slowly work amazing magic and by next week our little mermaid will find herself enjoying daily swims.  The threat of the water going brown will always remain, but we will do our best to keep it as clear as possible so she can enjoy herself as much as possible.  Yesterday the reality of what it means that my child is a "Wish Kid" hit me hard, but by next week the harshness will dissipate and left behind will be the same slight nagging presence that we have felt since April of 2015.

There really is no clear way to express the thoughts going on in my mind.  We will forever be grateful to Marquis spa's, Stafford Tower Crane, Make a Wish Arizona, all of our friends and family that were present with us virtually and in person, and everyone that played a role in making Sonzee's Spa become a reality.  

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