Imagine it’s two weeks before your ninth birthday and your mom (who did not have a previous history of seizures) is reading with you in your bed when she suddenly starts shaking and turning bright red. Her eyes are wide open and she doesn’t blink or speak. She is suddenly frozen in a fetal position. Eventually, red drool drips out of her mouth and as the grand finale she throws up all over your bedroom floor!
You yell out for your dad and he places an emergency phone call for help. Your mom ends up being carried off by paramedics. You don’t know where they are taking her, when she will return, or if she will be okay. You didn’t know it at the time, but you just witnessed your mom experiencing a grand mal seizure. And, the seizure led to the discovery of a brain tumor. It was a crazy time for all of us.
Once we had a handle on the situation, we began to incorporate humor, so it wouldn’t be quite so scary. For instance, it was almost Halloween, so I joked that once the tumor was removed we could use it as a Halloween decoration (our family goes all out). Of course, my son thought that was just plain gross.
In the weeks between my diagnosis and the craniotomy, I began taking anticonvulsant medication to stop the seizures and steroids to reduce the swelling caused by the tumor. It took time for me to stabilize and I had numerous smaller seizures during the weeks leading up to the craniotomy (think of a major earthquake followed by aftershocks).
During this time, my son would burst into my bedroom first thing when he returned home from school and ask, “did you have a seizure today?” Each time I responded “no” he performed the No Seizure Today Happy Dance.
(originally posted in a closed Facebook group on 11/12/2014)