Friday, July 11, 2008


One of the things I worry about the most is the toll epilepsy takes on my Keto Kid's siblings. My other two children are boys - 8 & 10 yrs old. Simply put, I want their lives to have some semblance of normalcy. For several years ambulances, emergency medical care, leaving stores & movie theaters, canceled play dates, shuffling them to neighbors as we're rushing to the hospital - was routine. Actually the routine always began the same way.......Noah breaks into a seizure, Griff grabs my cell phone & calls Dad, Isaac watches the clock & I hold Noah while suctioning his saliva out to prevent suffocation. My boys have been part of this routine since they were 4 & 6 yrs old. I'm incredibly proud of them.

The Ketogenic Diet has not only given Noah his life back but it has also given Griff & Isaac lives more similar to their friends' lives. Not every aspect of epilepsy is negative. Because of their experiences with Noah, my older boys are incredibly compassionate and unafraid of befriending other children with special needs too. This past year, I watched Isaac become a friend to a boy with Down's Syndrome at school. It was an honest friendship, sweet & caring. Griffin also had a sweet friend with a genetic disease that passed away during 2nd grade. Griff earned his "wheelchair" driver's license at school and pushed Kieran around everywhere. Just before Kieran passed away, the two did a Science Fair project together. Kieran was never able to talk but Kieran touched Griff's life and Griff touched Kieran's life too.

I believe our children were sent to us prepared for the challenges that face our family. All three have faced epilepsy with strength and understanding. The Diet doesn't just affect Noah - it affects all of us. Here are my suggestions for helping your other children cope (I'm just a Mom - not a psychologist - so I'm not an expert).........

1. Make sure to take one-on-one time with your other children. We have Mommy-Isaac or Mommy-Griff dates. Dad also takes time with each kid for a one-on-one every few months.

2. Trust them to help with the epilepsy. They can and will do it and will be stronger, more compassionate people because of it.

3. Provide ways for them to help your Keto Kid with his/her meals. Create opportunities that allow them to connect to their sibling through the Diet.

4. Kitchen Opened - Kitchen Closed: Talk to each child about their goals (if they are old enough). Explain to them about proper eating and how it will help them reach their own goals. Face it, we all should be "eating for a purpose." We should all be on special diets. (Some more stringent than others) I love the Ketogenic Diet for this reason: It has shown me, in a very real way, that food affects our brains and bodies - positively & negatively. Use this knowledge to help all of your children and not just your Keto Kid. My kitchen is not for grazing, it's open at specific times to support the nutritional needs of my family & then it closes.

5. Food is not the foundation of your family!!! Make meal time about the relationships not about the food you're eating. Talk, laugh & enjoy the company of your family including your keto kid.

6. Tell the siblings how much you appreciate their help and how much you admire them for the compassion and love they show to their epileptic sibling. It takes a special kid to be a sibling to a special needs child.

A special conversation happened in our home a few months ago. The older boys asked if we were going to have any more kids. I said "Well, what if we had another child and that baby had seizures too?"

"That's okay Mom. Heavenly Father knows we're good at handling epilepsy! It would be great."

Isn't that wild? What an answer!! It blew me away. I think we're done having kids anyway but their answer was a "tender mercy" from God. It took away that nagging worry of - "Will my other children be OK or is this epilepsy burden to heavy for them to bear?

Just some thoughts.....hope they help.
Love my Keto Kid. Love ALL my Kids!!


marina said...

what a great post! thanks for the encouragement Kathy!


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