It has been a year since you was taken away from us by this evil thing know as SUDEP. It doesn’t seem like it has been a year already. Everything was just rushed after you passed away. It just seemed like a dream that I relive everyday. I miss coming downstairs to your beautiful smile. Dylan you are truly missed and loved my sweet angel.
Superman finally got his new wheelchair yesterday. I am happy with it because he can be more comfortable now. Superman would like to say Happy Birthday to his big brother Dacota.
My Superman is growing up up to fast. I can’t believe how much he has changed. He is so handsome.
These are pictures of Superman from his swallow study!
They took him off the ventilator yesterday, it was hard to watch him at first because he was choking and gagging a lot. He is doing much better today. Physical therapy came today and had him sitting up on the side of the bed first time in 21 days, he was getting tired from it. So he is resting now. He did have a fever overnight. So far today he hasn’t had fever. His blood pressure was a little low overnight. Baby steps but he his headed in the right direction. The chest Xray shows some improvement on in his lungs, but he still has ways to go. He has been doing a lot of wheezing today. I have been suctioning him a lot today, it is bring a lot of the junk up from his chest. He was happy to see you balls today but he didn’t grab for them yet. I think the chest tube is to painful for him to reach.
By Jeff King
It has been about a month since I last wrote on the blog. I have been busy working and also with college. I have also been looking into getting CBD oil legalized here in Maryland. One of my older son’s Nicholas most recently introduced me to a young man who is an advocate for NORML in Maryland. His name is Chris Hartsell and he has asked Terri and I to go down to Annapolis Maryland to sit in on a legislation session concerning the legalization of medical marijuana, but more importantly the CBD oil that we are so desperately trying to get for Dylan. I informed him that I would definitely be interested in this, and that I would like to bring Dylan as well and perhaps share our story with the Governor, and the legislative committee concerning this matter. We definitely have a story to tell and we want these lawmakers to hear it.
Although we are not currently member of NORML and after having hearing some of the chapters leaders testify on video in Annapolis, I actually see why many of them are not taken seriously; however, I intend to change that. If I am asked to testify, I believe I bring a personal and heart-felt story to the message of why this plant should be legalized, and made available to patients that are suffering from different ailments. As I have mentioned before, I do not use marijuana, nor do I even drink alcohol. I am not condemning anyone for what they may do though.
I have personally witnessed a few people who were dying of cancer, and even one person, who was very near to me die of AIDS. These people were in constant pain and I watched as these diseases ate away at their bodies and left them former shells of themselves. The friend who died of AIDS couldn’t eat, or do anything, because he was in such miserable pain. He began to smoke marijuana for the last six months of his life. Through this plant, he was able to get back some normalcy to his life. He could cope better with the pain, he also could eat, because it helped him with the nausea that he would get from his AIDS meds. Ultimately, he still died, but at least he lived his last days with some sort of peace.
I have researched many children and adults who have suffered from epilepsy and other ailments. The medicines that are prescribed to them is nothing more than legal poisons that have vicious and debilitating side effects. For example Dylan has to take two different medications to try to control his seizures, yet even these two medicines combined together working in concert with his VNS still doesn’t keep these vampires at bay. I call them vampires, because these seizures, and the medications used to combat them have robbed Dylan of his quality of life. The side effects for Keppra in children include sleepiness, accidental injury, hostility, nervousness, and weakness and even suicidal thoughts! Wow so my 12 year old son may or may not have thoughts of injuring, or killing himself? That is frightening! The side effects of Vimpat which by the way shouldn’t even be prescribed to any patient under 17 years of age, but because Dylan has intractable epilepsy, where no medication seems to work, he was prescribed this medication. The side effects include dizziness, spinning sensation, drowsiness, blurred/double vision, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty walking, shakiness (tremor), headache, or memory problems. I must say, he has lost a lot of his cognitive abilities, and there are days that he cannot walk at all. We witness the tremors, so this is a great medication for people! Now I get to CBD oil, AKA, Charlotte’s Web. I have researched hundreds of cases of children and adults who suffered from uncontrollable seizures, such as Dylan has. This oil has worked miracles in all the cases I have read about. I have talked to some of the parents via email and most of them said, that they’re not even sure that their child would be alive today if it wasn’t for this oil. “CBD oil or Realm Oil) for intractable seizures in children with Dravet Syndrome. These children can suffer 40 or more seizures per day; the seizures are often prolonged in length. The oil is made a from a special strain of marijuana called “Charlotte’s Web” that has extremely low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that leads to the “high”. However, the strain has elevated levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive component that has been shown to have a number of therapeutic benefits, including those that limit seizure activity. The oil is taken in an oral liquid form, not smoked like traditional marijuana. News media has showcased several families from states that do not allow the CBD oil. These families have moved to Colorado from their home states to access the oil legally for their children who suffer from the debilitating seizures”. (http://www.drugs.com/illicit/cannabis.html). I find it hard to believe that the Governor of Maryland, who by the way I voted for, who also has cancer hasn’t considered introducing this bill into legislation. Just today, I was sent an email from my friend Chris Hartsell informing me that the Anne Arundel County Executive that I also voted for has said that he would be against any legalization of medical marijuana, or any of it derivative’s. This fool doesn’t even realize how this could help Dylan and children like him. Hell this could help thousands of ill children as well as adults. These politicians would rather get behind big pharmacy and liquor than consider really helping their contingents that he promised to help for their vote. His banner reads, “People Before Politics” What a crock of BS. Steve! I say put your money where your mouth is and do the right thing for the people of the community. By being against this you are aligning yourself with the corporate clowns, who want to continue to push their poison on the people regardless of the harm that it is doing.
Before Dylan began to take this medication, he could run and play, he could talk and sing. He was a lively and charming little boy. Now he doesn’t talk. He hardly walks. His singing is replaced by unintelligible babble. We watched as our little boy slowly and quietly faded away, and was slowly replaced by a shadow of his former self! I ask you this, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a serpent instead?” Matthew 7:10. My son can no longer ask me for a drink, or tell me he is hungry! The poison that he has had to ingest for the past 5 years has seen to that.
What parent would do whatever it takes to give their child a better quality of life? I know that me personally, I would tread through the flames of hell itself, if I thought I could find a cure for Dylan. There would be no mountain too high, nor a sea, or dessert to wide to cross. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for Dylan. This is just too important.
I am asking my friends, family, and acquaintances to please, please write, share and tell others about this important issue! I implore you! Thank you!
If you are in Maryland and can write the Governor on Dylan’s behalf, Terri and I would sure appreciate it. His email is http://governor.maryland.gov/mail/default.asp
If you’re a resident of Anne Arundel county, I am asking you to send Steve Schuh an email on Dylan’s behalf that email is Steven Schuh at email@example.com . We appreciate it.
These pics are before the Seizures and after the seizures
By Jeff King
The Real Superman Part XI
By Jeff King
Between the seizures and the meds that Dylan was on, he had regressed; mentally he was possibly 6 to perhaps 9 months in his mind. He no longer talked he would just lay around. We tried to get him up and around, but his muscles would no longer allow him to move fluidly. We were going to try a new medication trileptal. It was very promising. Right away he began to have an allergic reaction to this drug and broke out in hives. We stopped giving it to him right away and called his neurologist. He called us back and told us to continue giving it to him for the next couple of days, but we didn’t. We made another appointment with the neurologist and while we were in his office he began to argue with another neurologist that he shared an office with. It was very unprofessional and the office was full of patients. After he called us in the back to see him, he asked what we were seeing him for. Everything that we told him previously he seemed to have forgotten. We had to explain things all over again to him. He asked us are we still giving Dylan the trileptal and we told him no we stopped a few days ago! He looked at us like there was something wrong with us. I became angry and told him that I wasn’t going to keep giving Dylan the medicine after he was clearly having an allergic reaction to it. We promptly walked out of the office.
When we got home I began to search for a new Neurologist. We found one who worked out of Kennedy Krieger Institute and was a neurologist at John Hopkins University also. Dr. James Rubenstein. This guy was wonderful! He was very caring. He listened to all of our concerns. This wonderful doctor had an amazing bed-side manner reminiscent of the old time country doctors. You could see the empathy he felt towards Dylan. He didn’t look at Dylan as just another patient, one more number. No this gentleman was the real deal and he was very caring. He also answered every question or concern that we had. He took extensive notes and would ask us questions too. The other neurologist was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. I will just refer him to that name, because, I don’t want a law suit against me for deformation of character, but this other Dr. was completely terrible when it came to Dylan. We had a wonderful first meeting with Dr. Rubenstein and He said that we will continue Dylan on the Keppra and slowly wean him off the Clonazepam, because we were sure that this was making him very lethargic. We went home thinking that we have finally found the right neurologist for Dylan and we were absolutely right.
Dylan didn’t make too much progress as we slowly weaned him off the Clonazepam. He still was very lethargic, but the seizures seemed to only worsen. He was having seizures where he would go into full grand mal seizures and when he came out of them he could no longer walk, or stand. His whole right side was like he was paralyzed. These seizures really frightened us and we noted each and every one that he had. He had also had some that were so severe that we had to give him Diazepam anally to force them to stop. Then he was rushed to the hospital several times to be checked out only to have him released in a few hours. This was very emotionally draining on us.
It was around then I was researching seizures when I first heard the term intractable epilepsy, which meant epilepsy resistant to all drugs. As I was reading about this I also found an article on SUDEP, which is an acronym for Sudden Death in Epilepsy patients. This scared me half to death and I filed it away, I hadn’t wanted to share it with Terri, because, it would only make her cry. Then Unique which was the rare chromosome disorder support group started running an article on children with Idic 15 dying un-expectantly in their sleep. This brought tears to my eyes. I read about a little ten-year old boy who had went to sleep only to never awake the next morning. I didn’t want to tell Terri any of that, but little did I know, she had already read the article. Dylan would never again sleep in his own bed for fear he would have a seizure and we would not hear him. He has been sleeping in our bed ever since.
Parents shouldn’t have to fear these things, but this is the cruel hand that fate has dealt us. We could sit back and be passive victims or we could take this fight on tooth and nail being proactive and gaining as much knowledge as we could possibly gain. Dylan needed us to be the best parents that we could be and that is exactly what we were going to do! We would never give up on him! Surrender was not an option! We were only getting started on this fight and I’ll be damned if we weren’t going to do everything in our power to make sure Dylan would fight this too! (To be continued.)
The Real Superman Part X
By Jeff King
Over the next several month’s Dylan continued to have seizures he had Grand Mal, Absence, Myoclonic, Clonic, Tonic, atonic. You name it, he had it. The seizure activity was so frequent, my wife and I often wondered how long can Dylan survive like this. These dark, demonic beast had taken control over my son’s body and mind. Between the Clonazepam, and the seizures, this little boy was absolutely fried. I remember crying leave him the hell alone! After he would shake and violently convulse. I felt like Father Damien Karras in the Exorcists when Regan was convulsing and being distorted by the demon that had possessed her! I to screamed out “Take me! Come into me!” Leave him the hell alone! He doesn’t deserve this! He hasn’t done one thing to deserve this! He is an innocent child! This demon was slowly consuming my baby and I felt powerless. I couldn’t do a damn thing to help him. What a dark feeling. I felt like the Devil himself had come to dwell in our household. This sinister being that held my son hostage had made me realize that this was indeed a dire situation. I started remembering the scriptures “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Acts 19:15 I felt just like one of the Seven Sons of Sceva, because this beast didn’t know me, but it sure was very acquainted with my son and this demon wasn’t going anywhere. I remember the words that Jesus had spoken in Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” I had prayed, I had fasted I had done everything that I could possibly think of doing, but this one wasn’t going a damn place. It sure wasn’t going back to the hell that it came from, but it did bring hell with it and it was unleashing every dark power it could unto my son and all we could do is watch helplessly! “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I cried those very words. It stung my heart. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness had taken control of me and my wife. We weren’t just walking through the valley of the shadow of death we were neck deep in the mire of it!
We went back to the neurologist who now prescribed another medication that was supposed to be great for seizures. It was called Keppra and it isn’t a good drug either. Some of the side effects are horrible and Dylan was becoming more and more non-verbal so he didn’t have a voice to tell us how he was feeling, or what this poison was doing to him. Just some of the side effects were: Hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, suicidal thoughts, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness; feeling very weak or tired, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat, problems with walking or movement
Imagine your child taking a medication approved by the FDA that can cause hallucinations or suicidal thoughts and your child cannot tell you how he’s feeling? Over the first several weeks on this poison Dylan began to bruise more easily every time we turned around Dylan had a new bruise on another part of his body. This certainly wasn’t the worst of it though. Dylan became weak and very lethargic. He would simply lay on the couch and didn’t do anything. He didn’t even enjoy watching any of his cartoons anymore. The little boy who was once so happy and lively had become a shell of his former self. I cried often. As a man society seems to believe that if you cry then it is a sign of weakness. I didn’t give a damn about what society thought about me. My son who once was filled with such joy and love was now this empty being that was now impassive and cold. His beautiful voice was now gone and would never return. The singing had stopped, the laughter had stopped the joy ceased to exist. We were left with memories of a different Dylan. A Dylan that used to run and play and joke and sing and talk and laugh. These demons had robbed his very soul. Between the poisons we were pumping into his body and the seizures which still had control over him, my little boy was gone! Terri and I went through the 5 phases of grief all over again; only this time it seemed much worse.
This had an effect on the entire family. The kids stopped playing with Dylan, because, he wasn’t interested in playing or really doing anything. He would just lay around. At school he regressed and no longer did anything that he used to. The teachers let him sleep most of the time, because the seizure activity was so bad that he would seize sometimes up to fifty times a day and that was with the two medications that he was on. We now had gotten him a wheel chair, because he could no longer walk. Just a few short years ago, Dylan ran in the Special Olympics. This child couldn’t even crawl, let alone walk!
This was indeed one of the darkest times in our lives. The journey we were on had driven us across an arid desolate wilderness. There were no oasis in site and we were getting ready to climb the highest mountain facing the toughest terrain that we would have to encounter yet. If there were a light at the end of this tunnel we had not spotted it yet. We were left forsaken and alone, but we had to continue to trudge on.
The Real Superman Part VII
As a parent with a child who has special needs it is sometimes a very difficult journey. When you find out for the first time there is a process that you go through. As psychologist like to call the 5 phases of grief. At first, there is denial. You just don’t want to believe it. I liken it to losing a loved one. You just can’t believe that your child has something wrong with them. All the hopes and dreams that you had for them seem to vanish. I know that I kept playing every scenario over in my head. He wouldn’t play any sports, I could envision him playing football, or baseball, but then suddenly the reality came crashing in. Dylan would not be able to play any of those sports. As a family, we all are very sarcastic and have very dry senses of humor, but that shared sarcastic humor would be lost on him. What was also hard for me to come to grips with was Dylan and I probably wouldn’t share in those coveted father and son talks or those father and son moments that every father looks to share in with their son; those rite of passage moments wouldn’t come for us. It saddened me to think about those things. I also thought about the fact that he would never experience his first kiss, marriage, or children, or any of those things parents look forward to from their children. I was left with a feeling of despair and actually felt alone, like no one could know the depth of my despair. What a cold hard lonely feeling.
It didn’t take long before the feeling of denial and isolation turned to bitterness and anger. This was the time that I would blame my wife, myself and my God! Those were the times when anger and frustration crept in and darkened my thoughts. I asked myself, “what in the hell did I do for Dylan to turn out this way, had pissed God off, did I commit such a dark sin that this was my retribution for it?” “Maybe this was my wife’s fault, maybe something was wrong with her?” Those thoughts were soon replaced by blaming God. “It was all his fault!” I told myself. “God has caused this!” “What father would impose this sentence on one of his own children?” I continued to ask. I was angry at God and I was going to let him know just how angry I was! I felt like Job, I wanted to question him; hell I wanted him to come down in the flesh so that I could personally confront him. I would fight him man to man. I issued that very challenge to him.
The tears of sorrow that I cried, were soon followed by tears of anger and frustration. I was bitter! I was mad as hell at the world, at myself and at God and wanted everyone to know it.
I soon started trying to bargain with God, “God if you would please help my son to be able to walk and talk and understand. I will do anything.” I also thought that maybe if we only knew sooner that something was wrong with Dylan, maybe there would have been something that we could have done, or tried? I was definitely trying to bargain with God.
Then slowly depression came creeping in and I don’t know what my wife felt, but I truly felt like the weight of the world had been cast upon my shoulders. The dark abyss of despair heavily surrounded my soul and my very heart felt as if it was going to break. I began to feel sorry for myself, “How am I going to raise this child?” I stammered. “I am not worthy of this task. It will be incredibly too hard for me. I started feeling sorry for Dylan. “He is going to have such a hard life, other people will make fun of him. What are we going to do?” All these feeling of doubts begin to invade my mind and cloud my thinking. I would lie awake at night and ponder all of these questions.
Then finally a peace came over me when I saw Dylan doing his daily struggling trying to sit up, or to crawl, or to grasp a toy, or to stand. Watching him fall continuously, but never giving up. Always getting up and trying it again. He would fall, then up again. I thought, “My God I probably would have given up by now?” He didn’t. He wouldn’t. It wasn’t in him to. I was witnessing firsthand what a true fighter; a champion was made of. In a moment of selfish reflection I saw all the struggles in life that I had went through thus far, growing up in a poor neighborhood. Raised by a single mother who had to take on menial jobs to try to supplement the welfare and food stamps we received. The struggles I had to endure in the projects of Baltimore. I didn’t have a father around to teach me or to share in those father and son moments. I had to struggle to get up out of the poverty. I couldn’t quit. Failure was not an option. I had forgotten that. Dylan taught me that lesson that day. He showed me what it was like to be a warrior! I was humbled. God had used my little man to teach me such a powerful life lesson and I felt humbled that Almighty God would chose Terri and I to be the parents of this Real Life Super Hero! I had finally accepted the fact that we were chosen for such a special task. That was the day I stopped feeling sorry for myself and for Dylan and saw things for what they really were. (To be continued)