she will overcome

A few weeks ago, Coley and I took Juniper to Dr. Luke's office. We loaded her up in the (fucking) mini-van and nervously drove across town. She sat in her car seat quietly, pliable and compliant as always. Upon arriving at the typical corporate park office building and entering a small, claustrophobic waiting room, we were greeted by the expected tech with a clipboard. Coley filled it out quickly (the woman writes faster than I can type) as I tried to entertain June with water fountains, posters and strange sounds. June may have been entertained, but I was distracted. 

Moments later, we entered a room that introduced both the comfort of space and the discomfort of difficult memories. It was twice the size of the waiting area and resembled a hospital room. My mind condensed into sharp, jagged edges. I remembered watching the seizures on June’s first EEG. I remembered all of the unsettling unknowns. I remembered standing at the foot of the steep hills in front of me. Here we were, around a year later, back for another EEG, except this time we were on a different side of discovery. Last time we were looking for seizures to give us answers, but this time we were looking for a clean scan. We needed a clean scan so badly. It would mean that she had grown out of her seizures - for now, at least.

We laid June down on a stretcher in the middle of the room and focused on trying to make her comfortable. She needed to sleep during the session to ensure seizures were not haunting her dreams. This EEG tech was quiet and focused on fine motor tasks. She applied glue to June's fine hair. Juniper expressed her disapproval with a few furled facial expressions, but was relatively still and compliant. The tech plugged the computer into her like she was a power grid. Each lead following a colorful trail from June’s brain to a small computer, and feeding lines to the connected monitor. 

Shortly after plugging June in, the tech left the room. Coley began feeding June a bottle to get her into sleep mode and I walked over to the monitor. I sat behind the hushed glow of the computer screen in a state of quite, escalating anxiety like a student studying feverishly into the night. I was looking for the familiar, harsh, serrated lines of a seizure pattern on the EEG. I was looking for the machine to jot down more turmoil for the future. I was looking for the words “rhythmic burst,” but they didn’t appear. This time, the lines were calmer and more consistent. It looked like a normal resting heart rate, as it slowly, but steadily scrolled across the screen.

About twenty minutes passed and it all remained the same until the EEG tech re-entered the room. June was awake now and she moved her eyes from side to side, always aware of her surroundings. “Just a few more tests now,” the tech said to Coley and I. She blackened the room again and began navigating with the computer mouse.

Suddenly, a lightening storm swelled just above June’s head. An updraft surged, as crystallized droplets became positively and negatively charged. Blinding lights began to flicker and flash. The room felt like the inside an old school copy machine, then the den of a death metal disco as the phosphorescence changed up pace. The lights bathed us in sparks of electrostatic discharge. It felt like Juniper was drawing in all of the energy of the world, as she lie still in front of us. 

I worried that the lights were triggering seizures. That’s what they were intended to do. The dark was all too often for me to see her physically twitching and quivering and the tech had turned the computer monitor away, so it was up to my mind to fill in the blanks. I filled them with fireworks of excessive, synchronous brain activity - worries of seizures that might be taking place in those very seconds. My little girl’s life literally flashing before my eyes. Had she been having seizures in her sleep all along? Had I failed her by not noticing?

June did not have a seizure that day. Better yet, based on the results that came from this testing, Dr. Luke believes it is possible that she may have grown out of her seizures for now. We have a plan in place to soon ween her off the Topamax and move on from there. There are no guarantees that her seizures won’t come back to haunt us all, but I’ve heard it said that there are no guarantees in life. There are no gaurantees, but all that matters is today.

Today, Juniper is seizure free.

video password = juniper