A Future Without Seizures
Five-year-old Nathan Kalina of Naperville will enter kindergarten this fall after spending the summer in day camp: playing games, enjoying field trips, and romping in the pool. He loves playing with action figures and acting out scenes from his favorite movies.
The scene two years ago was very different. After getting a few reports from daycare about unexplained falls, Nathan’s parents started to notice him having minor seizures. His mother, Megan, wasn’t too concerned at first; both she and her father had had childhood seizures and recovered from them without incident. Then came Nathan’s first tonic-clonic seizure (formerly known as a “grand mal” seizure), a major event involving his whole brain and body. A trip to a local emergency room for basic tests led to an electroencephalogram a few days later. All the while Nathan was having more seizures, large and small.
“We went from zero to crazy in a matter of days,” Megan said.
Medication helped some. Nathan’s father David, a teacher in the Naperville schools, devoted his summer to adjusting Nathan’s regimen. But in the fall, the seizures ramped up again. One specialist suggested a high-fat ketogenic diet, which has been shown to help some children with epilepsy — but it didn’t help Nathan. “Feeding a 4-year-old picky eater on meat, cheese and cream was hard on us and started making him sick,” Megan said.