As mentioned below, earlier this week we passed the 5 year "anniversary" of the day we got the news that Jenelle had epilepsy. I wish I could have told myself back then, that today we would be seizure free, as that might have made the journey a little easier. Today Jenelle had a follow up visit with Dr. Shields at UCLA, and when they asked the date of her last seizure, I really had to think long and hard about it. Jenelle's seizure control has been exceptional, and the last time I saw her have one was maybe a month or more ago. (And I'm knocking on wood as I type that, so you should knock on wood as you read it!)
After celebrating Jenelle's new achievements, and talking UCLA football with Brett, Dr. Shields discussed some of the new behavior issues we are seeing in Jenelle. Specifically, pulling out her hair, the biting, the crying and some small signs of possible early onset of puberty. The behavior stuff is easy to fix, and we are increasing her Risperdol to match her weight increase (Jenelle is now a whooping 48 pounds!) Jenelle ran out of Risperdol a few days ago, so I didn't re-fill it as I was waiting for this appointment. I honestly didn't think it was helping until last night I found a note in her backpack from her teacher asking if we had changed any medicines. Her teacher noted that she did not see the "self control" she had seen previously in Jenelle. That advice is enough for me to agree to give it a longer try.
As for the puberty issue, we have been told that children on seizure meds can often have an early onset, anywhere between age 6 to age 9. Jenelle will be 6 in October, so Dr. Shields thinks a referral to an endocrinologist is a good idea. We aren't anywhere near discussing something like "The Ashley Treatment" (where you can surgically remove female organs to avoid puberty), and Dr. Shields said there are some advantages to consider with early onset. He told us that research has shown for every year you avoid puberty, you guarantee at least 2 inches of growth in height. So if Jenelle were to enter puberty early, it might help keep her small. Again, we are no where near making any decisions about that, but we agree it would be best to start watching it closely now.
Everything else is going great and we will go back to see Dr. Shields in March of next year. Last week, Jenelle started school in the same class as last year with the same teacher. She seems to be happier back on her normal schedule. As for an update on the molars, one has finally cut through and another is giving us some problems. Now that we know what to look for, we've been helping her chew to get them to cut easier. So far, she seems to be taking it all in stride.
Five years ago, we had no idea what the road ahead would be for our Jenelle. The same is true today, but with the love, support, prayers and positive thoughts from all of you we know we will make it through. Thank you so much for everything.
As always, I'll keep you posted.