I am a mom to two beautiful girls, Melanie who is 17 and about to graduate high school and Allison, who is finishing her freshman year of high school. I have worked for 20 years at the Erie County SPCA outside of Buffalo,NY as a Veterinary Technician and more recently as the Canine Behavior and Training Supervisor. My husband, Jim, is in Marketing and Communications.
My daughter, Allison, had a perinatal stroke after a long, difficult labor, improper positioning, doctor tried to turn her, finally did a C-section. She seemed fine, APGARs were normal, and my husband held her while I was in recovery. By the time we got me to my room we were met by a Neonatologist who informed us that Allison had stopped breathing several times in the recovery nursery and had been transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. CTscan and MRI were done revealing that our baby had suffered a right middle cerebral arterial clot and subarachnoid bleed. We had a wonderful Developmental Pediatrician who, based on the MRI, was able to tell us exactly what to expect :Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy and she was right on the mark. Amazing!
Allison started having seizures when she was 3 and we spent a couple of years trying different anticonvulsants and combinations of anticonvulsants without success. Allison's problem wasn't frequency of seizures, she had 1-2/month, but when she had them they lasted 45 minutes or more and we had to use Diastat (rectal Valium) to stop them at home and made several trips to the ER. Her seizures were Complex Partial, sometimes with loss of consciousness. Our local Neurologist referred us to the Cleveland Clinic and we spent her first week in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit to determine that she was a perfect candidate for the surgery as her seizures originated from the scarring in her right hemisphere. I was scared. We spent another year trying more anticonvulsants before deciding that the best chance for a normal life and independence for Allison was a Functional Hemispherectomy.
Allison was 7 and in first grade when she had her surgery in 1/2004. She has been seizure free ever since.
Today, Allison is a happy, healthy, 15 year old in a typical classroom with an IQ within the average range. She struggles a bit with Science and Social Studies as these tend to be subjects that require memorizing a lot of facts and she has trouble identifying main ideas from details. She is an avid reader and is doing great at her Foreign Language studies. Math has proven to be difficult as well and we enlisted a private tutor at home for several years. She currently receives Vision Therapy, not for quality of vision but to help her "see" everything on a page with the total left peripheral visual field loss and to process what she is seeing and learning via language and visual components. Allison has participated in Ice Skating and Horseback riding and accompanies me to the gym 2-3 times a week. Socially, well, she is a 15 year old girl with body image issues more relevant than your typical 15 year old girl, but she has friends in school and seems to handle any attention that has come her way due to her "hemi posturing" very well.