Mitchell-Lama Mama’s Blog

an ordinary life in an extraordinary city

Jett Travolta, Seizures and Loss January 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 12:05 am
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I’m devastated to hear about the death of John Travolta’s son. : (


He’s one of the few actors that I love and always have, going back to his role in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. I had many friends who went to the high school that Welcome Back Kotter was set in. The White Castle from Saturday Night Fever was [I]my[/I] White Castle. The nightclub where they danced was the first club I ever went to. The neighborhood it was set in was my old stomping grounds. And then, of course, there’s the fact that his son died from a seizure. I feel sick. Me. Who has lived next to the rich and famous for years and never cared at all. I just spoke to my friend/neighbor who’s also my age group, from Bklyn, now here in Manhattan. She agreed on how terrible and sad this is, but warned me not to personalize this. She’s right, of course, but I’m feeling it. 


My daughter has epilepsy.  Seizures come in many forms, and can present in a multitude of ways that most people have never heard of.  Unfortunately, I now know them all, either from my experience with my daughter, or from the many friends I’ve met who either have children with epilepsy, or have it themselves.  When people hear the word epilepsy, there’s usually a face made, and then an awkward, constipated pause.  This is usually followed by a confession that their mother’s/sister’s/brother’s/niece’s/cousin’s/neighbor had szs as a child for a while, and now they’re fine.  


70% of children respond well to the first or second medicine tried, seizures are well controlled, and grow out of the seizures.  My daughter and many others fall into the other 30%.  There’s much more that isn’t known about the brain than is.  The neurologists don’t really know whether or not someone will “grow out of them.”  Sometimes they go away for a while, a period of years, and then come back. Seizures can and sometimes do cause brain damage, anti-epileptic drugs often cause hideous side effects.  There’s what I like to call neuro-crud, which is what sometimes happens between seizures, so the child/adult isn’t actively seizing, and yet part of their brain is busy with extra electrical charges.  There’re migraines.  And then there’s the little mentioned SUDEP.  Sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.  It happens.  Not often, but it happens.  The very thought scares the heck out of me, to put it mildly. 


My heart goes out to the Travolta family.


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