Yesterday afternoon we talked about how great things have been going with Harper… less side effects from medications, more joy, better memory, increased energy, decent sleep. And my husband asked me, “Would we be good with this if it meant just the occasional major seizure?” Because these are questions we must consider when deciding on treatment options- which hard thing is the better option?
And then last night, as if to show us just what that would entail, a major seizure hit out of nowhere. She came in from playing outside, hot and sweaty and complaining of a headache, so we sat her down with a glass of water at the kitchen island. She continued to complain, and from across the room something in her voice caught my attention- and just in time.
I looked up to see her eyes fixed left and her facial muscles twitching, and I was able to get behind her for support as her body went limp on the stool. We quickly lifted her to the couch, where she started to seize… but then stopped and started talking again. “I’m sorry I made you panic, Mom.” (Cue tears.)
As I assured her she had no reason to apologize, the seizing returned, taking over her body completely. Within moments she stopped breathing, at first responding to our prompts to try to breathe, and then nothing as her oxygen levels crashed.
We administered rescue meds and called the paramedics, who arrived in record time. (Our frantic reports to the 911 dispatcher over her skin color changes and plummeting pulse ox readings prompted pretty quick action, they told us). Fortunately as we heard the sirens approaching, the rescue meds kicked in, she began vomiting, and then started breathing on her own again.
The seizure lasted seven minutes, but it felt like an eternity. Time is an elusive concept in moments of despair. As Harps regained the ability to speak, she expressed her fear… she was unable to see, didn’t know who the strangers in the room were, and wasn’t sure where she was, and my fear took the backseat as I tried to console her. Thankfully, her vitals all returned to normal and we were able to decline a hospital transport.
Once everything calmed down and everyone cleared out, she asked me to snuggle in bed, and to help her with her thoughts so she could rest… so I held her and prayed over her and read Psalms to her as she fell asleep (Psalm 23 was the “good one,” she told me).
As she slept in my arms, I wept as I realized the fear that was once again threatening to take hold in my life. The what-ifs ambushed my brain. We had come so far. It had been years since we had used rescue meds or called paramedics. That was the past, not our present.
And yet here it was again. The realization that it can all change in the blink of an eye, that one moment your kid can be running and playing and singing and dancing, and the next you can be holding her body begging her to take a breath… that none of us ever really know what the next minute holds, that life is truly but a vapor… and that a mama can only do so much to protect her baby… fear.
Oh, but God. In my dark, tear-filled night, these words… God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)
Some days it feels that the water is swelling and roaring and foaming around me, and it can be so easy to shift my eyes to the stormy swells and start sinking. But He is greater than that sea.
And some days it feels that earth has been yanked out from under my feet with no warning, and I don’t know where my next step will be… But He upholds my feet and has already mapped the path I walk.
No, I don’t know what will happen in the next year, or the next month, or next week, or even in the next hour. And yes, there are going to be moments of fear in this life. Life can be scary. But when we recognize our Refuge, our Strength, our very present Help in times of trouble, fear is a fleeting feeling, not a dwelling place.
I’m feeling extra thankful tonight that fear is not my home 💜