These short seizures come in various types. They can be absence seizures (petit mal) during which a person loses consciousness, though not posture, for several seconds. Myoclonic seizures cause sudden, brief, muscle spasms. Drop seizures, known as atonic seizures, are dangerous because the person experiences a sudden loss of body tone and drops to the ground, which can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bodily injury.
My six-year-old son Calvin mostly suffers tonic clonic (grand mal) seizures that can last as long as three minutes. In the tonic phase he stiffens and stops breathing and during the clonic phase he convulses. I can only imagine that these repeated, uncontrolled electrical storms are frying his brain.
At least a third of children with epilepsy have seizures that are not fully controlled by medication or other treatment. My Calvin is one of them. These kids experience a worsening of developmental deficits, regression, harmful side effects from drugs and even death. The only hope our children have is to find a cure.
In honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month please share Calvin’s story with your friends, colleagues and families. It’s not hard, just do it one story at a time.
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