Fun with chemistry

Welcome back to the AtwoodZoo where it’s time for a little show we like to call "Suzie’s Fun With Chemistry."

In this week’s episode of "Suzie’s Fun With Chemistry" we are weaning her off Depakote. Now Depakote has been our safety-net medicine, the one that has been there when we’ve been off and on all our previous seizure medicine favorites. As old seizure warhorses like Topamax, Neurontin, Phenobarbital, Tegretol, Zarontin, Clonopin, Keppra, Lamictal, Diastat, Valproic Acid, and many others have come and gone, Depakote has been there for us. Three sprinkles in the morning, three sprinkles in the evening. Suzie prefers them on a spoonful of applesauce if you please. Chocolate pudding is also acceptable.

All the other medicines have been in vogue for a season, but Depakote has been the pair of jeans or the little black dress of seizure meds for Suzie. Never flashy or grabbing attention – but also never going out of style.

Depakote is a medicine that does not like the spotlight. It almost always, for us anyways, worked best with a friend. Content to be the Dean Martin set-up to the Jerry Lewis punch line. It was Suzie’s Silver to the Lone Ranger, her Robin to Batman, and more often than not, her Boots to Backpack and Dora.

It was never enough to stand on its own, but always ready to stand in the gap, ever vigilant to knock back any electrical activity in Suzie’s brain that was trying to get all uppity and show up as a seizure. Or seven. or a hundred.

But now, it seems, it it time to say farewell to our faithful friend. As we transition to Lamictal as Suzie’s primary seizure med, away from a previously needed three-way cocktail, Depakote is not proving to be such a great ally.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It is still ever sturdy against seizures. It is just that the "dark side" of Depakote is rearing it’s ugly head, not held in check by Topamax or Zarontin. And so Suzie is fighting some of the weight challenges and significant heat intolerance issues that are sometimes seen by Depakote gone dark.

And so it is time to bid fair Depakote farewell. I think Billy S. said it best, "parting is such sweet sorrow."

The upside is that in the handful of days she has been weaning down on Depakote we have seen a brighter glimpse of just "who" Suzie is. Depakote, and other medicines, have always, in addition to controlling her seizures, taken away or clouded a bit of her ability to think and process information and enjoy life. And frankly, with all the brain injury, we need all the clarity we can get.

We have noticed in the last couple of days that she is much chattier and has used a couple of "bigger than normal" thoughts. That is very exciting. We love to peel back layers and see more of who Suzie is.

But in the same vein, our trusty friend is riding off into the sunset. Oh, there is a chance he’ll be back. we have had other friends leave only to circle back later. But for now we bid dear Depakote farewell. And many thanks.

And for Suzie, we are nervous about taking this step. We believe we are headed in the right direction, but it is still sweaty-palm time. And so we ask you to pray that Lamictal is able to do the work of the previous neurological neighbors, and keep those nasty seizures far, far away.

So that we can continue to see more, and learn more, about our sweet, sweet Suzie.


Posted on April 9, 2007, in Dad stuff. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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