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When most people think of farms they think of cows, chickens, pigs and corn.

I didn’t grow up on that kind of farm.

We had a vegetable garden for our own consumption(and for sharing with others). But we didn’t make money off of it.

No, our cash crop was . . . . tobacco.

And I hated it.

As a teenager I’d use my save-the-world speeches to try to convince my father that what he was growing was wrong. Those speeches never worked. His ancestors raised tobacco. That’s what they did. That’s what they knew to do to earn money. You do what you have to do.

But I’d still try to talk him out of it. We were Christians after all, and Christians didn’t produce things that would be detrimental to a body. We were supposed to respect our temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

I had always hoped scientists would find some medicinal purpose for the plant.

And actually there just might be.

In my research of  frontal lobe epilepsy,my son’s form of the disease,  I found a genetically linked epilepsy that is lessened by Nicotine:

My son’s seizures are controlled by medication (Thank you, God!), but if they weren’t, I’d certainly try it, because, while tobacco, smoking, chewing or dipping are disgusting in my opinion, my son’s seizures were severe enough to make me want to give consent to trying nicotine as a treatment if traditional medicines did not work.

My son hasn’t been genetically tested for ADNFLE(Autosomal Dominant Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy) so I don’t know for sure if that is his condition but his seizures are very similar to the one in this article. I know of at least one family member in the past that died of epilepsy related complications(back in the 1950’s, I think).

I suspect there may be some family members that have been self-medicating for years without realizing it.

At his next visit to the Doctor, I will see about having him tested for the gene. It is expensive, but I think it would be good to know (for his future family).

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing nicotine as  a treatment for frontal lobe seizures. It would be a last resort for my son (and fortunately, his  seizures are controlled and he is happy to take his medicine for the rest of his life). And my father is retired now so we do not grow tobacco anymore(Another Thank you, God).

When my son was an infant, I watched him sleep. Whether he was perched on my shoulder or splayed out in his crib there was something soothing about seeing his tiny chest rise and fall with each breath.

Sleeping Baby Logan -- look at those cool bedroom slippers

Later, when he was in first grade, I watched him sleep for different reasons.

Seizures stole his restorative sleep making his body unable to fight off infection.

Baby Logan and His Big Boy Bed

The day before yesterday we got him a new bed. He had been sleeping on the old one that my husband and I “inherited” when we were married over 23 years ago.

AND it was time for a new one because at age seventeen and at over six feet tall his feet hung off the full mattress.

This morning I stood in his doorway watching him sleep on his new really big boy bed. There is still something soothing about doing that.

This is my baby today seen here with Felicia P(she’s 5’6″):

See how tall he is.

The joke in the family is that he got his height from me, his 5’3″ mother. He stole it from me, that’s why I’m not tall. But really, he did get the height gene from my side of the family. My dad is 6’2″.I love that boy

“The frontal lobes are considered our emotional control center and home to our personality.”

In 2002, at age seven, my son’s personality took a drastic change. He had always been a very quiet, well behaved child in school. His grades were excellent.

And then . . . something happened. We didn’t know what was going on with him. The teacher started sending home notes like:

“Logan had a very rough day today. He licked everything around him. .  .  He constantly bothers the other children or tries to lick them.”

This was my son, who had NEVER gotten into trouble before at school. He was too shy.

His handwriting went from this in August 2001:

to this is April 2002:

He was diagnosed with frontal lobe seizures–possibly Supplementary Motor Epilepsy. And while his seizures were controlled through medication (Thank you, Jesus and Glaxo), he never recovered the handwriting, but his personality returned to the quiet, shy person we knew him to be(at least in public–at home he has always been a wild and crazy guy who loves to make us laugh).

My son has a weird seizure disorder so I’ve  done quite a bit of research on epilepsy. In my research, I came across the Ketogenic Diet.

Some people experience seizure control using the diet–high fat/protein and low carb. And my theory is that  it works on some people  because a food sensitivity was removed from the diet.

Mystery Diagnosis aired a show about a boy who had strange “seizures”, it was finally diagnosed as celiac’s disease. His body could not tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat. The ketogenic diet would have worked in this case.

I wonder sometimes why Doctors don’t suggest food allergy/sensitivity tests more often.

Click the above link for an excellent report on frontal lobe seizures. I could not explain to others exactly what occurred when my son had his seizures–Case #3 in the report is what my son did–run for no reason with an extreme look of terror. He tried(many times) to get out of a moving car when he was in first grade just like the woman in the case. See my previous post for videos.

When I think about the Doctor who wouldn’t put him back on his anti-seizure medication in 2005, I get so angry. The Doctor questioned my parenting.  He said, “Something must have changed at home.” referring to my son’s “behavior”.

The October 3o, 2008 issue of the Wall Street Journal had an article about how springing forward to daylight savings time might be detrimental to your health. Researchers found that heart attacks increased by 6% in Sweden the day after the change to daylight savings time. Falling back an hour resulted in 5% fewer heart attacks.

I’ve always hated the time change in the Spring and loved it in the Fall. Now I know why–we need our sleep!

And I can attest to what a lack of good quality sleep can do to a child.

My son has always been a quiet, shy child. Because he was quiet and shy, he did well in school. In Kindergarden he had the highest grades in his class and of course, I was proud of him. His first grade year was going along just as well until the Spring came around. Something changed in him. His teacher started sending reports home that he was being disruptive in class. That was SO unlike my child. I had read another Wall Street Journal article that said that children who didn’t get enough sleep were more likely to be hyperactive. So I wondered if maybe he wasn’t getting enough sleep. You see, at that time, he was coughing quite a bit.

I took him to the Doctor with my concerns. The Doctor prescribed Zyrtec for allergies. His Granny has allergies, so I believed that was the problem.

One evening, after being on Zyrtec a few days, he was in bed reading from Dr. Suess. He stopped reading mid-sentence, got up and began jumping up an down on the bed with a crazed look on his face. I have never been more afraid in my life. I didn’t know what it was, but it wasn’t “right”. And I blamed Zyrtec.

I set up an appointment  with the Pediatrician. I described what happened. The Doctor performed the now familiar neurology exam and referred him to a Neurologist. The Neurologist scheduled an EEG. The first EEG was normal and I didn’t see any signs of anything odd.

The occurrences continued. I took him back to the Neurologist who suggested a sleep-deprived EEG. My husband and I, with the help of my father, worked in shifts to keep my son awake. It was a miserable night. He was having the “episodes” often.

To get the electrodes on his head, I had to get on the bed with him and hold him down, because he had two to three events while they were wiring him up.

I apologize for the poor quality of the video.

The episode looks fairly benign, I guess. But if I had continued videoing within 15 – 30 minutes he would have had another and another. He wasn’t getting a good sleep. His heart raced. His pupils dilated and as you can see he looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. And he doesn’t.  Fortunately, by the time the seizures had gotten this bad, we had put the child locks on the doors of our cars, because if he fell asleep and he had a seizure, he would try to open the door.

The teacher said he was putting everything in his mouth–dirt, grass and he threatened to eat the teacher’s hair. He would get in front of the class to read stories he’d written–completely unlike him.

The anti-seizure medication is  a miracle drug in my opinion(Thank you Glaxo) and he began sleeping through the night without the constant interruptions  after about a week on the medication. He returned back to his quiet shy self.

When my son was in 5th grade it was decided to wean off the medication–with poor results. The seizures returned and he went for another video EEG.

In the video while he is awake, the seizure doesn’t start until after he is fiddling with a piece of paper which I believe is a lead that is supposed to be on his chest to monitor his heart. Notice how his fingers move and how he pulls at the covers and swipes his nose and then ends with his hands behind his head.

The Doctor said that maybe something had “changed at home” and that was the reason behind his behavior. But the only thing that changed at home was that we were no longer giving him his medication per the Doctor’s orders. The Doctor sent him home without medication that day and I was furious.

Of course, I took him to another  Neurologist(Dr. Poplawski) who put him back on his medicine. I’m pretty cheap and I don’t want to pay for medicine if I don’t have to. But in this case I have to.

I write all this because tomorrow(Tuesday) my son goes for an EEG and a visit to his Neurologist (Unfortunately, not Dr. Poplawski who moved away to be head of Neurology at a hospital in the western part of our state)who I’m sure will suggest to take him off his medicine. I don’t want that and neither does my son.

Good thing my son doesn’t read this blog. He’d be mortified that I posted these videos.

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