How do I respond to the question, “How are you? How’s your son?” when the answer is not “Good”?
This is what I have been grappling with for the last few weeks.
Koji, our three-year-old, started experiencing unexplainable seizures. At first, the seizures seemed to be related to fever and occurred sporadically. However, they recently increased in frequency and have happened with no other symptoms present and at random times – during a sports program, playing at daycare, at a birthday party, waking up in the morning, while watching a movie and most terrifyingly, in the bath.
Caring for Koji
These episodes landed us in emergency more than I could have ever imagined or predicted for our otherwise healthy and active toddler. Thankfully, Koji returns to himself within an hour or so after each seizure. Nonetheless, seizures are frightening to witness and have made us increasingly aware of the fragility of life.
We are being followed by a neurologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and are presently awaiting a series of tests, including a brain MRI, to determine the cause of these convulsions. In the meantime, Koji has been put on a medication to prevent further episodes.
(No, we don’t have seizures or epilepsy in our families. Yes, I have been researching this like crazy and applying all my knowledge as an ayurvedic practitioner, even though it feels like this is way beyond my scope. Yes, I know about CBD oil and have heard about the benefits of the keto diet on epilepsy. We just aren’t ready for all of this yet.)
Being on alert all the time
I have put almost all of my business on hold and been absent from social media for months. Instead, I have been on call, on high alert 24/7, never more than a couple of metres from Koji and/or my phone. There isn’t much room in my head for much else, but I am harnessing the courage to tell you what we’re going through.
Writing this is hard. Still, as a writer and teacher, I feel it is important to communicate both the wisdom and struggle, and also explain why I have been MIA for the last while. Still, expressing the pain of seeing my kid convulse and struggle for air and the stress I am feeling is challenging.
To be honest, I have felt like an anxious wreck and I feel like I am grasping to the wisdom of Ayurveda, meditation and yoga with some difficulty, and judging myself fiercely for feeling aggravated and overwhelmed by benign questions like, “How are you? How’s your son?”
I want to be honest. I want to say that I am in the middle of a storm and I have feelings of fear, grief, worry and overwhelm, but that I also feel hope, trust and deep unshakeable love for my kid, and huge compassion for all children and families that experience health issues.
Friends, Family & growth
What a thing to go through. It’s tough on the whole family. The stress doesn’t usually bring out the best in us either as it seems to irritate/ inflame lots of old wounds. Still, our family and friends have shown us great support during this time by bringing us groceries, lasagnas, diapers and sharing resources, even links to playlists to help us relax.
I also know, under all the chaos, that this experience is a gift. A challenge, perfectly engineered to make me, make us stronger, more fierce. I suspect this is also an opportunity for me to heal old wounds by exposing the truth that life is about transformation and growth under fire.
Given all this, I suppose the answer to the question “How are you?” is actually something not far from: “I am good. I am growing and we are well.”
This is our affirmation and prayer. If you feel inclined to offer your support, please join us by affirming these words:
May Koji have the best care. May we soon know the root cause of his seizures and may he be 100% healed and fully recovered.
May all children know happiness, health, love and wellbeing.
May all families have happiness, health, love, support and peace.
Although I have put most of my business on hold for now, there is one important exception: my annual Into the Light Yoga Groove event and fundraiser for Dans la Rue, an organization that advocates and supports homeless youth in Montreal. It’s on Dec. 21 at my studio Loft108. It would be amazing to have you join us.