Day 18 of Guest Blogging for TSC Awareness Month
By guest blogger Tina Carver (Eureka, California)
Please check out Tina’s blog at http://captainjacktastic.wordpress.com
Prior to April 2009, all that I knew about Tuberous Sclerosis Complex would fit on the head of an angel dancing on the head of a pin.
In other words:
Never heard of it. AT ALL.
Once I met Jack, all of that changed.
I became Jack’s stepmom in September of 2010, and shortly thereafter, his birth mother left the area, leaving us with sole custody.
Now, I have to be honest. The hardest part of Jack’s TSC had already happened. The in vitro diagnosis. The debilitating and never ending febrile seizures. The rounds and rounds of various seizure meds. The brain surgery.
That all happened BEFORE.
In the TSC community I feel a bit adrift — I get asked questions about the specifics of his disease — the types of tumors, etc– and I cannot answer them.
My life with TSC is all about moving forward and making Jack’s life the best it can be in the here and now. It is also about dealing with how the disease affects US: myself, my husband, my daughter.
Our life revolves around “what if’s”. Every plan that we have has a back up- “just in case”. We have emergency seizure meds in each of our cars, Jack’s backpack, the home. We plan and plot ANY trip to make sure we are near hospitals. My husband and I get THREE WHOLE hours a week to be adults outside the house. My daughter knows that any school function most likely means only ONE OF US will be there (respite is a harsh mistress). Tuberous Sclerosis may have had its way with Jack, but it also has the rest of us in its grip EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
But there are days……lovely days like last Sunday when all of us were in the backyard. My daughter running fully clothed through the sprinklers, much to the delight of Jack who had his favorite spot on what he calls the bouncepoline. The sky was clear and sunny. There was laughter from all. And it’s for these moments that we continue on. THAT is what makes it worth it all. We forge ahead because these moments make life worthwhile. These moments balance those tense moments in the ER, the sedation for MRIs, and the uncertainty of the future.
Now, to be honest, how Tuberous Sclerosis has had its way with Jack has NOT been kind-
Febrile seizures have left permanent damage.
There is a thick scar that crosses his scalp from brain surgery.
There are developmental delays. There are physical issues.
There are over 30 tumors in his brain.
But over the past few years we have seen progress.
We have speech and communication.
We have staid the growth of the tumors.
We have found the right cocktail of meds to keep away the seizures.
And Jackson the boy is blossoming……
SO what else can I say about this disease that I have come to know and loathe?
That it took away one boy and left us another.
One that I love just the same.
JACKSON The Poem
In my dreams
I constantly see
Your smile so bright
A mischievous grin
to match the
glint in those
with an easy
And there are
There is only a boy
- Trends in the Prevalence of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Manifestations: An Epidemiological Study of 166 Japanese Patients (plosone.org)
- Family’s anguish over rare disorder (yorkpress.co.uk)