NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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Julia Unruh

By Jerri Unruh

How precious is life with Julia! I could never have imagined what adopting her would have been like.

            Julia (found through CHASK and adopted shortly after birth) has added so much to our lives.  She is diagnosed with Ohtahara Syndrome or Infantile Epileptic Encephalopathy. (A seizure disorder).

                Recently the ladies in our church have been studying hospitality. Julia has made it more challenging for me to have people over, or to commit to things outside of my home. But through our study, I have been reminded that hospitality comes in many styles. Providing a loving home for Julia is just one of the myriad ways we are living out the command to be hospitable.

 Jesus said...'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me. (Matt 25:40) Caring for Julia is like caring for Jesus himself! What joy!

Last fall Julia began having 3-4 hour clusters of seizures. Some adjustments were made with her meds and then they stopped! What a great three months for her and admittedly for us, too. During that time we also found a companion dog for her. Ruby is not trained to do this, but has become a wonderful little friend for Julia. She will lay with her for hours and ride on her wheelchair, too. If Julia seems agitated or uncomfortable Ruby is usually the cure. In March the seizures began again, slowly, then more often. We got to where we were giving her Valium daily at times. Finally, one night, she had to make the long trip to Spokane for emergency care and we stayed in the hospital for 6 days.

  While there we began the Ketogenic diet. I have been around NATHHAN long enough to remember families fighting the system to use this diet with their children. Amazing,  it is now available as a treatment.

One month has gone by.  Nothing incredible is happening, although the clusters of seizures are less often and not as severe. The progress is not huge, but very, very wonderful. We will persevere. While her seizures were less she made physical progress, then she lost it as the seizures increased again. It is hard to make progress when you're on a Valium-sleep a lot of your day!

We do see glimpses of hope in recovery of the progress as her seizures have lessened. Some days her eyes are bright and clear. Others days they are rolled back and absent. But in either condition, she is our beautiful little Jewel....shining bright for Jesus!