December is always a strange month for us in the Armstrong family, but moreso since we moved to Tennessee. It’s one of the seasons where we most acutely feel the distance between us and the rest of our family. But this December brings additional strangeness:
- Lord willing, we will be taking ownership of our new home in four weeks
- We will be moving into the house shortly thereafter and out of our apartment
That’s on top of the usual stress with Christmas. But this year brings a new challenge, and a new hope, for us:
In late 2012, Emily began having seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. For the majority of the last eight years, her seizures have been kept under control with medication, with only the rarest breakthrough event.
In mid-August she had a seizure while we were on a coffee date. At the end of September it happened again and resulted in a trip to the ER because we didn’t know what was going on. Since late October, they’ve been an almost daily occurrence. At her neurologist’s request, I recorded one seizure on my phone for him to see what was going on.
“You are not having epileptic seizures,” he told Emily.
That was the end of October.
Which brings us to today, December 1. Today, Emily is checking in for a multi-day stay at the epilepsy monitoring unit at Vanderbilt in Nashville. While there she will be taken off all of her medication so they can confirm whether or not what she’s experiencing is in addition to the previous diagnosis—or if she was misdiagnosed in Canada.
Misdiagnoses are common in this particular area, with some data suggesting between 25 and 33% of epilepsy diagnoses are incorrect. But it can take years—8 to 10, sometimes longer—for that to become clear.
And honestly, that’s what we are praying for here, and are asking you to pray for as well. We want Emily to get the right treatment for whatever is going on. And of course, we want to know for certain what is going on.
December isn’t an easy month for our family. This one looks to be no different in that regard. But perhaps we will come out of it with some good news and a clear plan for treatment. We’ll see what happens.