In the middle of a belly laugh at just three months old, something strange happened to Arabella, says her mother, Ashley Garcia. Her eyes moved back and forth; she turned purple. When it happened again, she took her daughter to the urgent care center and was sent home as if nothing was unusual. But it continued happening. Following an ER visit at the local hospital in Edinburg, TX, doctors recommended Arabella for further testing. The eventual diagnosis was epilepsy.
The diagnosis ignited a long journey for Arabella and her family. Arabella’s case was complicated. She suffered from different types of seizures and, as an infant, was only allowed to be prescribed a few types of medicines.
Medicines recommended made the young and once energetic child lethargic, lacking any energy to even play. She had to abandon treatment with several medications due to side effects, and the seizures continued.
Arabella’s seizures were often severe, sending the family to the hospital repeatedly. Arabella was also transferred to other hospitals as doctors grappled with what to do.
“I sometimes felt hopeless,” said Ashley, “It was so hard to see her [Arabella] like this.”
When Other Treatments Failed
Ashley didn’t give up. She visited doctors all around Texas, read everything she could find on epilepsy and even attended an Epilepsy conference in California, where she first learned about CBD oil.
Ashley asked her pediatric neurologist about CBD oil during a medical visit to Houston, who recommended reaching out to Dr. Karen Keough at Child Neurology Consultants of Austin.
Ashley had read about the new medicine and was willing to try it. Anything for Arabella.
“Not every child responds to CBD. We see it as another tool in our toolbox of options for treating epilepsy. When it does work, like in Arabella’s case who was once a refractory epilepsy patient and now is controlled, that is the best possible outcome. I have several patients who have had this level of response, and I am looking for more like them,” said Dr. Keough.
Arabella’s mother says that until recently, her daughter couldn’t talk, walk without stumbling, or do most things that kids her age were doing. And now — Arabella is like any “typical” five-year-old. She runs around, loves playing princesses and never stops talking.
“I’m just so grateful,” says Ashley.
For November Epilepsy Awareness month, Ashley has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help support other families who may need financial support to pay for CBD oil which is still often not covered by health insurance.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin continues to explore the potential of CBD oil to treat seizures and other neurological conditions. Most recently, Dr. Karen Keough presented a poster at the 2021 Child Neurology Society Annual Conference of internal research collected about the potential of CBD and various THC levels to treat seizures. Click here to view the poster.