Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Down, Seven Thousand To Go

Nearly two years ago, my husband, Steven, stood over the gram scale and weighed out our son's first ketogenic meal.  It took an hour.  My memory may be generous.

We were eager to try the diet.  Sebastian had failed five medications, in various combinations, since he was diagnosed with epilepsy just seven months earlier.  We had already been in the hospital four days and Sebastian was still having a hard time getting started.  Frustrated and worried, we also had the unfortunate honor of being at UCLA the very last week the old hospital was in service.  The staff was great, but in anticipation of moving to the shiny new digs down the street, they had clearly given up hiding the extensive wear and tear the old place had endured.  It was all looking pretty dismal.

Our first meal was simple: chicken breast, green beans, mayonnaise, olive oil and heavy cream.  Like a television cooking competition, we were supposed to make these ingredients into palatable meal for a kid who, at two years old, already loved a wide variety of flavorful foods.  I didn't know what would be harder: precisely weighing out the meal or getting Sebastian to eat it.

This brings us to Steven, standing over the scale, slowly pouring the olive oil, drop by drop, into the heavy cream.  Yes, olive oil in heavy cream.  After four tries, it was done. Steven and I stared down at the the impossibly small serving of chicken and green beans, smothered in a distressingly large amount of mayo.  There were two salt and pepper packets from the cafeteria on the tray, appearing grossly inadequate for the task at hand.  We took a deep breath, looked at each other, and said, "One down, seven thousand to go."

Two years later, Sebastian is still on the ketogenic diet.  His seizures are largely under control.  We haven't seen a tonic seizure since he started the diet, and his other types of daily seizures are significantly reduced.  It's working.

And tonight, Sebastian had shrimp scampi.