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An Unexpected Health Journey

Paige's story

March 2012

Tina Anderson was bending down to kiss her six-year-old daughter, Paige, when she noticed her head was turned awkwardly and her eyes were rolling back in her head.

She knew immediately Paige was having a seizure.

Paige had no recollection of the seizure after it was over, and her parents hoped it was a one-time occurrence. But when she experienced a second seizure just a few hours later, they knew something was wrong.

A neurologist confirmed their worst fears: epilepsy. The Andersons knew the news meant they were embarking on a healthcare journey with their young daughter. First and foremost, they wanted a doctor who would partner with them on that journey, and help them give Paige as normal a life as possible.

They found exactly that in Jim Pappas, M.D., a neurologist at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. "Every time we meet with him, we know he's really listening to us," Tina said. "He never acts like he's in a hurry, even though his pager may be going off. He's just very compassionate and understanding."

Finding the right balance

Paige suffered from regular seizures for nearly a year. However, thanks to the hard work of the team at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent, she's been seizure-free for more than six months.

"Dr. Pappas and the other doctors helped us understand that epilepsy in children is often a matter of trial-and-error," Tina said. "It takes time to find the right balance and dosage of medications."

Equally important is ensuring the safety of medications. The doctors at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent quickly eliminated a potentially harmful drug from Paige's prior regimen, and designed a new treatment plan that would control her seizures while limiting side effects.

Once doctors found what worked for Paige, her parents' focus shifted to giving her a normal childhood. "She knows epilepsy is part of her life," Tina said. "But it hasn't changed her activity level. It doesn't define who she is. She's a normal child with a few precautions."

Supporting others like her

Now almost eight years old, Paige loves to play teacher, make crafts, play soccer and go on bike rides and hikes with her family. She's also become an advocate for the Epilepsy Foundation.

Just this past summer, Paige set up a lemonade stand to raise money for other kids with epilepsy. She took her funds – nearly $200 – to her next visit to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. One step at a time, Paige and her family are taking back control.

To learn more about Paige's journey, visit PeytonsHeroes.com/Paige.

Tags: Local, Pediatric Health

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