MIKAELANA’S JOURNEY LIVING WITH EPILEPSY IS ONE SHE’LL NEVER HAVE TO TAKE ALONE.
AN EARLY MORNING SCARE HAS TURNED TO A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY AND WELLNESS FOR THE KALUA FAMILY, THANKS TO KAPI‘OLANI MEDICAL CENTER FOR WOMEN & CHILDREN AND A DEDI- CATED COMMUNITY DOCTOR.
Dad Jensen awoke at 4 a.m. one day to find daughter Mikaelana in a full body seizure. Mom Kimey says that the attack was a shock for the close-knit family. “We now know [it was] a tonic- clonic, full body seizure, pale, bluish-purple lips with foam coming from her mouth.” The family called 911 and Mikaelana was taken to Kapi‘olani via ambulance.
“We as the unsuspecting parents to our seemingly healthy daughter having seizures, were doe-eyed coming into the emergency room and watching our daughter be put through various tests (MRI, EEG, CT scan, blood draws, etc.) by the medical staff,” Kimey explains.
“At each step, we were met with compassionate professionals and given an explanation to help our understanding. Mikaelana had three grand-mal seizures that one day and all we could do was pray it would stop. Mikaelana was super-human, to us on that day, 10 days after her 10th birthday. Mikae smiled at us every cognizant time after a seizure despite what was happening, which tends to bring instant joy, if you have ever seen her smile.”
Mikaelana was diagnosed with epilepsy and the family has been navi- gating their shared journey ever since. The family worked with pediatric neurologist Dr. Leon Grant at Kapi‘olani and then met with Dr. Gregory Yim at his offices at the medical center. Yim, a community doctor specializing in pediatric neurology, took on Mikaelana’s case.
Dr. Yim confirmed the epilepsy diagnosis and placed Mikaelana on an anticonvulsant medication.
“When the parents and I embarked on this journey together, our goal is to remain seizure-free for two years,” he says. He will continue to monitor her for two years making adjustments as needed. The hope is that one day, Mikaelana can live seizure-free with- out medication.
“I love the family,” Dr. Yim says. “I’m so thrilled that she’s doing so well.”
Today, Mikaelana is just a little over a year seizure-free. The soon-to-be 12-year-old loves baseball and the Denver Broncos. Although her epilepsy prevents her from playing any sport that may risk her getting hit in the head Mikaelana was named the honorary team mom for her brother, Jedi’s baseball team.
“She even got to name them, Colorado Rockies—because she loves everything Colorado (especially the Broncos),” Kimey says. The fact that the Rockies’ color is purple; the same as for the Epilepsy Awareness movement sealed the deal for her.
Mikaelana’s time with Kapi‘olani Medical Center not only involved that comprehensive care she received while getting to her initial diagnosis on what was a scary and confusing day for her family, she’s also been able to take part in some of the medical center’s programs as well, such as visiting with the therapy dog during her stay in the hospital.
“Mikaelana and her brothers (Jedidiah, 9 and Isaac, 5) have been supported with gifts form HUGS, which partners with Kapi‘olani’s Children ward,” Kimey says. “We were also referred to the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawai‘i, which became a huge resource for us and our family, especially with education on epilepsy.”
“We cannot thank the staff at Kapi‘olani enough, from the ED staff on our initial visit [with Dr. Grant] and our second visit to our Neurologist, Dr. Yim and his staff. They definitely all had compassion and gave us strength in the times when we were at a loss for words and scared for Mikaelana.”