It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Meagan Cheney avatar

by Meagan Cheney |

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I’m the only person on my block who has their Christmas tree up, and I have zero shame about that. Usually, it goes up on Nov. 1, but this year, I managed to wait until the 4th to get my decorations out.

The reason is that I hate November, a month with a history of heartache for me. It’s the month my grandfather died, the month that Austen, my 6-year-old with Dravet syndrome, had her first seizure, and the month when she tends to have her most PICU stays.

It’s sad, because Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I mean, who doesn’t love a day dedicated to eating? But the sadness of the rest of the month has overshadowed the holiday for me in recent years.

So, my tree is up, the stockings are hung from our mantel, and I’m already making lists of holiday treats we will enjoy over the next six weeks. I’ve even found Christmas-themed toys for our cats and dog to enjoy.

One other thing is helping me to keep my spirits up this month. On Nov. 5, Austen and her 8-year-old brother, Atlas, were able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Approval for Children Gives Our Family Hope

At first, we had scheduled them at Children’s Hospital here in Colorado, and would’ve had to take the kids on different days to get their shots. But we found a drive-thru clinic near our house offering the “orange cap” vaccine, and it didn’t require an appointment. The clinic opened at 10 a.m., and by 11:07, Austen and Atlas had both been poked, prodded, and given a piece of candy for their trouble.

We have already scheduled appointments for their second doses, so by Dec. 10, they will be ready to return to school after many months of home schooling. This mama is ecstatic.

Now I know that with a diagnosis like Dravet syndrome, we are never out of the woods. The adenovirus, for instance, has put Austen in the PICU twice, yet the vaccine is only available for U.S. military personnel. Germs will always be out there, waiting to invade Austen’s compromised immune system. There will always be a seizure waiting around the corner to knock her down, but it will never keep her down.

Dravet syndrome will always be a part of our lives, as will November. But there are things we can do to make life a little brighter — like putting up the Christmas tree on Nov. 1, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine to help us stay healthy.

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Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.

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