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When does ADEM end? Latest Update on Neely’s Health

Article posted on Monday, September, 10th, 2012 at 9:33 am

Neely with fingers crossed for good EEG results!

When does ADEM end?  I wish we knew.  I thought I’d be writing this week to tell you that we had crossed the recovery finish line. Neely had an EEG last Friday.  We went into the test extremely optimistic. Everything seemed to be in her favor. Her last test results were phenomenal, she started Kindergarten and is doing great, and she is still seizure free.  We were expecting to get a call from her neurologist, Dr. Augusto Morales at Greenville Hospital System to tell us that Neely had finally won, that we had beat ADEM, and that she could safely begin to ween off of her seizure medicine.

 That didn’t happen.

Neely’s EEG was dramatically different from her previous test.  Rather than the 2-3 ‘mis-fires’ that we saw on her EEG over the 2 hour test last year, we saw 15-20 ‘mis-fires’ in a window of 30 seconds or less in the EEG last Friday. 

Dr. Morales believes Neely has a condition called Epileptogenesis.  When a brain is severely traumatized (as Neely’s was) the brain can often go into a period of ‘shock’ (for lack of a better word) where brain waves appear normal. That is where Neely has been the last 3 years. At some point the brain ‘remembers’ the trauma and begins responding as if it is being traumatized. That is called Epileptogenesis, a period where the brain learns/becomes Epileptic. 

According to Dr. Morales, there is nothing medically that we can do to prevent this from happening.  The medicines that are available can be effective at preventing seizures, but are not effective at preventing Epileptogenesis or Epilepsy or any other effects  that could come from this condition. (there are many…still learning more here)  

The area of Neely’s brain that is suffering is in the posterior areas. (Back of her head, just above her neck) This is the area that controls vision, plus a lot of other stuff.  According to Neely’s EEG, there is a high probability that Neely will have seizure(s). (Dr. Morales said the chances are not as high as 90%, but also not as low as 10% which is where he would have put her chances last year) We just have to use medicine to try and prevent those seizures.  And we have to work hard to help Neely deal with or cope with any difficulties that could arise from the Epileptogenesis or from side effects of the increased medicine.

 Our next step is to get an MRI. The MRI will help us determine if there are any new lesions, irritants, or inflamation on the brain.  Dr. Morales is going to let us know when he gets this scheduled. In the mean time we are giving her a significant increase in her medication. We are waiting and watching and praying.

Meanwhile, Neely looks perfect from the outside. She is playing, growing, learning, laughing and loving life. All I have to do is look at her to see that the test results don’t match the child.  And that is some pretty amazing evidence that Neely is going to be just fine.

So today, I am so grateful for how far Neely has come, and for the families that we have met as a result of ADEM and I am asking for your prayers.  Please pray for Neely’s continued health, for the doctors to have the foresight they need to help her, and for the strength that we all need to keep fighting.


  • Hi Christi. I cried today reading your update. I check your page at least once a month just to see how Neely is doing. We are preparing to drive to Houston (7 hour drive) for Marcelo’s 2 year check up. I don’t think Dr. Lotze will be performing any real testing (mri, eeg, etc.), but just talking to us. Marcelo has really come a long way. We were fortunate to not be suffering from seizures at any point, but we still worry. We almost freaked out when he got his flu shot this month and he said his leg and head hurt. He was just being a kid and nothing was really wrong. Our appointment is on Wednesday at 3pm. I hate how he still remembers everything. I dont want him to remember being that sick or getting that many shots or being in a hospital for sooo long. Like Neely, Marcelo just started Kinder. It’s amazing to see him interact again…

    Please, let Neely know that our Family will be praying and praying for her. We won’t stop until she get’s her 100% clear! Which is what we are praying for on Tuesday.

    Yara Corbitt & Family

  • Christy,

    I had no idea that Neely was not doing well. I miss her so badly. She is such a dollbaby! I loved getting to see her and talk and play with her each week when I would drop Presley off for dance class with Ava. I would love to come and visit Neely! I am on Facebook. You can message me there and of course a friend request too :) . I saw a post from your sister Jennifer Brockman on my wall and found this webpage site out and that Neely was having trouble. I will do whatever I can to help, including any kind of homeschooling type stuff with her if that would help too! Please let me know. And also, I will try and message you somehow on facebook if you are on there. Prayers are going out to Neely and your family. God is so powerful and will work his will and power through all of this. Stay strong! Love, Cheri

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