This week on Seizing Life ® Jim Abrahams, creator of some of the biggest comedy films of all-time, shares his son’s troubling and remarkable epilepsy journey to seizure freedom through the ketogenic diet. Jim details his son Charlie’s first subtle seizures as an infant, recounts his family’s frustrating journey through the healthcare system in hopes of finding a treatment that would control Charlie’s seizures, and reveals how a trip to the UCLA medical library led him to the ketogenic diet which ultimately brought seizure freedom for his son.
In 1993, producer, writer, director, Jim Abrahams was riding a wave of success from creating blockbuster comedy films like Airplane, Top Secret, and The Naked Gun, but, at the same time, Jim was experiencing a parent’s worst nightmare: a child’s severe medical issue resulting in an epilepsy diagnosis. After visiting some of the country’s top neurologists and epileptologists and exhausting available medications, Jim and his wife Nancy were told that Charlie’s prognosis was a life of “continued seizures and progressive retardation”. Desperate to help their son, the family turned to “alternative treatments”, ultimately arriving at the ketogenic diet – a therapy that had never been discussed with them by any of the specialists they had visited and that was dismissed by Charlie’s doctor at the time. The instantaneous and, in Jim’s words, “miraculous” results of the diet, led him to found The Charlie Foundation to advance awareness of ketogenic therapeutics and provide families with resources and information on the ketogenic diet. Jim’s story is both distressing and inspiring and highlights issues within the healthcare industry and the necessity of parental tenacity and advocacy in epilepsy care decisions.
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