The family tries to live life as normally as possible, but after 14 years of uncontrolled epileptic seizures with his son, Jace, Mike Bratton says nothing is trulynormal.
There are times you wonder if this could be the one that takes him out, he said.
For almost his whole life, Jacehas hadfrightening seizures every night. He has gone through 17 different drugs. In some cases the cure was worse than the disease.
One drug, when Jace was a little guy, it caused him so much rage and anger that he ground his baby teeth to the gums, said Bratton. Some doctors wanted to diagnose him as schizophrenic and put him on even more drugs.
Then the family heard that New Leaf Enterprises was giving away a marijuana extract called CBD. It doesn t get you high and it s wide known overseas for stopping seizures. After about 2 1/2 months, Jace went from seizures every night to justone every three weeks.
He's a different kid, said Bratton. It s not like a light switch. It smore of agradual awakening.
New Leaf Enterprises produces the highly regarded Dama brand of CBD oil. They have capped the number of families they're giving the drug to for free in their Leaf of Hope program at 30. Owner Dax Colwell estimates it costs the company about $10,000 per month.
Because marijuana is considered as dangerous as heroin by the federal government, there has been very little study of its effects in America. At Seattle Children s Hospital doctors can t even recommend CBD, even though many believe it s a viable option.
We re really hopeful for that silver bullet drug, said Dr. Russ Saneto, a neurologist atChildren's.
CBD is about as effective as pharmaceuticals in controlling seizures, according to Saneto, with a failure ratearound 30%. CBD, however, appears to have far fewer side effects.Saneto believes while more study is needed about long term effects, the CBD being given to New Leaf s patients may be a better option than what the drug companies are peddling.
In that it s working for some patients in this population that before was intractable means that there s hope for a group of patients that couldn t be controlled in the past, he said.
Hope is what the Brattons now have.Mike Bratton thinks Jace, now 16,might one day be able to drive something he could never do with uncontrollable seizures. Normal is now becoming more of a reality for his family.
We re getting closer and closer to that, he said. That's pretty exciting.