No, this title does not refer to my state of mind right now. In fact, quite the opposite. MAD stands for the Modified Atkins Diet, which is a form of the Atkins diet used to treat epilepsy.
When Ben and I first learned about MAD, he had just come home from the hospital where he had undergone a very painful brain surgery just to learn that he was not a candidate for more brain surgery. The doctors felt that a Modified Atkins Diet might help Ben achieve better seizure control. In a huge showing of support (and a desire to lose a few pounds), I decided to go on the diet with him. I went on the regular Atkins diet and not MAD — the modified version requires that Ben eat vast quantities of fat. I stayed on the diet for a full month. But the diet was quite restrictive, which I wrote about in an earlier post, and Ben found that he was unable to stay on it. As soon as he started having seizures again, he began craving high carb, sugary foods. Eventually Ben wasn’t able to maintain any diet at all because he was having so many seizures. So I gave up the Atkins lifestyle as well.
Since returning home from the hospital two weeks ago, Ben has been back on the Atkins diet. And so far he has been seizure free for that entire time.
We are still waiting for follow-up from Ben’s doctor regarding changes in his treatment. Our phone consultation with the epilepsy specialist in New York provided us with several new options for treatment. But we are waiting for Ben’s regular neurologist to follow-up and provide guidance as to which therapies to try first.
In the meantime, we have no idea what role (if any) diet is playing in keeping his brain calm. But Ben will continue with this low-carb, high-fat lifestyle as long as he can. Here’s a diagram that shows the percentages of protein, carbohydrates, and fat that would typify a normal diet, the Modified Atkins Diet, and the Ketogenic Diet (which is another, very restrictive diet used to treat seizures in young children):
Pork rinds, it’s good to see you again!