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  • Writer's pictureMegan Zechel

A Milestone for Harlo


It's been four months since Harlo had experienced her first seizure. The week that they began she had the flu so she had been incredibly uncomfortable due to her upset stomach and lack of food and sleep. We were in the living room and she started to panic because her leg was stiffening and shortly after she went unconscious and had a full body seizure. I can honestly say that it was the worst thing I have ever experienced as a mother. I watched her seize for what felt like forever while she bled from the mouth from biting her tongue and watched her lips turn blue and I asked the universe to please not take her from me.


Once we got to the hospital she had another one immediately and between the combination of her seizures and the medications she was out of it for hours. Jeb and I stood next to her bed in the ER as they ran every test they could all while she was knocked out. By this time we hadn't heard her speak in hours and we're praying for her to wake up. Then all of a sudden she popped up around 7pm in the evening and said "What did you guys do to me"(with a smile on her face) as she looked at all her IV's and monitors. I think it was the best feeling Jeb and I had ever experienced.


Now that we've met and spoke to so many incredible people, friends and family we realize how common this is. There are people who have multiple seizures everyday to those who may only experience them a couple times a year. Creating this blog and speaking to others has given us such a sense of relief as we hear stories and meet kindred spirits who have given us so much encouragement and hope. To Harlo it was a minor set back but to Jeb and I we knew there was something happening in her little body that we needed to address.


Almost immediately after she woke up in the hospital she asked us if she could play soccer that weekend. If you know Harlo she is about as stubborn as an ox and she wouldn't hear anything but "maybe". She had only a few games left and was adamant that she would be on that field. Well unfortunately she continued to have more seizures and a short term paralysis of her right side. Harlo didn't get to play those games and had cried more for missing the games then being in the hospital.


In the coming weeks we had let her try her gymnastics class and youth CrossFit class however the side effects of her medication along with a combination of tremors and loss of function in her right side meant we needed to take a break from everything.


It was then that she realized how much changed for her and that we couldn't answer when she would be able to partake in her activities again. So of course Harlo being the personality that she is started questioning if she could do soccer in the Spring and compete in the 5 Week CrossFit Open that she has done the last few years. At that point we just said if she's doing better then yes however time would tell. I do believe this is what has given her the drive over the last few months to do whatever she needs to do to heal her body.


We've tried a couple different times to get her back into some of her activities and we weren't comfortable with how her body was responding so she continued to wait. Well over the last month she has gotten to go to more of her Youth CrossFit Classes and practicing soccer with our staff at the gym and she's doing wonderful. So with that said last week she got to compete in the first night of the CrossFit Open Competition.


We didn't make a big deal out of it since we didn't want her to get too nervous or doubt herself but to be honest it was one of the best feelings seeing her excited and going out there and doing her thing. On top of this, Jeb has decided to not compete this year due to nagging injuries and us wanting to spend more family time together not based around his competition schedule. Honestly, this has been a long year and the last 4 months have taken a toll on us so some downtime is needed. That made this all the more special because dad is going to sit back and coach Harlo through the Open.

Since Harlo is slowly getting back into her activities we are still focusing on her healing as she still has a road ahead of her. She is and has been fully capable of doing everything however sleep has been a big priority and making sure we don't pack to many things into our days.


Over the years we got very good at multi-tasking, running multiple children around to multiple sports and navigating our way home just in time to quick eat and jump in bed. For years we had our two oldest in every sport (mind you there incredible athletes) so they wanted to be. As we've gotten older we realize more isn't always better, sometimes being home and enjoying evenings together are just as important. We got so used to hand offs, meals in the car, "divide and conquer" between Jeb and I that once we slowed down it reminded us just how much we needed it.


Now that we're entering the phase where Harlo will start getting more involved again she has gained a true appreciation for the things she used to take for-granted. Watching her partake in the competition last Friday was a blessing and it reminds us how far she's come in such a short amount of time. The human body is a pretty incredible thing and although her healing process isn't over we can acknowledge how good she's done to get to this point. So for the next 4 Friday evenings you will find us at the gym, running the competition and cheering on Harlo as she competes with our members!




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