Up until the age of six months, Leafy Liu was just an ordinary baby.
Then she had her first seizure, and in those 25 scary minutes everything changed for little Leafy Liu and her family.
Her parents, Claire, 39, and Justin, 45, of Loughborough, Leics., left the hospital with the tot after that first incident “hoping that she would grow out of it,” as sometimes babies do get seizures.
But three weeks later she had her second seizure, and the fits started coming regularly – every 21 days or so.
They also got longer, lasting up to half-an-hour.
In a desperate bid to cure their daughter, the family moved to Perth in Australia, where Justin is originally from, hoping the warmer climate would ease Leafy’s symptoms.
Within minutes of landing she had to be rushed to hospital with yet another severe seizure.
Leafy Liu’s condition went from being manageable, to being completely out of control. She’d have lots and lots of fits in a day – up to 60.
“Her longest seizure was 45 minutes long, and it was shortly after that that she was diagnosed with epilepsy, which was our fear,” Claire said opening up about the “horrible thoughts” about their child’s life that used to keep her and Justin awake at night during the worst spells of the illness.
Normal medication had failed to stop Leafy Liu’s fits. Her overwrought parents decided to look at alternative treatments and that’s how they stumbled upon the ketogenic diet.
Some doctors say the very high fat, low carb and moderate protein diet can reduce the risk of epileptic fits, as it is the way the body burns up carbohydrates that could actually be triggering them.
The ketogenic diet forces the body to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel, which produces ketones and is better for the brain.
For some children, having a high level of ketones in their blood helps reduce the amount and severity of their seizures.