Ketogenic Diet: Tikvah’s Story

Published on in Keto Connection

In September 2016, after over a year of suffering multiple seizures a day, Tikvah (the Hebrew word for “hope”) began the ketogenic diet to treat previously intractable absence seizures. After two months of working closely with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Dietary Treatment Program team, Tikvah’s condition had dramatically improved. She has been seizure-free since November 2016!

Despite being on such a restrictive diet, Tikvah's mom says that her daughter is thriving in all areas — academically, socially and emotionally. Now 8 years old, Tikvah is a happy little girl who loves coloring, playing with friends and helping out in the kitchen. Her favorite keto-friendly foods are chocolate peanut butter treats, soft pretzels, pizza and gummy bears.

“We are in awe of their dedication and commitment to the children in their care,” says Tikvah’s mom about the ketogenic diet team they’ve worked with at CHOP. “Somehow, each time I call, I get the feeling that my daughter is the only current patient on their caseload. This is despite the fact that we are more work than the average keto kid, as we follow a strictly kosher diet. In addition to the outstanding clinical care our daughter receives, our religious beliefs and cultural norms are always treated with the most sincere respect."

With 10 kids and a kosher kitchen, Tikvah's mom notes that if they can make the ketogenic diet work, anyone can — but support is key. Which is why she’s always happy to share her experiences, and encourages families considering the diet to reach out to the CHOP team and get connected with other families.

"This diet has been miraculous for Tikvah,” she says. “But we know we couldn't have succeeded without the incredible support we've received from the keto and neurology teams at CHOP, and our family and community."

The family’s experiences inspired her mom to write a poem, dedicated with love and respect to the ketogenic diet team at CHOP.

Today,
my daughter rode her bike.
Not such a big deal, that.
After all,
her bike is two years old
bought when she first learned to fly
down the block
sans training wheels
with a pink Hello Kitty helmet planted
firmly on her head.

But last year,
her bike lay still
in the twilit dusky shadows
of our garage.
Only once did she pull it out
buckle her pink helmet
and set off
turning around almost immediately
too dizzy
shaky
and insecure
to fly the way little girls do
through sprinklers
and grass
and firefly-filled nights.

Today,
her brother pumped her tires full of air
and I held my breath
as
once again
she set forth down the driveway
wobbly and shaky
but holding her course
until she fell,
stood up,
and climbed on again.

And though she may not be flying just yet,
in my mind
she is soaring.

Getting Started

Follow these steps to prepare for treatment in our Dietary Treatment Program.

Young boy outside

Keto Kitchen and Cooking Classes

Our teaching kitchen is a place to learn creative cooking techniques and practice preparing recipes for your child’s prescribed diet plan.