Medical marijuana, one family's story

Photos by Joe Ahlquist / Argus Leader

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson gives his son Eliyah Hendrickson, 3, medication while picking him up from school Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in the parking lot of Hawthorne Elementary School in Sioux Falls. Eliyah suffers from Dravet Syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), which is a type of epilepsy. "With Dravet Syndrome then comes a whole grab bag of neurological and some physical issues," Hendrickson said. Hendrickson said they've basically seen a complete neurological regression in Eliyah since mid-January when his seizures increased. "His ability to walk, stand against objects, walk with assistance, feed himself, chew food, make eye contact and interact physically and play, we've lost all of that," Hendrickson said, "he's basically gone back to being six-months old again." Hendrickson explained that for Eliyah cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative of marijuana, would be used as seizure control. "If it can become our main seizure control, it's better to be on it than it is the pharmaceuticals--in our view--because you look at all the known side effects of the pharmaceuticals and they're horrendous," Hendrickson explained.

George Hendrickson gives his son Eliyah Hendrickson, 3, medication while picking him up from school Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in the parking lot of Hawthorne Elementary School in Sioux Falls. Eliyah suffers from Dravet Syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), which is a type of epilepsy. "With Dravet Syndrome then comes a whole grab bag of neurological and some physical issues," Hendrickson said. Hendrickson said they've basically seen a complete neurological regression in Eliyah since mid-January when his seizures increased. "His ability to walk, stand against objects, walk with assistance, feed himself, chew food, make eye contact and interact physically and play, we've lost all of that," Hendrickson said, "he's basically gone back to being six-months old again." Hendrickson explained that for Eliyah cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative of marijuana, would be used as seizure control. "If it can become our main seizure control, it's better to be on it than it is the pharmaceuticals--in our view--because you look at all the known side effects of the pharmaceuticals and they're horrendous," Hendrickson explained.

 

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaEliyah Hendrickson lays on the floor while watching a Baby Einstein video Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Eliyah was watching the "Puppet Show Anthology," which is his favorite, his mom, Kristin Hendrickson said. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, South Dakota Senators voted to advance a measure that would legalize the use of CBD for severe seizure disorders, but the South Dakota House of Representatives defeated the bill Tuesday, March 8. The bill would have allowed people with seizure disorders to legally possess and use CBD.

Eliyah Hendrickson lays on the floor while watching a Baby Einstein video Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Eliyah was watching the "Puppet Show Anthology" which is his favorite, his mom, Kristin Hendrickson said. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, South Dakota Senators voted to advance a measure that would legalize the use of CBD for severe seizure disorders, but the South Dakota House of Representatives defeated the bill Tuesday, March 8. The bill would have allowed people with seizure disorders to legally possess and use CBD.

Medical MarijaunaMedical MarijaunaGeorge Hendrickson gives Eliyah a kiss while Kristin Hendrickson looks up a roast beef tenderloin dinner recipe on a computer program as part of Eliyah's ketogenic diet Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate medical diet that can help with seizure control. George said that without the computer program he didn't think they would be able to make Eliyah's meals because the diet is so strict. "We don't even know if it's working," Kristin said, adding that they won't know if the diet is working until Eliyah's been on it long enough that they can take him off his seizure control medication and test if the ketogenic diet works for him. "It either works 100 percent, or it doesn't," George said. George Hendrickson gives Eliyah a kiss while Kristin Hendrickson looks up a roast beef tenderloin dinner recipe on a computer program as part of Eliyah's ketogenic diet Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate medical diet that can help with seizure control. George said that without the computer program he didn't think they would be able to make Eliyah's meals because the diet is so strict. "We don't even know if it's working," Kristin said, adding that they won't know if the diet is working until Eliyah's been on it long enough that they can take him off his seizure control medication and test if the ketogenic diet works for him. "It either works 100 percent, or it doesn't," George said.

Medical MarijaunaMedical MarijaunaGeorge Hendrickson weighs a piece of roast beef tenderloin while making a roast beef tenderloin dinner for Eliyah as part of his ketogenic diet Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls.

George Hendrickson weighs a piece of roast beef tenderloin while making a roast beef tenderloin dinner for Eliyah as part of his ketogenic diet Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaEliyah Hendrickson plays with a toy on Thursday, June 11, 2015, at his home in Sioux Falls. Eliyah Hendrickson plays with a toy on Thursday, June 11, 2015, at his home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson, left, talks with Chris Barnes, of Sioux Falls, second from left, as he signs a petition to get a medical marijuana measure on the 2016 ballot while Payley Hendrickson, 9, pets Barnes' dog and Piper Hendrickson, 8, Michelle Barnes, Chris's wife also of Sioux Falls, and Eliyah Hendrickson stand by Saturday, June 20, 2015, near Cherapa Place in downtown Sioux Falls. The group failed to collect enough valid signatures to get the measure on the 2016 ballot. George Hendrickson, left, talks with Chris Barnes, of Sioux Falls, second from left, as he signs a petition to get a medical marijuana measure on the 2016 ballot while Payley Hendrickson, 9, pets Barnes' dog and Piper Hendrickson, 8, Michelle Barnes, Chris's wife also of Sioux Falls, and Eliyah Hendrickson stand by Saturday, June 20, 2015, near Cherapa Place in downtown Sioux Falls. The group failed to collect enough valid signatures to get the measure on the 2016 ballot.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson mixes different vitamins for his son Thursday, June 11, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. "We know of other children with Dravet that couldn't walk and talk until they went on CBD--the cannabis oil--then within 5 to 6 months these kids would cut their seizures down by 90 to 95 percent or more and would learn to walk and talk," Hendrickson said. George Hendrickson mixes different vitamins for his son Thursday, June 11, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. "We know of other children with Dravet that couldn't walk and talk until they went on CBD--the cannabis oil--then within 5 to 6 months these kids would cut their seizures down by 90 to 95 percent or more and would learn to walk and talk," Hendrickson said.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson talks with his son Eliyah as Nicole Koskovich, left, a student physical therapist; Jill Barron, center, an occupational therapist and durable medical equipment specialist; and Melissa Beckstrom, a doctor of physical therapy, check to see if a donated wheel chair will fit Eliyah Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at the LifeScape Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls. George Hendrickson talks with his son Eliyah as Nicole Koskovich, left, a student physical therapist; Jill Barron, center, an occupational therapist and durable medical equipment specialist; and Melissa Beckstrom, a doctor of physical therapy, check to see if a donated wheel chair will fit Eliyah Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at the LifeScape Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson wipes tears from his eyes while watching a recording of South Dakota State Sen. Blake Curd speak about medical marijuana in front of the South Dakota Senate with his wife, Kristin Hendrickson Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at their home in Sioux Falls. George Hendrickson wipes tears from his eyes while watching a recording of South Dakota State Sen. Blake Curd speak about medical marijuana in front of the South Dakota Senate with his wife, Kristin Hendrickson Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijaunaMedical MarijaunaKristin Hendrickson hugs Eliyah while feeding him a roast beef tenderloin dinner meal as part of his ketogenic diet Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Kristin Hendrickson hugs Eliyah while feeding him a roast beef tenderloin dinner meal as part of his ketogenic diet Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaEliyah Hendrickson plays with a tablet while his family collects signatures for a petition to get a medical marijuana ballot measure on the 2016 ballot at their booth at the Sioux Empire Fair Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls. The group failed to collect enough valid signatures to get the measure on the 2016 ballot. Eliyah Hendrickson plays with a tablet while his family collects signatures for a petition to get a medical marijuana ballot measure on the 2016 ballot at their booth at the Sioux Empire Fair Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls. The group failed to collect enough valid signatures to get the measure on the 2016 ballot.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson feeds Eliyah Hendrickson, 3, while having lunch with his daughters Payley Hendrickson, 9, left, and Piper Hendrickson, 8, right, in their camper at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds while collecting signatures for a petition to get a medical marijuana ballot measure on the 2016 ballot at the Sioux Empire Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Sioux Falls. George Hendrickson feeds Eliyah Hendrickson, 3, while having lunch with his daughters Payley Hendrickson, 9, left, and Piper Hendrickson, 8, right, in their camper at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds while collecting signatures for a petition to get a medical marijuana ballot measure on the 2016 ballot at the Sioux Empire Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaKristin Hendrickson gives Eliyah Hendrickson medication Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at their home in Sioux Falls. Kristin Hendrickson gives Eliyah Hendrickson medication Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaKristin Hendrickson hugs Eliyah Hendrickson after encouraging him to crawl to her Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Kristin Hendrickson hugs Eliyah Hendrickson after encouraging him to crawl to her Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaEliyah Hendrickson glances over at the television as his mom, Kristin Hendrickson gives him a drink while watching a Baby Einstein video Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Eliyah was watching the "Puppet Show Anthology," which is his favorite, Kristin said. Eliyah Hendrickson glances over at the television as his mom, Kristin Hendrickson gives him a drink while watching a Baby Einstein video Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Eliyah was watching the "Puppet Show Anthology," which is his favorite, Kristin said.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaNicole Koskovich, a student physical therapist, sets Eliyah Hendrickson, 3, into a donated wheelchair to see if it will fit as Eliyah's dad, George looks on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at the LifeScape Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls. Nicole Koskovich, a student physical therapist, sets Eliyah Hendrickson, 3, into a donated wheelchair to see if it will fit as Eliyah's dad, George looks on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at the LifeScape Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson uses a syringe to feed Eliyah cream while having lunch in their camper at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds while collecting signatures for a petition to get a medical marijuana ballot measure on the 2016 ballot at the Sioux Empire Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Sioux Falls. The group failed to collect enough valid signatures to get the measure on the 2016 ballot. George Hendrickson uses a syringe to feed Eliyah cream while having lunch in their camper at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds while collecting signatures for a petition to get a medical marijuana ballot measure on the 2016 ballot at the Sioux Empire Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Sioux Falls. The group failed to collect enough valid signatures to get the measure on the 2016 ballot.

Medical MarijaunaMedical MarijaunaEliyah Hendrickson naps Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at his home in Sioux Falls. Eliyah Hendrickson naps Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at his home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaKristin Hendrickson feeds Eliyah Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Kristin Hendrickson feeds Eliyah Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaKristin Hendrickson plays with Eliyah Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls. Kristin Hendrickson plays with Eliyah Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at their home in Sioux Falls.

Medical MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaGeorge Hendrickson and his son, Eliyah, 3, wait for Jill Barron, an occupational therapist and durable medical equipment specialist, to bring out a donated wheelchair Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at the LifeScape Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls. George Hendrickson and his son, Eliyah, 3, wait for Jill Barron, an occupational therapist and durable medical equipment specialist, to bring out a donated wheelchair Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, at the LifeScape Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls.